Wednesday, 17 December 2014

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven: Review

All the Bright PlacesTitle: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Publisher: Penguin
Buy this book: Amazon / Book Depository
The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this compelling, exhilarating, and beautiful 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.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. 

Not an exaggeration!
I've had a long time to write this review, months in fact, and I'm still at a complete loss for words. I really will try my hardest to find the adequate words to sum up how I feel about this book, but I'm not sure even that will be enough. It's just one of those books where I know, no matter how much I gush/fangirl over it, I'm never going to do the book justice with my review. But, trust me on this, if this book isn't on the top of your 2015 TBR pile then it needs to be. Seriously, I mean it, go and pre-order it and get ready to feel all the feels.

Finch & Violet. Violet & Finch. You can't think of one without thinking of the other, and I can't think about either without wanting to burst into tears and smile simultaneously. It's been two months since I read this book and my feels are still all over the place. I would like you to all believe that I am joking right now, but sadly it's true, just looking at the book spine on my shelf hurts me! MY EMOTIONS! I wasn't prepared for what Niven was about to do to me. I love her for it, I loathe her for it and I want you to all experience this wonderful/torturous feeling for yourself. Violet and Finch's story is touching, heart-breaking and felt so unbelievably real that I started to forget that it was fiction.

This book gets compared to Rainbow Rowell and John Green, which I feel leads to people having a lot of high expectations for it. I hate those comparisons on books - 'If you liked *insert really well known book here* then you'll love this!' - mostly because the books are usually nothing alike or the book doesn't live up to the expectations you get from the comparison. This is one of the few times where I feel it didn't just live up to the expectations, it hugely surpassed them, at least for me. This book made me feel everything I'd always wanted to feel from the Rowell and Green books I'd read. I just..... AHHHHHH! Please, tell me you didn't expect a coherent review because you're going to get fangirling, flailing and nonsensical rambling. Deal with it!

Okay, okay, okay! I will try my hardest to actually do some real reviewing right now. Let's start with some characters, shall we? I'm going to start with Finch because, let's be honest, how can you not start with the guy whose name is Theodore Finch. I'm calling it now - Best. Name. Ever. And also one of the greatest characters I've ever come across. You know you're in for a roller-coaster ride with Finch, almost from the moment you meet him. He's standing on a ledge, six stories up and trying to decide if today would be a good day to die. Finch is dealing with depression, but when he sees Violet on that ledge he helps her. Finch is in such a dark place, but he was ready and willing to be there for somebody else when they needed it. He's a character that can make you laugh, smile, cry and hurt; sometimes all at once.
'The fact is, I was sick, but not in an easily explained flu kind of way. It's my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.' - P15
While I could relate to Finch in some ways, despite being so different to him, it was Violet who I completely connected to and identified with. She's dealing with loss and grief, she's hurting but she's trying so hard to push it all down and not let anyone else see it. Finch and Violet help one another in different ways, they each have something to teach the other person. If you read this book then you're not going to be able to stop yourself being moved by it. And I think anyone who has dealt with a big loss in their life will be able to identify with Violet as easily as I could.
"It's like I've got this angry little person inside me, and I can feel him trying to get out. He's running out of room because he's growing bigger and bigger, and so he starts rising up, into my lungs, chest, throat, and I just push him right back down. I don't want him to come out. I can't let him out... Because I hate him, because he's not me..." - P226
I've spoken in the past about the fact my blog was started six months after losing my aunt last year. This book touched me in a way that I never expected. Violet had me crying at times that I wasn't even expecting because Niven perfectly captured how isolating loss can be. She also made me feel so much better about the fact I spent the last year and a half feeling ridiculously angry at almost everyone, and like I could happily slap complete strangers. I'm not crazy, I promise. It's just that Niven writes about loss in such a way that you feel like she must have dealt with a lot of it in her own life.

I'm so happy that this beautiful book found it's way to me. Jennifer Niven is a superbly talented author and I'm going to be keeping an eye out(totally stalking her online) for whatever she brings out next. She writes about such serious subjects in a way that makes it feel like she's putting so much of herself into it. This book is so touching and completely soul destroying, it's the kind of book that breaks you. I read it two months ago and I'm still broken. I opened it up to get a few of my favourite quotes from it and that had me crying.

How it feels when you reach the end of this book:

Because, even though you survived the book, you are completely broken. Niven just destroyed your feels and you're not sure you'll ever get them back.

