All the Bright Places

by Jennifer Niven

Read this in about 6 minutes

All the bright places” is a book that I picked from a bookstore which I frequent to. The bookstore had only one copy of the book left and I picked it up out of impulse. Reminder to myself: check out other places before you buy any book. You may get it for cheaper.

The book is probably the best young adult story I have read as yet. Apologies to John green fans in advance. I have not read any of his books yet.

Charlie watches her go and, as the door swings closed behind her, he turns back to me. “Man, why do you do that?”
“Because we all have to die someday. I just want to be prepared.”


Cover page

There is a lot of thought that has gone into the design of the cover-page. The blue color of water, the post-its and, of course, there are Violet and Finch on the cover too. While picking up the book, one may not understand but the cover makes sense after reading the book. It simplifies the whole book in just two minutes. Well done on that part.

Characters

The book is about Violet Markey and Theodor Finch. Violet is the popular girl in the school who hangs out with the likes of Amanda and Romero. She has a standard to maintain and so her boyfriend is Ryan Cross. The Ryan Cross. In Finch’s words – girls lose virginity just by looking at him.

Finch hates the entire mean gang. He is trying real hard to stay out of trouble with them. The people in school call him Finch the freak. Because that’s what he is- a freak. Finch is trying to survive the school and scheming his own death. He knows everything about death by suicide. The statistics are on his fingertips and he can invent different ways to die too. And then, he finds a reason to live.

Violet Markey does not want to be seen with Theodor Finch, but she feels it would be rude to avoid him since they share a secret, for which she is grateful to him. And hence, they become friends.

Finch is a powerful character in the book – a little suicidal and a lot delinquent. Everyone sees trouble in him and he sees himself as a square peg in a round hole. A little out of place and a lot poetic. No one knows the real him. Not even Violet. At least not until it’s too late.

Violet’s character somehow shifts away from the limelight until maybe towards the end of the book. Till the first half of the book, she is portrayed as a sufferer and a pricey kid. Only towards the end she comes out as a tough nut when she has to take some difficult decisions. She is the Violet Markey that you would want to read about.
The problem with people is that they forget that most of the time it’s the small things that count. Everyone is so busy waiting in the Waiting Place.

Content

Violet Markey and Theodor Finch meet each other at the bell tower ledge of their school and one saves the life of the other. Only the two of them know who was who. All this while, Violet Markey was one of the elites for Finch- the freak. But only after meeting her on the ledge he realizes that Violet is a mirror image of him. Maybe a little lost.

 Finch decides to help Violet since she has a beautiful smile, even for him. He ambushes her and she says yes to do a wandering project together for the geography class.

The entire book is filled with sometimes emotional and sometimes funny passages. One will find the book a rollercoaster ride and somehow wishing that the book didn’t end the way it did. It leaves you believing in all the bright places that exist and could be a haven for some people.

Language

The narration is divided into two parts. And it almost alternates between Violet and Finch. Finch is counting the days since he has been fully awake. And he is considering different ways of killing himself only to scratch it later since it’s not convenient or heroic enough. The language is middle-school simple.
You are all colors in one, at full brightness.

Good points

The book has definitely given birth to a memorable character – finch.

The narration is very powerful. There are small details in the book which twist and turn your emotions. Such as, towards the end of the book Finch is still counting the number of days. But Violet starts with the number of days till the graduation and towards the end she is just stating the date.

The cover-page is thoughtfully done as compared to many other book covers in the genre.

The tempo of the book if well planned out. It keeps one interested in the book throughout. There are going to be no uninteresting pages and this book promises that.

Bad points

Without revealing much about the book, many are going to find the end too poetic to believe. Many may even accuse the book of romanticizing the idea of killing oneself, which I leave on the author to explain.
Sometimes, Ultraviolet, things feel true even if they’re not.

Overall

The book is definitely the best book I have read in the genre. It has also given me some beautiful lines to quote and I could be forever grateful for that.

Who do I recommend this to

This book is definitely for people who crave for good writing. It also does not disappoint those who just enjoy a good story. Of course all the young adult lovers- do read this one!

Quotable quotes 

Some people hate him because they think he is weird and gets into fights and gets kicked out of school and does what he wants. Some people worship him because she gets into fights and gets kicked out of school and does what the wants.
The great Anna Faris once said that the secret of surviving high school is to “lay low.” Finch does the opposite of this.
The thing is, there are good days and bad days. I feel almost guilty saying they aren’t all bad.
I'm still here, and I’m grateful, because otherwise I would be missing this. Sometimes it’s good to be awake.

Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH merakipost.com