*trigger warning* I was chatting with my school librarian the other day, and she brought up an interesting question. She asked me, “Why are there so many books about mental health these days? When I was growing up, we certainly didn’t have these types of books.” There is no definite answer to this, but I think one of the reasons is because more and more people nowadays are recognizing the importance of discussing these topics. It is no longer considered “taboo.” Instead, books can be an instrument of change and awareness, and I think this is really powerful.
This book has been called a mix between Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. This description is relatively accurate concept-wise, but All the Bright Places somehow manages to create a fresh and beautiful narrative. The story begins with two characters who seem completely different: Theodore Finch and Violet Markey. Theodore is obsessed with death and is constantly contemplating suicide methods, but something always stops him. Violet is can’t wait for graduation, when she can finally escape the wake of her sister’s death. When the pair unexpectedly meets on the bell tower, they save each other and eventually begin a journey together, both physically and emotionally.
Jennifer Niven is such an amazing writer, and I couldn’t get enough of her work. I just wanted the story to go on and on. Her words drew me in, and I felt like I was a part of the story. Speaking of words, there were so many beautiful quotes in this book! The alternating first person point-of-view made the book very personal and yet relatable at the same time. Finally, this connection with the characters made the ending all the more heartbreaking. I was sobbing by the end of this book, then immediately went back and reread the whole thing.
I’m normally not as big of a fan of contemporary novels as I am of fantasy, as you can see, but Jennifer Niven’s books charmed their way to the top of my list. I love this book dearly, and I recommend it to anyone who is ready for beautiful heartbreak.