Sunday, June 14, 2015

Book Review: All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is such a sad book. I finished it on the last night of our stay at Cedar Point and it made me so sad. I didn't know, going into it, that it would break my heart. Alas, it did.

Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet up on the ledge of a high tower on their high school building. They both manage to save each other from falling to certain death. Thus begins a unique and strangely endearing relationship between two wounded individuals. Violet is still reeling from the death of her older sister, a death she feels responsible for because she was the one to suggest they take the bridge home that icy night. Theodore silently suffers from mental illness and the typical bullying of a boy who marches to the beat of a different drum. Although they would not normally fall together, the situation creates a bond which pulls them to each other. They exchange quotes from Virginia Woolf and begin to feel like, finally, someone gets them.

The two teens pair up for a class assignment to explore the unknown places of Indiana. Thus, the book is full of trivia bits about unusual spots in our fine state. I enjoyed those bits immensely. I enjoyed watching their relationship bloom. Finch's fascination with the history of various forms of suicide, while morbid, was nonetheless interesting. I was a bit disappointed that the book included a sexual relationship between the two teens, but that seems to be par for the course these days in YA fiction. It wasn't my favorite YA book this year (perhaps because of the heaviness of the subject matter), but I enjoyed reading it and imagine it will appeal to teens, since it deals with familiar issues. I did read that it is being made into a movie starring Elle Fanning, so I will keep my eye out for it.

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