January 30, 2015

Book Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright PlacesAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Get a copy here!

This is –HANDS DOWN- my favorite YA this year!
Because it contains a hell lot of quotes. Because the story is divided into parts and follows exact timeline. Because the two characters are flawed people who love beautifully. Because the boy has real unique characters: adorably quirky, caring, and determined. Because the girl has a really beautiful soul inside that wait to be discovered by the right person. Because the romance is damn sweet and pure. Because it made me flying all the way to cloud nine full of hopes… then threw me to the deepest part of Atlantic ocean and suffocated me to sleep… or something like that….
Because this book was inspired by heartbreaking self-experience of the author.

Once I finished this book, I actually had no idea how to rate it. The ending was kind of suffocating me, but then I realized that I always a bit fancy heartbreaking stories so that’s that. All the Bright Places is the first young-adult novel by Jennifer Niven and this is my first time reading her writing so I didn’t really expect much when I began to read. Then I found out that this book is going to movie screen soon, that’s when I became more eager to read it.

Theodore Finch’s mind was only occupied with one thing ever since God-knows-when: suicide. It might sound weird but really, even everyday Finch wanted to find a reason to stay alive that day. He might have a bunch of ideas how to end his life, but he also wanted when he died, he died for something. Something important.
Violet Markey’s mind was set to the future only. She never wanted to look back. She always wanted to skip the ‘now’. She didn’t want to be the ‘Cheerful Violet’ she used to be. That Violet was no longer there. That Violet was lost sometimes ago along with the loss of her sister. She hated the ’pity’ look of people always gave to her. She didn’t deserve a little pity. She should be the one to blame. Not vice versa.
The first time they met, it was one day on school bell tower. Both had one determined thing in minds. He wanted to jump. She wanted to try to jump. But here was the nature of things. When two negative minds meet, they’ll exert later pressure on each other, hence both repeal each other. What happened then was someone saved another from executing the plan. They never knew that that one reflexive act would later lead them to find more what was inside their own souls.
Assigned together to wander around Indiana State to discover natural wonders, Finch and Violet slowly formed an unlikely friendship. Finch, the quirky beautiful boy. Violet, the damaged beautiful girl. Their classmates obviously raised eyebrows to them getting along together. But the ones who knew the true of their friendship were themselves. With Violet, Finch could –for the first time- be his funny and soft-hearted self. With Finch, Violet could –for the first time- understand that there was no one to blame in regard her sister’s death. Not even her.

“You are all the colors in one, at full brightness”
-Theodore Finch-
Being with each other companies, they learned that like Ernest Hemingway said, ‘…many are strong at the broken places’. Violet started to see that to grief over loss was okay but to move on was a must. Finch started to find that one reason to stay alive.
“…and at some point I catch her eye and she’s smiling at me. It’s the kind of smile you smile when you’re thinking someone over and trying to decide how you feel about them”
-Theodore Finch-
Surely now they could help each other to stay strong and live, right? Maybe yes. Maybe no. Maybe the whole point of staying together was to save one’s life and to give lesson of life to people around them. Maybe.

I was truthfully scared that I’m going to cry again when I write this review. What I feel right now is the very same feeling I had when I wrote reviews for If He Had Been with Me by Laura Nowlin and Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks. I felt like crying all day, I felt like throwing things out of total madness, I felt like roaring to people to freaking look around you!
Jennifer Niven wrote this book in reference with her experiences of being affected by suicidal acts directly and indirectly. Both experiences enriched her mind to see the effect of suicidal act from a better angle than anyone. I’m really grateful that Jennifer willing to share her point of view with us so that we could understand that somehow it’s not always the suicide to blame in this type of death. It’s more complex than what people’s common judges. I, myself, admit that sometimes I short-judge them. But reading this changed my whole way to see this issue.
All the Bright Places was written very beautifully. The plot was very well built and each pages contained meaning. It is overwhelming how Jennifer could put extreme theme such suicidal along with love and friendship in one book. And damn it went along very well. Finch and Violet characters are both so unique. Nothing like I ever found on YA books. With these amazing characters, Jennifer successfully brought us to view the issue from two angles of people who directly involved on this. I totally fall in love with them.
I think it’s a very great decision to bring this book into a movie. This could be a great media to encourage people to be more aware of their surrounding and their behavior towards their surroundings.
Once I finish the book I was like,
“Really. Really? No. This is not right.”
I don’t remember how long I had to stay on my room until I could stop crying and sober enough to do my other activities. I felt like my heart being stabbed repeatedly out of my own frustration. When I (successfully) went through the ‘heart-ripping’ part, I thought that somehow I would slowly be okay. No. Jennifer cruelly broke my already broken heart into these nano-pieces like some laser beams. The ‘what ifs’ was definitely haunting my life for some good times. My heart ached a lot for them, Finch and Violet. Yet, I also felt thankful for both characters to give me better understanding of this life issue.
Well, I think it’s only fair to give a warning for future readers:

This book is definitely going to make you cry. Definitely going to rip your heart out and soul, too. Definitely not going to leave your mind for long times. But please don’t make this warn as a reason for you to put this book down. This book is going to change your way to see life. To make a change on your life. To act much better in your life.

Read this, if you want to help people see their life in a better way.
Read this, if you want to be the reason for someone to keep their beautiful life.
Read this, if you want to be someone who makes the world peace and more beautiful.

There are times when I feel so glad and thankful to be a book-worm. One of them is when I finish a very beautiful book and with tear streams down my face, thinking, “Wow, everyone in this world should read this book!”

That time is now. All the Bright Places is just what this world needs right now.
Thousand of thank you stars are on the way to you from me, Jennifer :)

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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