“Sorry wastes time. You have to live your life like you’ll never be sorry. It’s easier just to do the right thing from the start so there’s nothing to apologize for.”
All The Bright Places has been on my radar for a while now… So when it was decided that this novel was going to be this month’s read of The Book Club of the Opinionated Hufflepuffs, I was all too happy to finally pick up my copy and read this novel by Jennifer Niven along with a bunch of lovely ladies. I’ve heard mixed things about All The Bright Places before, and now I’ve read it I’m not sure what to make of it. Sure, it was a highly emotional read with interesting characters and a tough subject (teen suicide). But I couldn’t help but feel I’ve read this kind of story before. Both the general plot, characters and prose are really similar to some of John Green and Rainbow Rowell‘s books I’ve read in the past. Looking For Alaska, Paper Towns, Eleanor & Park… They all sound similar to All The Bright Places. I’m not saying it is necessarily a bad thing, but it just takes away a lot of the originality of the story. In the end I wasn’t completely convinced and I guess that’s why I haven’t rated this novel as high as some others might have. Still, this is a recommended read for those who enjoy YA contemporary, don’t mind a story that will probably make you cry and are fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell.
Both Theodore Finch and Violet Markey have problems, although neither really wants to admit it. They have had some traumatic events in their past life that makes them feeling unsure of the future… And then they meet on top of the bell tower at school as they contemplate suicide. Who saves whom is not really clear, but they soon realize they need each other. Finch decides he and Violet should pair up on a school project; wander around their state to discover its beauties. The pair doesn’t only discover the natural wonders of their state, but also develop a relationship. Finch can finally be himself with Violet and stops thinking about death all the time, while Violet finds a way to temporarily escape her grief of her sister’s death… But safety is relative and nothing is certain. What will happen to this unlikely pair of teenagers?
Make sure to prepare a box of tissues if you cry easily when reading a sad story, because All The Bright Places is not a happy one. Teen suicide is a heavy theme and Finch and Violet’s story is without doubt a heartbreaking one. I’m still not sure what to think of the similarities with the work of other popular YA authors, but I cannot deny it’s a read with an interesting message.