~All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven~
“I learned that there is good in this world, if you look hard enough for it. I learned that not everyone is disappointing, including me, and that a 1,257-foot bump in the ground can feel higher than a bell tower if you’re standing next to the right person.”
Violet is struggling to come to terms with the tragic accident that took her sister’s life. Finch has his own set of problems. They meet on a ledge, both contemplating suicide. Finch, the boy labeled ‘freak’, talks Violet down. He saves Violet in other ways as well.
I was completely taken in by the character of Finch. I had previously read Velva Jean Learns to Drive and was already impressed by Jennifer Nevin’s ability to write with a strong voice, but this book, All the Bright Places, blew me away. I think Jennifer Niven is an amazing talent.
I love Finch’s push against labels, against the way people try to shove you into a compartment so they don’t have to look at you too closely and risk actually seeing the person. “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 easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.” I am not familiar with bipolar or manic depressive disorder, but I knew from the beginning of the book that Finch had this issue. The portrayal of the mental illness was eye opening and heart tugging.
If you liked The Fault in Our Stars you would probably like this book. Brilliant and beautiful, it made me cry. So many sweetly sad truths with a dash of hope. Not a story I will forget any time soon. “It’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.” There is a movie adaptation of this novel in the works.
There is quite a bit of language in this book, but not as much as is probably heard on most high school campuses. Topics include suicide, teen relationships, mental illness.