Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Erin: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Hey Guys! Another contemporary read. This book was recommended to me by a friend who told me it was her favorite book of the year.  I can truthfully say that this is one of the most powerful books I've ever read.  It really hits you in the gut and takes your breath away.

From Goodreads:

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

Erin's Thoughts:

That said, I don't think I can talk about this book honestly without any spoilers, so now's the time to look away!!!


I was wholly unprepared for this book.  I was expecting it to be a serious, but overall happy book that would end well-- where the protagonists end up saving each other.  And, unfortunately, it wasn't what it turned out to be (to a certain extent).

I was really mad.  I got to the part where it happened and I was in complete denial.  It was like I didn't want to see it coming -- I ignored all the signs that were there.  Do you ever do that thing where you hope someone isn't really dead?  Like, you hope against all hope that the character has somehow survived even though it's basically impossible? Yeah, that's kind of what happened to me.  I hoped against hope that I was wrong.  That somehow Finch wasn't really dead, but hiding somewhere until he could come out safely.  I even briefly imagined that it wasn't his body they found, but he had murdered someone and was hiding up in the church.  That's how completely delusional this book made me.

I think this was the first book I've read where I wanted to throw the book against the wall.  The minute I read that sentence about Finch's body being found all bloated and swollen, I immediately thought --No, that's not him.  It was just absolutely crazy.  I was so mad that I didn't see this coming, that this completely took me by surprise and I hated that.  I've read enough books to usually be able to predict a lot of the plot points and I hated that it didn't turn out the way I thought it would.  But thinking back, I should have known.  And I feel like if I had known, it would have somehow made everything easier -- like, I would already be in acceptance of his death before it happens.  That said, this book hit me hard.  not that I haven't read books like this before, but for some reason, this one was especially impactful...

I'll be honest.  A big reason why I don't like reading too many books like this, you know, kind of heavy material, is that it bums me out -- and not to say that in a bad way.  I fully believe that books should make you feel if they've done their job right regardless of whether that's joy or pain.  I know it's supposed to be realistic and book can't all be happy endings, know?  That said, I don't regret reading this book or any other book that has a significant death in it.  I do think it's important to read stuff like this because it means something.  To the author and to the readers.  I guess I just wish I had been more prepared.  I was totally blindsided.


Overall rating:

I guess the reason it's four bookies and not five is that I didn't really feel sucked in the book like I've felt with some others.  But in terms of "feels" this one is like a ten jillion.  Granted, I will admit it's my not usual type of book (as you may well know) which is the main reason my rating isn't a five, but I know tons of people are going to love this book and live it so much.

Sorry the review's a bit of a mess and kind of all over the place, but I literally just finished the book and ran over to my computer to write these thoughts down.

I suggest All the Bright Places to readers who loved The Fault in Our Stars and/or Me Before You.  It's an incredibly powerful book.  I also encourage everyone to read the Author's Note at the end because this book has a special meaning to Jennifer Niven and I think it's important that everyone reads it.

Erin @The Romance Bookie :)


  1. I read this and loved the author's story behind it. Powerful book!!! xx Laura

  2. Yes! The author's note and book together are especially powerful!!