Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places, (2015), 388p
Some books just punch you so hard in the feels that it takes you a significant time to uncurl yourself and move on.
All the Bright Places is on the short list of books that left me in agony – along with The Fault in our Stars and Eleanor & Park.
I KNEW this book was going to devastate me. That lead me to place it on hold about three times, reading the back of it, and returning it because I figured I wasn’t emotionally ready enough to dive in.
I was right. It wrecked me.
Theodore Finch and Violet Markey connect on the ledge of their school bell tower. Both surrounded by darkness. Both unsure of how to live. Finch is labelled a misfit, outcast, and nut – marred with depression. Violet – former cheerleader, blogger, and all around miss popular – is reeling from her sister’s unexpected death. Told from both their POV’s, ATBP tells the tale of mental illness, longing, love, loss, and life.
There is much talk online of how Niven exploited mental illness, how her characters aren’t developed beyond their depression, how it seems fake… but I don’t care. It kicked me in the gut and left me reeling for a long time.
Is it real life? No, it’s a book. And you should give it a read.