All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places is a captivating novel about love, life and loss.

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The novel is about two different people bound together through the moment they met each other at the top of a tower. Not knowing the other was there, they were both about to jump. To their deaths. But Finch looked up, and saw Violet. Then journey through love, hope and  began.

My initial reaction to the book, (after reading the first chapter), was that of apprehensiveness. I felt sure I would be depressed by the end (but in actual fact I’m far from it…) So be warned, the first few chapters are gloomy, but things do eventually brighten up!

Written in the first person the voice is interchanging between the protagonists, Violet and Theodore (Finch). I think this suited the book well because it would be too bland and it is important to actually see things from another character’s perspective, especially when some of themes in the book are so controversial.

The style is very common amongst other YA books, not to much description, much enough, dispersed with speech. Similar to many YA books, or indeed every book, relationship is at the core of the book, with a much less common theme mirroring it. Suicide. With suicide being relevant today, more than ever, it is helpful to have a novel to make the idea more approachable.

The ideas in the book are well developed and thought through, and are also easy to follow, which is means you can grasp the concept more easily without pausing at the end of every page pondering to yourself, what on Earth is going on?

The protagonists both have their separate problems to deal with, and because of these issues their respective personalities change throughout the novel. Violet is still shaken by her sister’s abrupt death and Finch is losing an internal war.

The central part of the book, for me, is the best, because it was the most optimistic as it feels like the both protagonists are drifting away from their issues. I loved it especially because it is in these chapters that we are romping through the (mischievous) life of teenagers; sleeping under the stars, breaking into bookshops and midnight messaging. At the end of the book the reader feels melancholic yet hope that the characters will move on.

If I could change any aspect of the book it would be towards that towards the end I lost interest slightly, so I would prefer if Niven had made it more captivating. And also despite finding the ending predictable, the All the Bright Places, for me, was more about the journey, less about the destination.

I would recommend All the Bright Places to anyone who likes YA fiction, but is over the age of 12 because there are some strong themes.

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