Book Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All The Bright PlacesAs you may already know, young adult literature is my “thing.” I have obviously read young adult literature my entire life, but I really started to find a passion for it (and to identify that passion) in college when I took a course in it. I literally have an entire bookshelf in my apartment dedicated solely to my young adult books, so obviously when All the Bright Places came out and got great reviews, I knew I had to read it.

All the Bright Places tells the story of Theodore Finch and Violet Markey, two high school students who cross paths when they meet on the ledge of the bell tower at their school. Both contemplating suicide, it becomes unclear who saves whom. A friendship begins, and the pair teams up to complete a school project on the “Natural Wonders” of their home state. I want to err on the side of caution here so I do not reveal too much, but this is a book that I really enjoyed and may even be in my top 10 favorite young adult books. Mental health is a serious subject matter in this book, and this is an issue that is important to me for personal reasons.

“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.”

My rating: 5/5 stars. I did not want to put this book down, and it was an emotional read that still makes my heart heavy today as I reflect on it several months later. Additionally, this book allowed me to discover the wonder that is Virginia Woolfe (and I recognize that it is sad that I did not know much of her before). This is an important and lovely book for both its intended young adult audience and for others, especially those who work with youth or who know people who struggle with mental health.

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