Published in 2015, ‘All The Bright Places’ strikes me as one of those books that, once found, will be held dear in the hearts of its readers.
Please don’t be under any illusions; this is a book that deals with raw emotions and the focus on mental health/bereavement may be quite challenging for some. However, I think this is an important book as many teenagers and young adults will live through such events. How can they ever hope to navigate their way through these emotions and experiences if they are sheltered from them?
When we meet Violet Markey she is living with the fact that she survived the crash that killed her sister. She feels guilty. This goes some way to explaining why, when we first meet her, she is sitting at the top of her school’s bell tower trying to find the courage to get down. Her rescuer is Theodore Finch, a boy reviled by many of his classmates simply because he doesn’t conform to their label. Thus begins a beautiful friendship.
This book makes no secret of the fact that Finch and Violet are struggling to live with some pretty nasty demons. Yet, together, they seem to lift one another.
Though you sense where this ends, I was in no way prepared for the emotional impact of the story. Niven does not shy away from the details that we may prefer not to know.
This is fascinating to read. I found it hard as an adult to sit back and watch these fragile teenagers dealing with what was thrown at them. The anger I felt towards Finch’s family took me by surprise. As a young adult I think I would have loved this book; as an adult I’m trying to encourage my own teenager to read it and hoping the film will be released soon.