Is today a good day to die? ~ pg. 11
And so the novel All the Bright Places begins. What an opener. Goodreads describes All the Bright Places best: "The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor & Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die." I will pause while you go ahead and re-read that description.
Violet is counting the days until graduation when she can escape the grief of her sister's tragic death. Finch counts the days he has been awake constantly thinking of ways to kill himself. They were never close pals in high school until they meet on the ledge of the bell tower. But partnering up on a school project saves them both for now.
Jennifer Niven, thank you for writing fiction that mirrors real life situations. In her Author's Note she writes, "Every forty seconds, someone in the world dies by suicide. Every forty seconds, someone is left behind to cope with the loss. An estimated 2.5 million Americans are known to have bipolar disorder, but the actual number is a good two to three times higher than that. As many as 80% of people with this illness go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed." Jennifer Niven includes a help line resource guide at the end of the novel. Again, thank you.
Bookhearts, we may not be able to change the suicide statistic, but we can help stop the stigma surrounding mental illness and therapy. I hate to sound like a commercial, but seriously if you or someone you know suffers from depression, speak up and ask for help. Do not ignore the signs. Do not go undiagnosed.
"It's my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other recognizable disease just to make it simple for me and also for them." ~ pg. 20
See the book trailer? Read the quote above it? Are you all in your feelings too now? I have this bookish quirk about reading a book before it is adapted to a movie. So when I learned this novel was headed for the big screen starring Elle Fanning, I downloaded the eBook and started reading it during the 24-hour Read-a-Thon. I was not prepared for the emotional ride it took me on.
Jennifer Niven's YA debut is one of those books that made me want to throw it across the room. I would've had I not feared cracking my NOOK screen. Not because it is poorly written. Not because the plot is terrible. Not because of cookie-cutter characters. Not because manic depression/bipolar disorder/depression is stereotyped or glossed over. Not even because the romance irks me. But because the story is so damn heartbreaking and I finished the last chapters feeling some type of way. All the Bright Places has earned a spot in my top books of 2015. The lovely story of Violet and Finch is so worth reading.
Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Published: January 2015
Challenge: New Authors; Popsugar Set in High School