All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

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Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 388
Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Opening Line:

“Is today a good day to die?”

What a journey I’ve been on reading this book. To start off with, it did remind me a little bit of The Sky is Everywhere and The Art of Being Normal but in a good way. Violet, one of the main character, has lost her sister Eleanor and Finch is the boy everyone calls a freak.

This book got better the more of it I read, and it happened like a domino effect. To begin with I was dipping into it, reading a couple of chapters, but then the more I read, the more I wanted to read. At one point I could feel my heart beating faster, and that hardly ever happens for me with a book. I almost cried, but I didn’t let myself, because I wanted to be able to keep reading.

Jennifer Niven has done a very good job with this book. I preferred Finc over Violet, but I think I warmed to Violet in the end, but my issue with her is that she reminded me too much of Lennie from The Sky is Everywhere but I know they are completely separate characters, it’s just because Ive read both books close to one another that I felt this way. Plus, towards the end, towards an important moment, I wanted to scream at her. I had a feeling about what was going to happen, and I don’t know how she didn’t know. But this book is written to hold an important message, and both Violet and Finch are carriers of that message, so I wouldn’t change or want to change the actions and reactions of both characters to certain things.

But one of my favourite things about this book is its inspiration regarding exploration, creativity, writing, and mindfulness. Mindfulness isn’t explicitly referred to, but Finch is always trying to be in the moment, in the now. He wants to be present. He wants to matter right now. He has rules for wandering, and it’s made me excited for whatever wandering I’ll do with my friends. I have a friend who I’m planning on doing a bit of traveling with. This book has given me plenty of ideas on how we can make the most of our wanderings.

I’ve given this book 5 stars because of all the different things that I experienced whilst reading it. It inspires, it really does. It might not inspire every reader, but I know it will inspire many.

As someone who is trying her best to understand mental health and help others, I’m glad this book exists, and glad that Jennifer Niven wrote it. I hope that this will do for mental health (and the battle against stigma) what I believe The Art of Being Normal will do for transgender people.

It’s fun, deep, emotional and a tad bit devastating, especially those of you who cry at books easily.

Favourite quotes:

Recently, I feel the same about eating:

“The thing about eating is that there are so many other interesting things to do. I feel the same way about sleeping. Complete wastes of time.”

What having a best friend is like:

“I guess you can be yourself, whatever that means – the best and worst of you. And they love you anyway. You can fight, but even when you’re mad at them, you know they’re not going to stop being your friend.”

“People either see me or they don’t. I wonder what it’s like to walk down the street, safe and easy in your skin, and just blend right in. No one turning away, no one staring, no one waiting and expecting, wondering what stupid, crazy thing you’ll do next.”

“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.”

“What if life could be this way? Only the happy parts, none of the terrible, not even the mildly unpleasant. What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good?”

Link to the book on Goodreads:

All the Bright Places

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