Book Review: All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

all-the-bright-places-jennifer-niven

I have heard so many good reviews of this book that I had to buy this it for myself and just see what all of this fuss was about. To be honest, I ended up buying two versions of this book, paperback and on audiobook and it was the later that I ended up experiencing this book through. Here is the books description thanks to Goodreads:

“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.” – Goodreads

This would’ve been my third time listening to an audiobook, but for me and there was something special about listening to this book particularly as an audiobook. It may have been the fact that because this story is told from two different characters perspectives, as an audiobook they have used a male and a female voice in order to portray both Violet and Theodores’ voices, our two main characters. This added some realness to it all and a much deeper connection, for me anyway, towards them both as characters. This book is written from a first person perspective, so it felt as though they were each telling me their own story, like a diary or a friend, which may have been a completely different experience if I had actually read the physical book. The voices held and showed so much more of the emotions that the characters were mean to be having at the time of certain events, which make it feel more genuine, as you could hear that they were about the cry, the breaks in their voices, chuckles, nervousness, and so on, which just added those little extra bits that you definitely  wouldn’t get from reading the actual physical book. And you can connect more when you can hear things like that. Anyway, back to the actual review of the story.

Theodore Finch and Violet Markey are our storytellers and main characters of All The Bright Places, and even though I wasn’t sure what to expect before I started listening to this book, except that there was going to be something to do with mental illness and that the book is poplar, I am so glad that I picked it up! This was such a great experience for me. The storyline starts off big, with Theo and Violet meeting on top of the School Bell Tower, where they were each going to jump off, unbeknownst to them that the other person was there. Luckily however they were and that’s just where their story starts, getting better as time goes on. From there we get adventure, romance, sadness, happiness, times that make the reader smile and such tragic times that make you scream nooo! The emotions.

The characters themselves couldn’t have been any different. One of them looking forward to the future and counting down the days, while the other was always thinking and coming up with new ways someone could come up with killing themselves. But there was something a little off with them both. I found myself connecting so much more when it came to Theodore’s character, than Violet’s. Even though he felt more distant at times, it felt more real for his character. His quirks, his experiences in his life, I felt more for him, remember more about him and his life after finishing the story, therefore that’s shows how much more I connected with him. Whereas, when it comes to Violet, it just feels like she was an extra piece in the story at certain points. An extra point of view to add to the story, or some extra emotion or additional story to add and watch playout and unfold, adding even more emotion. Possible even using her character as a way to boost or show more of Theodore’s character.

It takes a lot in a book to create genuine emotion and make me care that much about a character or to get me so invested in a story that I cry or show, again, genuine physical sadness. This was one of those books! I didn’t cry, but the heartbreak I suffered because of this book, even though I had somewhat expected it, was still so unexpected and surprised myself. This is why I have given it 4 stars and why it’s going to stay with me for a while. Even the author’s note after the story had ended. I may have to read the actual book and see if I get the same reaction as I did while listening to the audiobook, only not anytime soon because I can’t handle the sadness so soon.

Definitely worth a read and I would recommend!

4-stars

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