*Warning: This book review and synopsis may contains spoilers of the novel. If you do not wish to have certain aspects of the novel revealed to you, I would recommend clicking off of this review and coming back and reading it once you have read the book. You have been warned.
About three-hours ago I finished All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Let me say something: this novel is an emotional roller coaster. After finishing this book, I spend about an hour crying, rereading certain passages, and wishing a certain event that occurs later on in the novel had never happened.
Despite being heart-breaking and making me want to throw the book into a wall, this novel is an amazing read and is definitely the definition of a page-turner. I started this book a little less than a day ago and, if it hadn’t been for the fact that I had stuff to do yesterday and today, I probably would have finished this book in a mere matter of hours. This book is extremely captivating and I’m in love with it.
This time reading the book, however, wasn’t my first attempt at reading it. I actually purchased this book about a year ago, thanks to my mother who, like me, is also an avid reader, and tried reading it multiple times. In the past I, for some reason, couldn’t get into this novel, which now, looking back, surprises me. This time reading the book I legitimately flew threw it and didn’t want it to end. Now, enough about me talking about how good the book is, allow me to get into what the book is about:
All The Bright Places features two seniors in high-school. One of the two main characters is Violet Markey, ex-girlfriend of one of the most popular guys in school and a girl with a pretty high social-standing in the ‘High School Hierarchy’. About a year before the beginning of the book takes place, Violet’s older sister and best friend, Eleanor, was killed in a car crash. Because of her sister’s death, Violet has begun being very depressed and has lost her will to live. While Eleanor was living, she and Violet ran a very successful internet blog. Violet used to have an extreme passion for writing and blogging, but since her sister’s death, her old passions and hobbies have disappeared.
The second main character in this book is named Theodore Finch (most commonly just referred to as Finch). Finch has also gone through depression, periods that he calls ‘blackouts’ or ‘asleep’, and shows symptoms of bipolar disorder. He has always been quite a troublesome teenager, often dealing with anger issues, getting in fights, leaving school in the middle of the day, sleeping around, and just overall getting in trouble. Things crumbled even more downhill when his father left his mother for a young woman half his age. Finch also suffered abuse from his father and has had rough teenage years.
When Violet climbs to the top of the school bell-tower, thinks about jumping, and finds herself unable to reach safety, she is thankfully saved by none other than Finch, a boy who happened to be on top of the bell-tower for the same suicidal thoughts. Violet and Finch talk a few times after the incident, but it isn’t until Finch picks Violet to be his partner in a class assignment, that they really start hanging out.
Violet and Finch’s class assignment is to explore their hometown of Indiana, or ‘wander’ as Finch calls it, and document their experiences at each location. While spending time with each other, the two fall into quite an unorthodox love, full of jealousy from Violet’s ex. The twos relationships ends up getting them into trouble, especially when Violet anciently spends the night with Finch and doesn’t return home, an act that ends up making Violet’s parents ban her from hanging out with Finch.
As the two keep hanging out, Finch’s depression and sadness ends up getting more and more serious. Eventually Violet realizes something is wrong and she tells her parents, who call Finch’s parents, as well as a psychologist. Finch ends up going missing, only communicating with his family and friends by sometimes sending very vague and mysterious passages to them.
Eventually, (side note: this is where the biggest spoiler is revealed), Violet goes through the messaged Finch sent her while he was missing and uses them as clues. The clues eventually lead her to a lake, where she finds Finch’s clothing. She gets a sinking feeling in her stomach and then calls the police, who eventually find Finch’s body in the river.
Although I, as well as most people I know who have also read the book, knew Finch’s death was coming when they were only about half-way through the novel, it was still quite shocking and sad.His death was extremely heartbreaking to read. It’s very easy to get emotionally attached to Finch, so much so that I was in denial over what I had read and wanted to keep believing he stayed alive.
Despite being heartbreaking, this book is extremely well-written and captivating. This book was an amazing read and I highly recommend it to anyone. This book does, however, contain sexual references, swearing, drug/alcohol use, suicidal scenes, and slight violence. I honestly loved this book and think you should read it.
This book also has plans of becoming a movie, something that I have very mixed feelings about. I kind of have this weird love for this book that I don’t want to share (that sounds bizarre idk). I’m also worried that they might not portray the book as I did. All of these things aside, I hope it will be a great film when it comes to theaters.
I hope you enjoyed this review and I hope to decided to give All The Bright Places a read.
Thanks for reading!