Friday, 10 March 2017

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Book Title: All The Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Genre: Young Adult
My Rating: ♥ ♥
Source: Own a paperback copy

Amazon UK, Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
What did I think? I really liked the Fault in Our Stars and I enjoy YA a lot, especially contemporary ones, but All The Bright Places was a huge disappointment.

The characters aren't treated as people. They're just the textbook definition of their illness. A person with depression is still a person who has various character traits and an entire personality that isn't all defined by their illness, except for in this book. In this book they don't get to be people, they get to be their illness.

In the acknowledgments the author said, she wanted to write an edgy novel. Is mental illness edgy these days? Violet is nothing more than a prize. She doesn't have a proper story arc or a proper personality. Finch is depression and when he isn't, he's a typical nice guy who doesn't respect the girl's rejections and pretentiously quotes Virginia Woolf.

I also feel like this book glorifies suicide. Don't romanticise suicide in a book that you market to teenagers? NOT OKAY.

I honestly have nothing else to say.

3 comments:

  1. oh I was so looking forward to this review :) so curious why you didn't like it :) I dealt with post partum depression for a very long time and we have a very long story of mental illness in the family so this is a topic I hold very dear. So bummer this book presented depressed people like this! So narrow! I think I'll still read it so I can add my opinion to the poll. Great Review Oliva.

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    1. I'd be really curious to see what you think of it. I studied Psychology, so it's a subject I'm very interested in, and I was immediately turned off by the "I wanted to write an edgy novel" but I never suffered from depression myself, so maybe I'm over critical. Let me know when you've read it so I don't miss your review!

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  2. I've seen this book around a lot in the last year or so and have seen generally good reviews. It's good to see a more critical review to balance those out. It's disappointing to see that Violet and Finch are represented as nothing more than their illnesses/issues. Aren't they people first? People who just happen to be dealing with "X"? I've never felt led to pick this one up and even less so now.

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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