Book Review for ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven

Knopf Books for Young Readers
☕ ☕ ☕ ☕ ☕

It has been a while since I have walked the hallowed halls of my former high school. I have been told that times change and things are much different since I was there. However, as soon as I entered the world that Jennifer Niven created in All the Bright Places, I was instantly 17 again. The cliques, the interactions, and the inevitable high school antics that I knew were all there. Sure they are the 2.0 version of what I experienced, but the core of what teens live with day to day was present.

During the pages of this book we meet Finch and Violet. In many aspects the two are complete opposites. Finch is a death obsessed trouble maker and Violet is the “popular” girl who suddenly seems to reevaluating life. It is when the two meet on the ledge of school building, things begin to change for the two. Finch saves Violet’s life and from that moment on, nothing is the same.

As these characters start a school project, they wander through their state together. Learning that there is more about the other than what people see. Not to sound too dramatic but their relationship is the cornerstone of their lives. Finch pushes Violet to be who she use to be before her sister’s death. He gives her the courage to be herself. While Violet gives Finch more reasons not to kill himself. She gives him happiness and because of her, he even gets to experience that perfect day he was looking for.

Through the ups and downs of this story it is important to remember, that there is a darkness to Finch and what he is going through. The story doesn’t glorify or romanticize mental illness. In fact, it does the opposite. It shows the gritty reality behind what someone that you see every day could be going through.

The story of Finch and Violet is one that I wasn’t expecting to be affected by. However, now hours and days after I have finished the book, their words and actions haunt me. I have come to the realization that these two characters are going to be with me for a while.

I know that you have read this type of a comment before, but please take this to heart. Jennifer Niven has created a truly unique and powerfully dark book that should be read by teens as well as their parents. This book, to me, is essentially ageless. It is a story that is honest, real, and at many times difficult to describe. I applaud her for writing something that was not afraid to go there. Jennifer gave a voice to the “freak” that walks the halls and showed that there is more to a person than the label.

This is the first book of the year that I am reviewing and I have to say…what a way to start out!

Reviewer Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:
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.

Find the book on Amazon.

About the Author: By the time I was ten, I had already written numerous songs, a poem for Parker Stevenson ("If there were a Miss America for men, You would surely win"), two autobiographies (All About Me and My Life in Indiana: I Will Never Be Happy Again), a Christmas story, several picture books (which I illustrated myself) featuring the Doodle Bugs from Outer Space, a play about Laura Ingalls Wilder's sister entitled Blindness Strikes Mary, a series of prison mysteries, a collection of short stories featuring me as the main character (an internationally famous rock star detective), and a partially finished novel about Vietnam. I was also an excellent speller from a very early age.

In 2000, I started writing full-time, and I haven't stopped... I've written nine books (#9 will be out Oct 4, 2016), and when I'm not working on the tenth, I'm writing the screenplay for All the Bright Places, contributing to my web magazine, Germ (, thinking up new books, and dabbling in TV. I am always writing.

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