Books Reviewed / YA Novels

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven Book Review

Hello Booknerds,

This time around, I’m going to take a bit of a change to how I’d normally write a review. I feel like this book almost requires a unique and more personal approach.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven Book ReviewAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Published by Knopf on 6 January 2015
Genres: YA Realistic
Pages: 378
Format: ARC eBook
Source: NetGalley

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning! 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. This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is the first book that I’ve read this year. I had a slower start to reading it and not because of the content, but just because of timing. I stayed up past 1 AM on Friday morning to finish it, because I was riveted to Violet and Finch’s story. From page one these characters crawled under my skin and found their resting place within my soul. They are now a part of me.

Upon completion, emotions were everywhere, but a single thought ran across my mind: I’ve been changed. This book changed me and where it might not change everyone, it will make you feel. I laughed with Violet and Finch, fell in love, experienced heartbreak, cried and found hope and healing. That is the power of Niven and her story. If you read only one book this year, make it this one. You won’t be disappointed.

I received this book as an ebook from NetGalley (thanks by the way!!) in exchange for an honest review. Before the novel began, there was a note from the publisher stating “You will not want to leave the extraordinary Violet and Finch behind, and you will certainly never forget them. Not possible you say? We defy you to try” (Wortche). That quote rings true for me, for I will not forget these characters, their story and my experience with All the Bright Places. 

I’m grateful to Niven for writing this; sharing a part of herself and her personal experiences. It is scary branching out into a new genre, as All the Bright Places was Niven’s first YA novel. It takes even more courage to take on a novel a somewhat controversial topic, like depression. Niven does a wonderful job of doing both in her debut novel. She brings insight into living with depression, but even more she shows us the beauty of life and emotions, survival and strength and most of all hope and healing.

I was on a roller coaster of emotions in this novel. But while there were sad times, I was mostly smiling and laughing and wanting to do some wanderings of my own. I actually really wanted to visit Indiana by the end (especially when I found out some of those places were real!). It goes without saying that Niven created strong characters, but her plot wasn’t lacking either. Told through alternating first person point of views, All the Bright Places never once made me feel disconnected from the story or bored. Not every scene was action-packed or filled with heavy emotion, but I was riveted all the same. Niven’s writing was poetic, but also real. Through this novel she seemed a true master of her craft.

I encourage you to read this novel if you have time. I cannot assume that everyone will love it the way I did and I know that not everyone will be as impacted as I was by Violet and Finch and their story. However I do hope that everyone who reads it takes away something from it. All the Bright Places is worth the read. It was a hell of a novel to start 2015 off with and it will take a lot for a book to surpass it as my favorite of this year. I hope you get a chance to pick it up and read it soon!

My Rating:

five stars

Some of my favorite quotes:

It’s the eyes that get me. They are large and arresting, as if she see everything. As warm as they are, they are busy, no-bullshit eyes, the kind that can look right into you, which I can tell even through the glasses. — Finch.

I feel like I’m living for these moments–the moments when I’m just about to lie down beside him, when I know it’s getting ready to happen, his skin on mine, his mouth on mine, and then when he’s touching me and the electric current is shooting through me everywhere. It’s like all the other hours of the day are spent looking forward to right now. — Violet.

I feel the strain of my lungs wanting air, but I keep going. It feels a lot like the strain of trying to stay awake when I can feel the darkness sliding under my skin, trying to borrow my body without asking so that my hands become its hands, my legs its legs. — Finch.

Epigraph: The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places. – Ernest Hemingway

All the rest of the quotes are too plot revealing, so I left them out, but there are many!! I’ve never highlighted so much in my Kindle before. I went a little crazy 😉

Genre: YA Contemporary 
Knopf Books/Random House 
Published: January 6, 2015
$17.99 (Hardcover)
Amazon, B & N, IndieBoundGoodReads

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Thank you for stopping by and reading my thoughts on All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I could say so much more about this book, but I don’t want to give away spoilers. I definitely feel like this novel was made not only for personal reflection, but much discussion! If you want to talk about this book with me, feel free to email me at! I’d love to talk about it with you and go over scenes and emotions and events and just everything 🙂

What did you think of All the Bright Places? What were your first thoughts? Reactions? Emotions? Leave your thoughts below in the comments. I’d love to hear from you! 

Happy Reading!

P.S. I’m purchasing this book ASAP because I need to have a physical copy to hug and admire! 🙂 Also this novel is considered a part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

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