All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven left me with so many thoughts and emotions. It’s the story of Violet and Finch, two teenagers who meet unexpectedly when they’re both contemplating a drastic decision.
Finch, being the annoyingly endearing person that he is, works his way into Violet’s life and forces her to consider whether or not she’s really living or just going through the motions.
I’ll be transparent — for some reason, it took me several chapters to begin appreciating this story. But once I got into it, there was no returning.
I started writing this review before I even finished the book. I’ve only ever done that with some of my favorites. This novel has now been added to that list.
Jennifer has painted such a great, heartbreaking, invigorating, and REAL picture with Finch and Violet’s story.
“May your eye go to the sun, to the wind your soul…You are all the colors in one, at full brightness.”
In every second, I felt really and truly immersed in these character’s minds. I know that’s not an easy feat to accomplish as a writer, but Jennifer has certainly done it and has left me grateful for the experience that is All The Bright Places.
Finch is undeniably my favorite character. He’s dealing with a deep, and at times suffocating, darkness. Yet, within it, he remains someone I think we should emulate in our realities — vibrant, bold, and kind to his very core.
This plot does address mental illness and the rollercoaster it sometimes creates. I can’t judge whether or not it’s an accurate portrayal and I do think that Finch’s story could have been fleshed out a little more, but I appreciate that the story didn’t provide some unrealistic screen of perfection.
Battling your own mind and emotions gets messy and sometimes the people around you don’t see what you’re going through, and maybe you’re too scared to articulate it to them.
This may not be the story for a reader who is fighting their own battle, or has fought it in the past and knows what that turmoil is like firsthand. However, for those of us who want to help, I think it inspires empathy, and certainly shows us a sliver of how much courage and strength it takes to overcome.
Fair warning, though: reading this might break your heart.