03 January, 2016

#BookReview :: 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.

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For quite some time I debated with myself before picking up this book. This title seems to be one of those which elicited extreme reactions. People either loved it or hated it and very few had the mid-point view on this. But I am glad that I did pick this up because I am one of those people who freaking loved it. 

Theodore Finch and Violet Markey are two most unlikely people who would meet and become friends. Theo is the school freak who assumes different personalities to sport each day and is fascinated by death. Violet Markey is the absolute opposite – or at least she was till her sister dies in a car crash and she is left feeling the survivor’s guilt. Yet one day they connect with each other on the ledge of the bell tower at school as they each end up there while contemplating suicide. Slowly they form a one of a kind friendship that is endearing. Then to spice things up, they partner up for a school project that takes them places.

The plot is fun and emotional and intriguing and just wonderful - as are the protagonists. Finch’s life has been a tough one – he comes from a broken home with a father who couldn’t care less about him. And he is one of those people who care a little too much. He is a troubled teenager who may get on your nerves at times, but you cannot help but feel for him. Violet on the other hand doesn’t have the same background as Finch and is just going through a phase having survived a car crash that killed her sister. She is as different from Finch as she possibly could be both in nature and background. 

The author’s strength lies in making these ordinary yet quirky characters come alive in the book. She has made them feel real with the way she has developed them and the plot. Her narration style is beautiful and full of real and raw emotions. I can see why this book was compared to John Green’s books. Yes, it is quirky, it feels real, it oozes emotions of a wide range and they do go on adventures. It was all good for most of the part and then the water works started for me right towards the end – just like Fault in Our Stars. Yet there is something different about the way Jennifer Niven narrates her story and I would not want anyone to pick up with certain expectations from the book. She is very much her own person and this is her book.

And Oh My! Even the author’s note in the end is just so touching! I absolutely loved this book.

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