Monday 13 July 2015

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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.

Told in alternate perspective between Violet and Finch, we see the differences between them shrink as they grow closer. Violet is still heartbroken after her sister's death nearly a year ago. Her guilty feelings of surviving the accident that claimed her sister is too complicated and sometimes too much to deal with. That's how she finds herself on the roof of the tower, where Finch pulls her down. Whereas, Finch has never felt comfortable in his skin and has trouble fitting in. Add in the abuse he faced at home and it makes for a very confused teenager who can only deal with these emotions by contemplating suicide. 

They were both incredible characters, properly complicated and twisted and full of emotion that they don't know what to do with. As they scrape away the false layers, Violet comes back to herself, a sweet young woman who wants to write, wants to make liver better after her's was turned upside down. And Finch deals with his darkness, his undiagnosed illness that prevents him from fully enjoying life. 

It was beautiful and sad. As much as I was longing for a happy ending, the ending I got was more real, although it did make me cry. Overall it was more about the goodness and the hope in everyday life. 

Published 8th January 2015 by Penguin.

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