Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Title: All The Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Genre: YA Contemporary / Mental Health
Publisher: Penguin Books UK
Published: January 8th 2015
Page Number: 388
Rating: 1/5


Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister's recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it's unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the 'natural wonders' of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It's only with Violet that Finch can be himself - a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who's not such a freak after all. And it's only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet's world grows, Finch's begins to shrink.


All The Bright Places was described as 'Eleanor and Park' meets 'The Fault in Our Stars', which is problematic in itself. While I LOVE 'Eleanor and Park' I actually disliked 'The Fault in Our Stars' and saw so many problems with it, especially the romance. And to be compared to such huge, well known authors is a statement, a statement that I disagreed with.

I so badly wanted to enjoy this book, especially since it's about Mental Health but I couldn't help but feel disconnected from the characters and their offish personalities. I couldn't see Theodore and Violet as real people because they had no personality, instead they became their illness, walking zombies in the midst of life. And in some aspects I understand it, but I found myself hating them both.

Depression, self-harm and suicide is something I'm very well known with, in fact I'd say we were best friends at one point. I was so depressed back in 2013-2014 that I scarred my arms for life, tried to overdose on medication and also tried to hang myself. Twice. I was in a dark place with no hope of seeing light, and while I'm aware that no depression story is the same, I just felt like Jennifer created the characters for the sake of having a story with mentally ill characters.

And to be honest, All the Bright Places is just another over-hyped book that fails on anything original. Mental Illness is not a trend, it's a serious problem and I just wished Jennifer Niven could have given it a more realistic portrayal.


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