Book 25: All The Bright Places, Jennifer Niven

Wow. I am totally speechless…

I’ve read a lot of suicide books, but this one gave me a kind of sadness that doesn’t go away too soon. All The Bright Places reminds me of The Fault in Our Stars, combined with My Beautiful Failure. Theodore Finch broke my heart.

The story starts with Violet Markey and Theodore Finch meeting in the school bell tower with the same intention – to jump off and be dead. Both of them are disturbed teenagers, Violet in grief after her sister was killed in a car accident several months before. Honestly, it wasn’t very clear to me what problem did Finch have. It could be his dad, or being a victim of endless bullying and labeling, or maybe he’s just out of his mind. I immediately pictured Finch as Ansel Elgort because I find him super cute in TFIOS, especially when he was wearing a suit in Amsterdam. It’s how Finch’s mind worked, of how he won his place to Violet’s side, the way he saved her from herself and they way he loved her – all of these reminded me of Augustus Waters and how he gave Hazel Lancaster forever within numbered days. So stunningly romantic, yet devastatingly sad.

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I felt the love Finch had for Violet, but I just don’t get it why Violet wasn’t good enough reason for him to have the will to live. As much as I would like to believe that the ending would be a happily ever after, I had this hunch that it would bring me to tears, which eventually it did. What was wrong with Finch? Was it the lack of attention from his mom who didn’t seem to care? Or his dad who physically abused him when he was a kid? Or maybe the bullying and the betrayal he experienced with his school mates like Roamer? And the counselor who suspected him to be suffering from bipolar disorder. In the end, Violet blamed herself for what happened, which I think isn’t fair.

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The romantic angle of the story is my favorite part. If guys like Theodore Finch (or Augustus Waters, perhaps) exist, then a lot of girls would be very happy. But the sad fact is, guys as nice as them only exist in books.Β  Suicidal urges aside, Finch’s romantic banters are simple but well-rehearsed that any girl would fall in love with him. That trip to the bookstore where his mom works, the Plutonian Gravitational Effect, the spring flowers he gave to Violet during winter – they were all movie worthy scenes, and scenes that sadly, exist only in books as well. That’s most probably the reason why I said Theodore Finch broke my heart.

All The Bright Places is a perfect book to curl up with during a rainy day. It made me smile and want to fall in love. Then it made me cry and want to make a cup of coffee and brood over the things I’ve taken and left behind. I won’t say anything more, in case you want to read the book, too. I hope they make this a motion picture. That would be lovely.

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