I don’t know about any of you, but I have never been one of those people who likes to indulge in a “good cry.” While I can appreciate an especially sentimental book for it’s great writing or characters whenever a book makes me cry for more than an hour total, I begin to not like it…
Unfortunately for “All the Bright Places” it was one of those books. When I first read the summary for the book and saw it was described as a combination of “Eleanor and Park” and “The Fault in our Stars” my curiosity was peaked. Now, having finished the book, I can definitively say that that description is the most accurate way to describe this book in so few words. The comparison to “The Fault in our Stars” rings especially true to me, as that was probably the last young adult novel to make me cry this much.
However, even though this book was not exactly to my tastes, I cannot fault the writing or the characterization at all. Around the midpoint of this book I realized how deep I had found myself in Violet and Finch’s world, and I remember thinking to myself “How do I see this ending?” There cannot truly be much surprise expressed at the outcome of this book when both main characters start the novel by trying to kill themselves. Even with that knowledge in the back of my mind though, I could not stop myself from falling in love with the characters that Jennifer Niven created.
While both characters were amazingly detailed and layered, I thought Finch was one of the most realistic and enchanting characters I have read in a long time. Much of the first half of the novel seems to take place in the main character’s own little world, however it quickly became very real. I myself have never struggled with mental illness, nor have I had anyone close to me suffer from it so I cannot definitively say whether or not the portrayal of it was accurate. However, I thought that it showed the reality of the disease and the way it impacts all aspects of someone’s life in amazing detail. It showed the reality of loving someone with, or living with mental illness. It showcased the stark contrast of the boy who seemed to emanate life with someone who was so preoccupied with his own death. This book, and these characters, pulled me in so deep, and it all seemed so real, that at the point when the imaginary world tumbled down I had to set the book aside for a few moments. The writing and the characters were so well done that all of it, particularly Finch, took a few days for me to get over.
While I have very mixed feelings about the book I still believe it is one that everyone should read, and I would recommend it to anyone. There is not a doubt in my mind that this book will be the next “The Fault in our Stars” and it isn’t something you will want to miss out on. After all, it’s only been out for a month and it is already going to be turned into a movie starring Elle Fanning. Buy it HERE