Published: January 6, 2015 by Knopf
Links: Goodreads.Publisher.Buy The Book
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.
I liked Finch from the start. He was odd & sarcastic and I dug it. From the get go you can tell Finch suffers from depression and something else. He is truly fascinated with death to the point where he researches statistics on different methods of death and even comes close to death a few times.
Violet was the popular girl. She dated a popular boy and had a ton of friends, her best being her older sister Eleanor. Eleanor died not to long ago in a car crash and Violet survived. This leaves Violet feeling guilty and because of that she can't move forward in life. She won't ride in cars, she gave up writing, she gave up being Violet.
The way Violet & Finch meet is odd and yet explains the book entirely in my opinion. They get paired up to do a class project to see 2 of Indiana's wonders. They take it further and visit more places. Finch gets Violet to open up and teaches her to live her life to the fullest which is odd because he's truly thinking of quite the opposite.
It's no secret this book deals with suicide. I've dealt with a couple occasions in my life with the topic and it's hard just to live through so I'm happy there's a book out there that talks about the topic. This book also deals with the labels that involve around mental illnesses and just labels in general.
This isn't a happy book by any means. There are a ton of funny moments and Finch himself is hilarious but deep down you know and he knows he's not happy and he tries to be but just can't. I loved the ending of the book even though it was sad but it left me feeling hope. Hope for a character which I really enjoyed.
I gave this book a 5/5 because it gripped me from beginning to end. Finch is a standout character. Violet takes awhile to warm up to but blossoms beautifully. I also loved how this book dealt with the issue of suicide. It's no laughing matter and I think this book handled it amazingly.
Overall, amazing book. Just get ready to get out your tissue boxes or hankies if you use those but I'm not sure anyone does anymore.
But wait that's not all! I was lucky enough to email Jennifer Niven & ask her a few questions!
About Jennifer Niven:#1 Kids' Indie Next Book for Winter '14-'15, an Amazon.com editor's Pick/Best Book of the Month, and a New York Timesbestseller. The foreign rights have already sold to thirty-two territories, and the movie rights have been optioned with Elle Fanning attached to star. As a companion to the book, Jennifer has created Germ, a web magazine for and run by girls (and boys) — high school and beyond — that celebrates beginnings, futures, and all the amazing and agonizing moments in between.
With the publication of her first book, The Ice Master, Jennifer became a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writer. A nonfiction account of a deadly Arctic expedition, The Ice Master was released in November 2000 and named one of the top ten nonfiction books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, and translated into multiple languages, including German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Danish, and Icelandic. Jennifer and The Ice Master appeared in Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, Talk, Glamour, The New Yorker, Outside, The New York Times Book Review, The London Daily Mail, The London Times, and Writer's Digest, among others. Dateline BBC, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel featured The Ice Master an hour-long documentaries, and the book was the subject of numerous German, Canadian, and British television documentaries. The Ice Master has been nominated for awards by the American Library Association and Book Sense, and received Italy's esteemed Gambrinus Giuseppe Mazzotti Prize for 2002.
Jennifer's second book, Ada Blackjack — an inspiring true story of the woman the press called "the female Robinson Crusoe" — has been translated into Chinese, French, and Estonian, was a Book Sense Top Ten Pick, and was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the Top Five Arctic books.
Her memoir, The Aqua-Net Diaries: Big Hair, Big Dreams, Small Town, was published in February 2010 by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, and was optioned by Warner Bros. as a television series.
Her first novel, Velva Jean Learns to Drive (based on her Emmy Award-winning film of the same name), was released July 2009 by Penguin/Plume. It was an Indie Pick for the August 2009 Indie Next List and was also a Costco Book of the Month. The second book in the Velva Jean series, Velva Jean Learns to Fly, was released by Penguin/Plume in August 2011, and the third book in the series, Becoming Clementine, was published in September 2012. The fourth Velva Jean novel, American Blonde, is available now.
With her mother, author Penelope Niven, Jennifer has conducted numerous seminars in writing and addressed audiences around the world. She lives in Los Angeles.
Interview with Jennifer Niven!
What are some of your favorite authors? In addition to my mom, Penelope Niven, I love Flannery O’Connor, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, the Brontë sisters, David Levithan, Melvin Burgess, Louise Rennison, and Harper Lee. One of my very favorite books is In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.
Describe All The Bright Places in 140 words All the Bright Places is about a boy and a girl who meet on the ledge of their high school bell tower as they’re both contemplating jumping. It’s about bright places and dark places, about making it lovely and leaving something behind. It’s about acceptance in spite of everything, and realizing that you are your own bright place in the world.
What are 3 things you have to have with you while writing? My literary cats, Lulu, Rumi, and Scout. They keep me company at my desk!
Why did you decide to write a book with such a hard hitting topic? It was a story I knew in my heart and in my own experience because of a boy I once knew and loved. The experience of knowing him was life changing, and I’d always wanted to write about it. Secondarily, I hoped the story would inspire a discussion of important issues that many people don’t like to talk about but need to talk about—depression, loss, bullying, domestic violence, and suicide. Back then, I didn’t talk about it, but it’s important to talk about. I experienced firsthand the stigma associated with mental disorders—both from the boy’s perspective and from mine—and I realized that we need to make people feel safe enough to come forward and say, “I have a problem. I need help.” If we don’t talk about suicide or depression or mental illness, how can we expect anyone to reach out for help when they need it most?
I just found out All The Bright Places is being made into a movie, are you excited about that? I’m very excited! Especially because Elle Fanning is attached to play Violet. When I was writing the novel, I pictured Elle as Violet, and after meeting her I see that she’s even more perfect for the role! Director Miguel Arteta (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, The Good Girl, Cedar Rapids) has just signed on to direct the film, and I’m thrilled about that as well because he’s incredibly talented and, like the film’s producers, he truly “gets” the book. Now we just have to find the perfect Finch...
Where did the inspiration for the character Theodore Finch come from? As I mentioned, years ago, I knew and loved a boy, and that boy was bipolar. I witnessed up-close the highs and lows, the Awake and the Asleep, and I saw his daily struggle with the world and with himself. He was one of the most vital, exciting, magical people I’ve ever known, but he was also one of the most tragic.
Are you writing another book in the future? If so do you have a general idea what it will be about? I’m writing my second YA novel, which is an unconventional love story of a boy who can't remember faces and a very visible girl who feels invisible. It’s about seeing, being seen, and learning to recognize what’s important. It’s about what makes us love someone.
What do you want people that are suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts to know?: I want readers to know they are not alone. I also want them to know that help is out there, that it gets better, that high school isn’t forever, and that life is long and vast and full of possibility.
Anything else to add or that you would like to mention? In the book, Violet is the creator of two web magazines, one with her sister and the other she comes up with on her own. After I wrote the first draft of the book, I thought: What if Germ was real? What if EleanorandViolet.com was real? … Germ (www.germmagazine.com) launched in January 2014, and at this moment we have fifty-some staff members, counting our regular contributors, most of whom are between the ages of fourteen and twenty-six. We began in Los Angeles, but we now have staff writers from all across the US, as well as England, Hungary, the Philippines, and the Ukraine. And two of our amazing Germ directors—Briana Bailey (Literary Editor/Copy Editor/Managing Editor) and Shelby Padgett (Social Media Director) created the content for EleanorandViolet.com, with Briana taking Violet’s voice and Shelby taking Eleanor’s. Their articles are hilarious—I go on the site every now and then and reread them so I can just laugh and laugh.
Thanks so much to Jennifer Niven for letting me interview her!
I also filmed a video review for All The Bright Places!