There was so much I planned to say about this book. I wanted to be able to give you all of the reasons why you should go and pick it up the moment you can, but I don't have the words. It's raw, honest, heart-breaking, touching.... it's EVERYTHING! Just... eh.... meh....URHGHGHGHGH!

ALL THE BUTTERFLIES! A MILLION BUTTERFLIES!

This is one of those moments where a 5/5 just doesn't seem to be enough! I'm sorry that I can't adequately sum up my emotions and feelings and love for this book. But, I'm totally proud of myself that this whole reviews isn't just - OMFG THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!!! WHY HAVEN'T YOU PRE-ORDERED IT YET?!?! THIS IS INCREDIBLE. I'M DYING INSIDE. WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME NIVEN? WHY? WHY WWWWHHHHYYYYY? - because that's how it made me feel. I know there is a huge hype surrounding this book, and it's film adaptation, but it's compeltely justified. This book deserves every single bit of praise, acclaim and fangirl gushing it's getting at the minute. This is going to be one of the books of 2015. And, trust me people, this is the kind of heartbreak you want in your life. 





*I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.

45 comments:

  1. Alright you completely convinced me to add this to my wishlist! Wonderful review, I can really tell how much this story impacted you and how much you loved it.

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    1. I really did and I will be recommending it to anyone and everyone I can! :)

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  2. Wow sounds like I definitely need to read this! I hope I don't cry too hard :) Lovely review Charnell!!

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  3. This was not on my radar but now it totally is! Wow it sounds amazing, I'm glad you enjoyed it so much!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

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    1. I really did, one of the best books I have read in a very long time.

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  4. I was already anticipating this book but after reading your review I know that I HAVE to read it! I want to have a list of feels that is a mile long as well :)

    Great review!

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    1. I can't wait for you to get to this then, enjoy all the feels!

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  5. YAY THIS IS THE REVIEW THAT I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR, CHARNELL! YOU MAKE ME WANT THIS ONE DESPERATELY!

    I hate those Book X meets Book Y to bring you BLAH BLAH BLAH. I never get it. It's never a combination of what's advertised and I'm always left confused. Those little excerpts sound positively lyrical though and that's exactly what I search for in a book. I loved how gushy you were in this review, Charnell! It makes me want it even more.

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    1. I really hope you can get to it as soon as possible. I loved it! It just hit me so hard and made me cry so much. I know, I love your reviews because they are so detailed and you look at almost everything. Me, I just gush or hate haha! :)

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  6. Your review is much more coherent than I could ever be if I had immensely strong feelings for a book! I've been hearing amazing things about this book so I think I'll have to see what it's about! ;) Great review! x

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    1. Thank you! I was trying to actually say some things about the book that weren't just me gushing, but it's so hard. All I wanted to do was flail, use caps and gifs!

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  7. THIS ONE SOUNDS SO GOOD! I feel like everyone is hyping this and I am just dying to read it RIGHT NOW!
    Thanks for sharing this one!

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    1. I hope you can get to it soon, only a few more weeks until the release!!! :)

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  8. Oh man I want to read this now! You make it sound so amazing, which it probably is, but urgh, how am I getting feels from just reading this review >< I think everything sounds amazing, and I already know how hard it is to earn a five star from you, let alone, and I quote 'ALL THE BUTTERFLIES'. I will defs be adding this to the top of my TBR.

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    1. I hope you love it if and when you get to read it. It's definitely one of my new favourites! :)

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    2. Finally got this one from a giveaway! Going to be diving in soon.

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  9. THIS REVIEW IS PERFECT AND BRILLIANT AND SO ADEQUATELY SUMS UP MY THOUGHTS. I cannot review this book and do it justice. Just. not. possible. I felt ALL OF THE THINGS and kind of related to Violet and Finch a bit at the same time. Omg, incredible incredible writing.
    I may cry, hold on a sec.
    Also I agree that for once this IS a Rowell x Green novel! IT IS. It hit me harder than TFIOS, actually, and the style is more like Rowell than Green, but at the same time it's nothing like Rowell. I would leave that comparison totally out of it BUT YES IT IS LIKE JOHN GREEN FINALLY I AM SO HAPPY EXCEPT, YOU KNOW, I'M STILL CRYING.
    AFJDSKL
    Best review ever.

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    1. Yes, completely agree. It just gave me all of the feelings I'd always wanted to get from Rowell and Green. And it's so bloody emotional, just thinking about the book makes me want to tear up! I'm glad you like the review, it's so hard to sum up in words what I thought about the book.

