All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

February 27, 2018
By Teenage_Reads ELITE, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Teenage_Reads ELITE, Halifax, Nova Scotia
293 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"So many books, so little time"

Synopsis (From 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.


*Trigger Warnings: Suicide*

For most of his life Theodore has been known as Theodore Freak. From countless years of bullying, which was caused by a conversation between two friends, could have led to Theodore’s suicidal thoughts. Theodore kept an entry of all the attempted suicidal thoughts he had, their dates, on a scale of one to ten of how close he was for following through, to a history of other people dying in this way. On top of the bell tower, Theodore was feeling about a five. What stopped him for leaping off? Was not a what, but a whom. Standing a few feet over was a terrified Violet Markey. Speaking calmly, he helped Violet get away from the edge and back to safety. When everyone in the school thought that Violet had saved Theodore Freak, he let them, because he did not care what other’s thought of him. With U.S Geography being the only class Theodore had with Violet, he chooses her to be his partner for their 35% of their grade assignment, of finding and writing about the wonders of their state: Indiana. An expert at wondering, Theodore forms an unlikely friendship with Violet, the one person he can be himself with, as the rest of his life slowly falls downhill. 

Violet Markey was used in extenuating circumstances. When her older sister, Elenore, died in a car crash, that Violet survived with minor injuries, she had lost the will to write. Able to write a ten-page history essay, when the teacher only wanted five, Eleanor and she made the blog site EleanorandViolet, where the two sisters did their POVs on boys and beauty. When Eleanor died, so did Violet’s writing, being in a car, and even her social life. Taking her bike to school each day, or walking, Violet used her extenuating circumstances to get out of all writing assignments, which her teachers saying: “Give me a page or a paragraph, Violet. Just do your best” (25). Eleanor died nine months ago, which is why Mr. Black told her this when she tried to get out of doing for Indiana project with Theodore Finch: “No. It is a new year… . It is time to get . . . back on the camel” (31). Becoming friends with Theodore, then eventually something more, Violet become her true self with him, and begins to move on with her post Eleanor life.


Jennifer Niven wrote this book in a span of about six weeks, and honestly you could not tell. Niven wanted to write from a male perspective, and become addicted to Finch’s voice. Her debuted Young Adult, the story switches between the point of view of Theodore to Violet, with an underlying plot of mental health. Theodore Finch had an undiagnosed mental disorder, and struggles throughout the book with it. From his point of view, you can see it slowly taking over his life, and from Violet’s as she watches someone she loves to fade away. From Violet, a girl with a traumatic past, begin to feel life again by clinging onto another person: Finch. From his super cute nickname for her, Ultraviolet Remarkey-able, the love Violet had for Finch, whom she always called by his last name, was real as any high school romance could be. The ending of the story is tragic, one I though Niven did not have the guts to pull off, but did, and did it well.  Adding more, Niven moved up a level of extra as both, EleanorandViolet and Germ Magazine are real, with Niven is the founder and editor-in-chief. Niven created Germ after coming up with the idea of it because of Violet. All the Bright Places, is truly a remarkable story of young love and hope, as two teenagers try their luck in a world that wants to put them down.

The author's comments:

A heatfelt story with a endding that Niven pulled off

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