Rating: 3 Stars
Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Random House
With many, all you need is that one person to save you, that one person that makes everything all better. All the Bright Places was the story of Finch and Violet, two teens that needed that extra loving hand to save them from themselves. After losing her sister the year before, Violet finds herself at the top of the school clock tower contemplating suicide. It is here that she meets Theodore Finch, the boy obsessed with ways to commit suicide. The two create an unlikely bond that will leave an imprint on them both.
Finch has been labeled a “freak” and weirdo since the 8th grade. The treatment of the other kids in school, plus his temper has left him an outcast amongst his peers. Throughout the story, Theo is fighting to stay “Awake” he did not want to go back to “Sleep”, the darkness that would consume him leaving him incapable of leaving his closet for weeks on end. It is because of Violet, that Finch is able to stay “Awake”. It is her love, attention, and non judgmental attitude towards him that allows him to be who he is. Unfortunately, while their bond has helped Violet to recover from the death of her sister, it is this bond that threatens to break Finch.
All in all I liked this book. I think I would have liked it more if the plot was slightly different. It was the same as many other books, awkward high school boy gets bullied and girl he meets saves him. This is just my opinion, but this is a young adult novel so, it would be need to be more relatable to young adults. Other than my personal preference of the basis of the plot, I really liked the characters.
The great thing about books likes this is that it shows that teenagers have feelings too. It is not just about ‘oh, you are hormonal’ or ‘because you are a teenager you don’t know anything’. Teenagers go through things just like adults do. I think the biggest thing that I like about this book was its challenge to readers to look outside the box for those with mental disorders. There is a stigma in our society about those who think and act differently. People are quick to label and judge those who are depressed, schizophrenic, have anxiety and many of the other mental disorders out there. As seen with Finch, a weekly discussion with a Guidance Counselor is not the answer. His parents choose to ignore this, which once again does not solve any problems. What they need is a connection. They need someone to take the time to actually speak to them and actually care, as seen with Violet. Due to the stigma in society, while Violet connected with Finch, he was still hesitant to share his mental illness. This book really helps drive the point that mental illness should not be a final sentence for those who have them. I would highly recommend this book.