Book Review: All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is a wonderfully well written book that focuses on the importance of mental health. All the Bright Places takes place in modern day Indiana and follows two teenagers named Violet and Finch. Finch is a boy with a harsh past who struggles with mental illness, even though his family and friends won’t admit it. He is known as a “freak” at school and gets bullied frequently. Violet is almost his complete opposite, she is the girl with the picture perfect life, the one who everyone wants to be. Until her sister died and everything changed for her. Now she has been retreating from family and friends and spending more and more time alone. She blames herself for her sister’s death and this is why she is finding it hard to move on. Violet and Finch are both struggling in different ways and come from very different crowds at school so their paths don’t tend to cross, until one day where they meet on the edge of their high school’s bell tower. This day is when their whirlwind journey begins. Finch is able to help Violet find closure for her sister’s death, and Violet gives Finch something to live for. Unfortunately Finch’s mental health struggles are too deeply rooted for Violet to untangle on her own, so he will need to seek professional help before it is too late.

When I was looking for something new to read and came across this book, I was intrigued by the bright sticky notes on the cover and the lure of a story about characters my age. I knew I was going to like this book within the first few pages when I became aware of the rebellious and interesting character, Finch. I like how Finch adds humor and sadness to this story and how his character has many layers that we get to see unravel throughout the book. I also liked how this book was a quicker read and was easy to understand since it wasn’t too wordy. Sometimes I did find it challenging to follow Finch’s thoughts, but I think that is what the author was trying to convey since Finch also can’t follow his own thoughts sometimes. Overall I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it.

This novel is for you if you enjoy bittersweet endings, romance, and coming of age stories. It is also for you if you want to learn more about, or feel like you can relate to, a character struggling with serious mental illness.

-Review by Madeleine Morawski, 12/30/21