Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Story Perspective: Alternating First-Person
Themes: Mental Health, Suicide, Relationship, Trust, Honesty
Publication Date: January 6th 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Young Violet struggles with the unexpected death of her sister while Finch thinks about death and suicide quite frequently. When the two meet at the top of a bell tower, their eventual bond flourishes, finding solace within each other. However, as Violet begins to heal with her grief, Finch’s world seems to be closing in on him.
All the Bright Places is one of those novels that I was curious about, but not enough to jump and read it until I saw the movie preview. It seemed like a sweet young adult, and I wanted to read a feel-good story.
Told in alternating perspectives, we get to learn about the two protagonists and their circumstances. Violet, who is struggling over the loss of her sister and Finch, who has a neglectful mother and an abusive father. The bond they form seemed genuine and sweet. Though the trope of Violet wanting nothing to do with Finch at the beginning and Finch pursuing her wasn’t the most nuanced plot point, I found Finch’s persistence endearing. I found myself rooting for them, even though I knew they would end up together.
The author deals with heavy topics in this novel. Mental health, deep grief, and suicide are the major ones. Though I found the way Niven handled grief was good, the way mental health and suicide was handled just wasn’t something I agreed with. Without giving too many spoilers, I just wish when I read a book about mental health and/or suicide, the characters would get the help they need and heal rather than the alternative. Though suicide is a reality, I feel young impressionable young people, who may have thought about suicide, need to see models of those who are able to find the help they need.
Overall, I enjoyed most of the book and found the plot moved at a decent pace. Aside from its predictability and the lack of finding true help for those who need it, it was a read that I was able to speed right through.
I would recommend to those who enjoy a young adult romance, but not to those who are easily triggered by suicide and/or mental health.