Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Bright Places of Life

Shortly after the new year, I dived into my first read of 2015: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven! This book is getting a lot of buzz because it's powerful, deals with real issues and is a natural read for anyone who loves The Fault in Our Stars.

All the Bright Places
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.

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.


My Thoughts
Finch and Violet meet atop a clock tower one school day. Finch is quirky, individualistic and unlike anyone I've ever known (in a good way). I fell in love with him in the first few chapters! Violet is more wrapped within herself. She's removed (due to grief) but she's smart and honest. Even though it took a bit longer, I really connected with her personality. From their first fateful meeting, they're tied together.  
In the only class they have together, Finch and Violet are assigned a semester-long project to wander Indiana. The travel to Hoosier Hill and many other unusual, hidden sites of Indiana. I have to admit that learning about the intricacies of Indiana was one of the great aspects about this book for me! Another thing I loved about All the Bright Places is that Germ Magazine is an actual website! It's just like Violet brainstormed in the book, and so much more. There are sections on life, love and lit. Also there’s a Be Lovely section, and one on Bright Places. Seriously, this site is one of my new favorite things!
All the Bright Places deals with suicide, mental illness, abuse, bullying and loss. That's a lot of tough stuff for one YA novel, but Niven writes Finch and Violet and their interwoven experiences with a measured, knowing hand. The issues are dealt with in an honest fashion, and are not diluted or side-stepped. Finch and Violet's experiences widened my worldview and I'm grateful that I could dive into their heart-breaking yet hopeful story.
And I'm so glad that All the Bright Places was my first read of 2015!

My Bright Places
Bright Places are small, simple things that make one happy on a daily basis. They're places traveled--real or imagined--and loved. They're people who brighten the everyday. All the Bright Places made me think about life in a new way and helped me recognize my own Bright Places! Here are some of them: 

Amelia Island, Florida
Reading by the pool
The Irish Coast
Holidays at my parents house
Exploring Indy

 Planes landing at night
Peppermint tea
Singing on my commute (usually to T Swift)
Working with books
Reading books
Writing books
Loving books

Have you read All the Bright Places? If so, what did you think? If not, I highly recommend it! What are some of your Bright Places? Let me know in the comments!

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