Book Review – All The Bright Places

Ciara Weller, Staff Writer

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At first glance, Violet Markey and Theodore Finch could not be any more different. Violet is the popular cheerleader who’s  friends with all of the wrong people. Finch is an outcast known as “Theodore Freak.” Then again, both are standing on the ledge of a bell tower, six stories above the ground. Two very different events brought them to the tower. Violet mourns the loss of her sister who died in a car accident, and then there’s Finch, who battles with himself constantly throughout the novel All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Finch fights to stay awake, from falling back into periods he describes as “being asleep”.

Ironically, both seem to save each other. From this moment on, Violet finds herself more involved with Finch than she would like, and Finch doesn’t give up on her. Throughout the book, Violet changes and develops tremendously. Pained and afraid,  Violet refuses to ride in a car, cannot write as she used to, and hides herself away from life itself. Despite her popularity, she hates the town that she lives in, and counts down the days until graduation. By the end of the novel, and through finding the bright places in her life along with Finch, Violet gradually comes out of her shell. She rides in the car again and even creates her own web magazine. A major event for her was coming to terms with the death of her sister, and realizing that she couldn’t bring her back, nor stop talking about her.

Finch on the other hand, while full of life and utterly unpredictable, constantly falls back into the same old patterns, and  we the readers watch the internal battle and struggle he has with his mental illness. As Finch brings light into Violet’s life, he neglects his own problems, ignoring them until it is too late. Pushing them away, he deals with them on his own, pretending it’s all okay.

All in all, All the Bright Places,by Jennifer Niven, was a highly impactful and insightful must-read. One must learn to look at the world from a thousand different perspectives to find beauty and brightness in even the darkest of places. This novel shows the realness of life, the pain that comes with it, and how mental illness affects people. Mental illness is not something to ignore, and seeking help should not be avoided. 

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