For every book we read during the book club, one of our book club members will write a review. This way anyone who couldn’t be there, can still join in with the fun! Our seventh YA book is All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and we have two book club members who wanted to share their thoughts!
“The problem with people is they forget that most of the time it’s the small things that count.”
When I started this book it wasn’t really interesting, but last evening I began to read again and I have read like A LOT! This book has really changed my life! It made me look better at the suicides in this world and I am kinda surprised that SO much people do suicide! It really shocked me. And I think we really should do more about it. This has become one of my favorite books now because I just LOVE the main characters (Finch and Violet) and I love the quotes they use! Of course, they are not really happy quotes but I like them. My rating for this book are 5 stars!
Saskia den Ouden
Have you ever encountered a book that, after reading it, you weren’t sure you liked? I have, quite a few times, and All the Bright Places (ATBP) is one of those books.
Violet and Finch are two people who have faced tragedy in their young lives. Finch is constantly contemplating suicide, Violet is grieving for her sister who died a few months previously in a car crash. They meet on top of their school’s tower and form an unlikely bond. The two of them get together to discovery the ‘natural wonders’ of their state, Indiana. They both find out that sometimes life is pretty okay.
The book in itself isn’t horrible. It’s easy to get through and it handles themes like loss, mental illness and suicide in a not completely depressing way. It’s a book that might also be read by the teenagers who don’t read much. That’s important, because the world often shies away from these topics.
However, the book isn’t great either. The writing styles flows well enough and the story is pretty well paced, but the characters are quite flat. We don’t really get Finch’s backstory and his family is only portrayed in a really sad and mildly horrible light. The same goes for Finch’s best friends (who I forgot the names of. That’s how important they are). We learn a little more about Violet and her past, but it’s still very superficial. Their worlds revolve around each other and no one else. In a way, this makes sense, because teenagers are self-absorbed and they tend to ignore everything, except the things they find interesting (in my experience). On the other hand, I feel like the book would’ve been better if their world was a little more fleshed out. Where the characters come from is very important for the readers, I feel. It explains their motivations better and it makes the reader empathize with the characters, which is important in the case of Finch’s family.
Then there is the other thing that bothered me: the ending. I won’t reveal too much for those who want to read the book, but it’s a real tearjerker. Not in the good way.
It’s fitting, but the way it was written felt overly sentimental to me, like it was forcing me to cry. I did of course cry, because I cry at everything that even comes remotely close to hitting me in the feels. It didn’t feel good, like it sometimes does. It felt like Jennifer Niven wrote it like that on purpose, because it’s the hip cool thing right now in YA literature.
All in all, it was an okay read and I didn’t feel like I was wasting my time. So if you’re a young person right in the middle of puberty, this is the book for you. If you’re an old person, looking for something that is not too long and dragging, give it a try, but I can’t guarantee you’ll like it.