Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Book Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Author: Jennifer Niven
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Suicide
Page Count: 400
Source: Borrowed from my friend, Ellie.
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Synopsis: The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!
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.
This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven
Prepare for a review that contradicts itself many, many times.
Okay, where do I begin with a book that I didn't hate but I didn't really love either?... How did I come to this? Well, let's begin.
My friend Ellie was talking about this book, and I had almost bought it back in February of last year... but instead purchased My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga (WHICH I LOVED)... and we switched books.
So it took me a week to read this mind you (because of AP testing.. and other stuff... including the fact that I didn't really enjoy the writing. ) This is one of those books that while reading it, I found a bazillion other things I could be doing that I wanted to do more. But every time I wasn't reading it, I wanted to. Does that make any sense? Nope. because my tastes are a bundle of contradictions.
I didn't really enjoy the first half of the book. At all. I was reading it, and I wasn't caring about the characters (for the most part) and I wasn't connecting to anything. The characters felt unreal, and THE PARENTS royally pissed me off. Every authority figure wasn't realistic, in my opinion... almost the entire time they were very neglecting, incredibly horrible people.... and I didn't get why every authority figure would be bad. Like, seriously?
That aside, I started to feel for the character once the romance aspect kicked in Really? The romance brought me to actually enjoy the book? And I found myself completely enamored with their relationship. I loved it. I wanted them to save each other. I wanted the best for them.
I knew that this book was going to break my heart after I saw the comparison to The Fault In Our Stars... I knew EXACTLY what was going to happen. And even seeing it coming from far, far away... I still managed to get teary eyed at the whole situation and feel poorly afterward. My heart hurt immensely, and I am still not sure if I'm okay right now... My heart clenches when I think about it.
My initial thoughts were just: This. Damn .Book.
and then I really, really thought about it.
These characters were nothing more than their illnesses. They became their illnesses. And while I honestly believe this is something that happens, I did NOT think this was realistic for both of them to be how they were. Their illnesses consumed their entirety to which they were nothing BUT their illnesses. And this pisses me off. There is so much more to someone than their mental illness, and pretending that their entire personality is based upon the mental illness itself IT IS SUPER UNREALISTIC.
So, yeah, because of this I didn't really like the characters... at least I thought I didn't. But then they started getting hurt by each other, and I did care. And their relationship was actually beautifully crafted. I loved how they got to know each other through the Wandering through Indiana... Very Paper Towns-esque (and though I absolutely adored these sections... I do feel it was very unrealistic for anybody's parents to be okay with their children doing this stuff... which again brings me to the point that the parents didn't seem to care about anything.)
Violet Markey's motivations in this book were very well thought out, and I felt for her situation earlier than I felt for Finch's. Although I liked Finch's voice better (overall)
Amanda was the most relatable character, and I cannot really tell you why without spoiling something that happens but just know... that she was very real. Probably the most recognizable person in the entire novel.
I wanted Bookmobile park to exist in real life, and I am heartbroken that it is not a real thing... I mean, CMON. I NEED IT.
Overall, this book had a great motive behind it, and the author's note was heartfelt and meaningful... but the book lacked what I believe it needed to truly be a book that I would read again... Violet and Finch's story really tugs at your heartstrings because I feel like that's how it was written, to do exactly that. And it did.
This book is very John Green-esque in general, and not the part of John Green that I particularly like. Unlike John Green though, the writing was just a little too choppy for my tastes.
I definitely see why this book is praised, and I definitely can see why some people loved it... Sadly.. I just don't think it matched a few things...
1. My expectations.
2. Realistic portrayals of characters with mental illnesses (it showed the extreme, but not the day-to-day)
3. The writing style was not to my liking.
I'm super glad if you guys liked this book, but sadly it just was not for me.
To the next book! (or review I need to do!)
- Cody @ Roecker Reviews <3