Thursday, December 17, 2015

Book Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven


Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Format Read: Hardback

Description from Goodreads: 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.

It's taken me a particularly long time to write this review. I read ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES in October, and I've thought about reviewing it multiple times but just could not bring myself to do it. In fact, the only reason I'm doing it now is to let you guys know that I didn't like it. I won't be going into much detail at all for this review, so my apologies ahead of time.

Like Hazel and Augustus, I feel that there is a contract between author and reader. A contract that should always be stuck to, and that should be the baseline for each novel written. ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES, I feel, was in major violation of said contract.

I loved this book until about halfway through. Near the midpoint, I could tell something just wasn't quite right, and that's when the heaviness started coming into play. And it was a dump, too. It wasn't just steady heavy until the climax, it was heavy-all-at-once-within-like-ten-chapters. Which was fine. Until it wasn't.

I have  very conflicted feelings about ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES, and I know after having seen it win and be nominated for all of these awards that I'm not on the side of the people, but... this one just struck me wrong. At one point, I had to put the book down and get my mind off of it-- this is when I had to decide whether I wanted to finish it or not. I ended up reading until the last page, which was probably the wrong decision, looking back, and now I'm here.

ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES earns a single solitary star from me, for reasons mentioned above and feelings I can't explain. 

Have any of you also disliked this one?

(Un)Happily,
Stephanie

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