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  10. I'm so happy to see how much you love this. I thought it sounded good and when arrived in the mail just this week I was sooooooooooo excited! I think I have my reading for the holiday break :)

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  11. Ive heard so much about this book!! I'm glad that you liked it as well, fab review!

    Benish | Feminist Reflections

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  12. Oh good god everyone is scaring me with their reactions after reading this book. I'm actually just about to start it because I cannot bear all of this any longer. I HOPE I'M MENTALLY PREPARED OMG.

    Fantastic review, Charnell! <33

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    1. I really hope you end up loving this book! But be prepared to ugly cry so much it hurts.

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  13. Awww, I'm happy to see that this book connected to you in such a personal level. Grief is really something, an emotional that even I feel is too intense, so it's hard to actually put it in a book and express it genuinely and intimately, but it seems like this book was able to do it splendidly. I mean, I'm reading Cait's comment right now and it even spoke to her! That's amazing, really. I've found few books that can actually affect a reader like that.

    With that said, I'm definitely going to try this out. Especially after reading this review and how it impacted you!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. Oh this book did it amazingly well, Niven is one incredibly talented lady! I am going to be raving about this book for months. I'm going to try and push it on as many people as I possibly can. I really hope you get to read it and love it when you do.

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  14. I can't wait to read this!
    I've heard only good things and after reading your review I definitely want a copy.
    Love the cover.
    Great review! :)

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  15. There's nothing better than a book you don't want to leave and can't find the words to express how you feel about it.

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    1. I know, this book was everything I wanted and needed.

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  16. YESSS! THESE ARE ALL THE FEELS I FELT. It was so much better than TFIOS and Eleanor and Park in my opinion. I could relate to Violet a lot as well. Although for me, it was the position she was in. Being best friends with someone that doesn't believe in living. It sucks that I relate to her in that way but I guess it just made me love this book that much more. I loved that it was pure, honest and raw. It portrays the truth of teenage life underneath all the angst and I can't get over how amazing that was.

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    1. I know, I wasn't expecting to be so blown away by this book. But it's easily one of the best books I've ever read. Niven is a genius, I hope she continues to write YA! :)

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  17. Okay okay, it's on my wishlist now! I was resisting it (sad stories =( I can't handleeee ! Noooo ) but I will read it. I've heard nothing but good things. Great review!

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    1. I hope you do finally get to read it and that you absolutely love it! :) It's such a beautiful book and I loved it.

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  18. I also dislike those book comparisons, it puts expectations into your head not only about how good the book will be but the plot too. This is a very well written review, Charnell! My co-blogger read this one a few weeks ago and felt the same. I think the subject matter is something a lot of people can relate to, like you mention with your aunt.

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    1. I definitely think it's a book that has the potential to speak to so many, for one reason or another. I was just completely blown away by this one and how much I ended up loving it.

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  19. I want -scratch that- NEED this book. I mean, of course I have pre-ordered it but... I still have to wait more than 2 weeks! These gifs are amazing too. I of course have to read the book after reading this! I mean, any book that leaves you at a loss for MONTHS after reading it? Yep. My kind of book. Amazing review, I cannot wait for this boooook!

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. I hope this beauty has found it's way into your hands by now!!! :) I want you to read it, love it and then come gush about it with me. I so hope you love it!!!!

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  20. Wow, the book must be amazing to evoke such emotion from you. At the same time, I'm scared to read it. Broken? I don't want to be broken! :)

    I'll definitely have to wait and read this when I can take it. ~Pam

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    1. You do, you do want to be broken. I'd happily let Niven break me over and over again. I hope you get to read it soon and love it when you do.

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  21. This is one of my very favorite reviews EVER!! Thank you with all my heart, Charnell, and thank you to everyone who's planning to read. You are making it all so lovely! (And I'm working on my next YA novel now!) ❤️❤️❤️

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    1. I have to admit that it's quite terrifying to think of an author reading your review, even when it's the most positive review you've ever written. But I am so happy that you like it! I don't even need to wish you good luck with this book, it's going to be big and you're going to get all the recognition you deserve. I can't wait to see it happen :)

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  22. Okay this is my book clubs read for the month. So I didn't read your full review because this will be a discussion book for me. BUT you're giving it all the stars which makes me super excited to know why. This book seems like it will be a perfect book club read. I'm sure there will be varying opinions and lots to discuss. :)
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

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    1. I LOVE this book and definitely think it will have given you a ton to discuss at your book club. I really hope you enjoyed it.

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