Book: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Beehive Award long list
From: The library
Short Synopsis: From the view points of both Finch, a boy who struggles with bipolar disorder, and Violent, a popular girl who struggles with the death of her sister a year before. One day, they are both at the top of the bell tower at school as if they might jump. It appears as if Finch saves Violet, but really it's Violet who saves Finch. From there, they develop an intense relationship and as Violet learns more and more about Finch and his issues, she hopes more and more that she can help him. One thing she knows, is that he has already helped her a ton.
My Response: Wow, I was wrapped up in this one quickly! And again, sort of like another recent book I read, I had a feeling that direction it was headed and hoped that somehow, it wouldn't go there. It's a powerful story about suicide and the struggles with what both the person suffering with depression deals with and the what the people around him deal with. Though I don't think it meant to leave a helpless hopeless feeling, I still felt that way. And yet, at the same time, I loved it and the message it's sending. Yeah, it's really one of those books that's hard to review, because it's so so good, and yet, so so hard.
Bottom Line: I enjoyed it. I'm better for reading it. I wish we didn't have to deal with this stuff in life.
Let's Talk About: If suicide has been a part of your life, in any way, would you want to read a book about it? Would it help you deal with your issues? Or would it just make things worse? I struggle with this question a lot when I'm reading books with such painful subjects and I always wonder if they help or hurt.
Those readers who are quick to shed tears should have a box of tissues ready to hand, and even those readers who are usually tougher to crack might also want to have one or two tissues in the vicinity of their seat. From That's What She Read
This book, which I found on a list of “Best YA Books of All Time” is thought-provoking, heart-wrenching, and definitely lives up to the standard suggested by Franz Kafka, that “A literary work must be an ice axe to break the sea frozen inside us.” From Rhapsody in Books
Lastly, All the Bright Places almost glamorizes suicide. Yes, we need to be sympathetic and offer help and not stigmatize those are mentally ill or those who are victims of their own suicidal thoughts. However, the other extreme is to make suicide look good, so cute and quirky. From Semicolon
Above all, I just plain loved the story. It has some hope, some sorrow, but I think it leaves the reader with a lot to think about. I, for one, was reminded that behind every smiling face, there is a deeper story. From A Literary Odyssey