Sunday, January 10, 2016

Book Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Author: Jennifer Niven
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 400
Format: E-book
Published: January, 2015
Price: $9.99 -> Rp138.212 (Amazon)
Rating: 2 / 5 stars

Date started: December 28, 2015 - Date finished: January 2, 2016

Synopsis:
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.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!

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.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

Includes a PDF Help Line Resource Guide and a Note Read by the Author.
Review:
Violet Markey and Theodore Finch could not be more opposite from each other and yet they have one thing in common: They've thought of taking their own life, in committing suicide. Finch and Violet hung out with different crowds and yet they met in the most unlikely place of all, which was on the ledge of the school's bell tower. At that time, both of them got up there contemplating on ending their lives. Finch was there first, he never thought there were any other person who wanted to kill themselves and yet he saw Violet there, Finch can tell that Violet didn't really want to off herself so he talked her out of it but the news the school heard of was completely different. The kids were told that Violet was the one saving Finch from jumping off that ledge, this made Violet be known as the hero and Finch, well he became the freak of the school.

Violet is actually one of the cool kids, she hangs out with the cool and popular kid, her boyfriend is the hottest guy in school. It isn't until she got in an automobile accident where she lost her sister she became a different person, she stopped hanging around with her old friends, broke up with her boyfriend and she never really got over the accident. She blamed herself for the accident. Finch on the other hand is a quirky kid, he's very unique, which makes him a freak in school. The kids don't really want to be friends with him but they all know who Finch is. Finch likes to go to school in different personas. One day he can come to school dressed as a British rockstar and the next day he'll change into a whole other persona.

In a group project where students must discover the wonders of Indiana, Finch decided that he wants to be partnered up with Violet because in that bell tower she gave him a smile, not just a regular smile but a sincere one. After that day on the ledge, Finch became intrigued with Violet. So there they go, off to wonder the great state of Indiana and its wonders. This project proved to be quite therapeutic as it was able to push them out of their comfort zones, especially with Violet and (not so) surprisingly made them develop feelings for each other. But Finch still thinks about offing himself but he never really told Violet because around her he's a different kind of Finch. Even though Violet makes him happy in ways he never imagined, will it be enough for him to make want to live on?
“I know life well enough to know you can’t count on things staying around or standing still, no matter how much you want them to. You can’t stop people from dying. You can’t stop them from going away. You can’t stop yourself from going away either. I know myself well enough to know that no one else can keep you awake or keep you from sleeping.”
As you all might or might not have known, The Fault in Our Stars is one of my most favorite books of all time. That book is a book that I will re-read for the rest of my life and cherish forever. Now, this book gets compared to TFIOS a lot, so of course I wanted to read it especially since it won the YA fiction category of Goodreads Choice Award so it had to mean something. I was shocked as to how this book turned out, my hopes and expectations were definitely not met. Part of me hoped that this book is going to be as amazing as TFIOS but it's not.

By all means this book is not a bad book, it is just an okay book for me. I know that a lot of people really loved this book and a few even said that this book changed their lives but I guess I'm not one of those people. First things first, for a sicklit book I personally think that readers should be able to connect to the characters inside that book. In this book I wasn't able to do that, the character building and development didn't satisfy me because the main character, Finch was too deeply associated with his illness. There isn't any attributes that makes him a likable guy, he is his illness. Same thing with Violet, she was too hung up with the tragedy in her past that the only attribute that I got about her was the fact that she likes to write.
“The thing I realize is, that it's not what you take, it's what you leave.”
The wandering part, which was kind of the whole essence of this book was too long for me. I know that the wandering journey between the main characters here is what made them find themselves, who they truly are, who they can be and of course it what made their bond (besides the Facebook chats they did). I just think that some parts could be cut off though, or shortened, because at some parts of this book I find myself skimming through the pages (which kind of indicates that I didn't quite enjoy my time reading as much as I wanted).
“The problem with people is they forget that most of the time it's the small things that count.”
There are some parts of this book that was A+ for me. First is that obviously the writer did her research in this because there's no doubt the portrayal of Finch's illness was spot on and the way she wrote the book was clear, easy to read and at times quite poetic. Another is the multiple perspective way the story is told, it just makes this book easier to read and we as the readers are able to sort of experience what Finch and Violet was thinking.

Really, really do wanted to love this book but alas I didn't. I must tell you that my review shouldn't discourage you from reading this book, if you are interested in this kind of story you should give it a try and form your own opinion about it. Who knows? Perhaps you'll like it more than me.

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