All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
This brilliant, compelling and heart-breaking book about two teenagers struggling with their lives, who find each other by chance, is full of refreshing honesty as it tackles the very serious issues surrounding mental illness.
On the surface, Violet Markey and Theodore Finch could not be more different; Finch is a melancholy and unusual figure, preoccupied with death. He fixates on the notion of taking his own life. However, each time he decides to kill himself, some small but wonderful thing stops him. Violet is a popular girl, usually surrounded by many friends, but she is having a hard time coming to terms with the death of her sister. When the two meet on a ledge, they manage to save each other and, understandably, find themselves drawn to one another.
When the two embark on an adventure - a road-trip round Indiana to discover the ‘natural wonder’s of their home state -Violet gets to know the other, warmer, funnier side of Finch. Events do not conspire to help Finch’s state of mind, though, and Violet will have to decide how far she is willing to go for the boy she now realises she loves.
All The Bright Places navigates the very complicated and troubling world of mental illness in a moving and accessible way; the novel will help YA readers gain a greater understanding of the very real and important issues faced by those who are experiencing mental illness, issues that a quarter of the population will face at some point in their lives. It also contains a simple but ever useful message for anyone who may be feeling blue, in essence, as Finch tells Violet, whatever you do, make it lovely.
Our favourite quote: 'It's my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.'
The perfect thoughtful gift for: Best Friends | Emotional reads | Book club reads | Sisters | Brothers | Those having a hard time | Holiday reads
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