All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven was a very tearful reading for me. It makes you see how a person suffering from depression is affected as well as the people around them. It didn’t just make me cry, however. It made me think. Think of friends, family, school, lovers, and teachers. It’s that type of book. One sentence you’ll be sobbing your eyes out and the next you’ll be smiling and laughing.
The way Jennifer captured her characters is absolutely perfect. She makes you relate and understand them with just a few words. She makes you take their side, no matter how hard you try not to. She understands how they think and what they would say to connect to others. This well-written novel allows the reader to feel every struggle, doubt, and emotion the characters have.
Theodore Finch is a bad boy who doesn’t seem to be able to fit in. He’s just too dark minded and thinks too much about living and dying. Every day, he thinks of new ways to kill himself, why he would, and why he wouldn’t. He decides to go up to the top of the bell tower only to find a girl who got there before him. He slowly talks her down. Later, he finds out she was the Violet Marky, the poor girl who survived a car crash. Despite his normal gloom, she makes him feel sunny. He doesn’t understand why, but he knows he likes it. He decides that today won’t be the day he takes his own life because she smiled at him. It will be the same reason he doesn’t do it any other day.
Later, I sat down with one of my friends, Xitlaly Avila, who also read the book, to answer some questions.
“I loved the plot,” Xitlaly explains. “No, I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved it, times the last number in existence. Maybe even above that.”
This book will make you cry, laugh, and get angry all at the same time. The author knows her way around words and does an amazing job at showing it. This book will make you understand what someone with depression feels and what they go through. It makes you realize what the people around them will feel as they go through that. It is such a powerful book that makes you punch your wall, curl up into a ball, and hug your loved ones.
When I asked her about her favorite scene she responded, “They were all so good. My favorite scene was when it was Finch’s birthday. He made it special for Ultraviolet. That scene was so moving and romantic. I love him.”
In all the bright places, there are two main characters. We see their story unfold from both of their view points. However, when Xitlaly was asked about which character was her favorite and why, she didn’t hesitate with an answer. “Finch is my favorite character because even though he was going through his own stuff he took time to make Violet happy and feel loved. He tried to be different people just to please her. He couldn’t see that she loved him for him, even with all his baggage.”
After reading this book, there were many things I wanted to ask the author. What inspired you to write this? Who did you base the characters off of? Was it hard to write all of these emotions without feeling them yourself? My friend, however, took a different approach when asked what she wants to say to the author if given the chance. “Please get a movie date out I’m trying to see the love of my life. The movie needs to get done because I really want to see the emotions get played out by an actor.”
I recommend this book to anyone. Xitlaly shares the same thoughts, saying, “You recommended this book to Estefania and me. Then I recommended it to my boyfriend and Estefania showed it to her sister, so yes. I highly recommend this book to everyone.”