Review: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

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Details & Summary

Title: I’ll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin Random House)
Release Date: September 16th 2014
Pages: 384

At first, Jude and her twin brother are NoahandJude; inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor.
The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.”

My thoughts…

I had a hard time getting into this book. I started, then stopped. Started it again, then stopped again. Basically, I only came back to it because I had no other books to read. When I reflect on why I had so much trouble getting into this book, I can think of nothing else but the writing style. I’ll Give You the Sun is an extremely poetic / lyrical book about art and family and relationships, and it’s filled with metaphors. So so many metaphors and “purple prose”. Dare I say it came across as a tad pretentious and unrealistic. After all, how many fourteen and sixteen year olds think and speak like Noah and Jude?

Jude barfs bright blue fluorescent barf all over the table, but I’m the only one who notices.

We’re sprinting at the speed of light when the ground gives way and we rise into the air as if racing up stairs.

All the hornet’s buzzed out of her. And there’s no spider to her at all

The writing style is what kept me from bonding with the characters. I kept being pulled out of the story because I was paying too much attention to the descriptions, the metaphors, and the way Nelson used language in general to create her story. But I didn’t give up on it because I’d heard so many good things about it and I’m too stubborn to DNF. So I told myself to stop overthinking it and just go with it.

I’m so happy I did or I would’ve never discovered the brilliant parts of this book. For one, I came to adore Noah. He’s a talented artist who falls in love with his neighbour Brian, with whom he can truly be himself–passionate, dorky, and maybe even a bit of a freak. Brian is in love with him too, but it wouldn’t be a YA novel if a series of unfortunate circumstances forces didn’t force them apart. I hate how their break-up could’ve been avoided if they’d just talked to each other and set things straight, but alas. Having said that, I adore them together.

I love you,” I say to him, only it comes out, “Hey.”

“So damn much,” he says back, only it comes out, “Dude.”

And even as I’m kissing him and kissing him and kissing him, I wish I were kissing him, wanting more, more, more, more, like I can’t get enough, never will be able to get enough.

And then there’s Jude. I didn’t like her much at first, but that’s mostly because I first read about her from Noah’s POV and they were growing apart by then. Jude was also in the process of becoming a young woman, which came with more than a few struggles. But through her own POV, I came to like Jude too. She’s more of a risk-taker than Noah is, less afraid of being herself and standing up for what she believes in. She also falls in love but with an older boy named Oscar. I have to say I’m not a huge fan of their relationship. Aside from the fact that Oscar is a stereotypical dream boy (older, British, tattoos, motorcycle, troubled past, dates many women but capable of changing for “true love”, etc.), I didn’t like the you’re-my-soulmate-and-one-true-love factor. It’s just not realistic to me.

“Meeting your soul mate is like walking into a house you’ve been in before – you will recognize the furniture, the pictures on the wall, the books on the shelves, the contents of drawers: You could find your way around in the dark if you had to”

I’m happy to say that the parents in this YA novel are present and that they’re a part of their children’s lives. A huge part in fact, which is rare these days. It was nice to see how Mum and Dad had a separate relationship with each of their kids and how these relationships changed and developed over time.
Noah’s relationship with his Mum is different from Jude’s, but it also changes from the beginning to the end. The same thing goes for Noah and his Dad and for Jude and each of the parents. All the relationships have their own, separate arc which are all sufficiently developed throughout the book. This makes the relationships more real and realistic because we all know the bond between a parent and a teen can change dramatically between the ages of 13 to 16.

While Nelson’s writing style is too lyrical for my taste, I fell in love with Noah and Jude all the same. I related with them and felt for them while they dealt with strong emotions such as first love and grief, which ultimately lead me to appreciate and enjoy the story and the messages hidden within.

Rating

I’d probably give this a 3,5 / 5 though.

Waiting On Wednesday #3 – A YA Novel for All Booklovers!

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re all excited about! This week I’m waiting for…..

Details & Summary

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Title: Words in Deep Blue
Author: Cath Crowley
Release Date: June 6th, 2017 (it’s not available in my country yet)
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 269

Love lives between the lines.
Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.
Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.
Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.
As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Why am I waiting?

First off, this book has one of the most appealing summaries I’ve read in a while. It’s perfect for bookworms like you and me. I just love the idea of reading about two characters who love words and books and literature as much as I do. It makes them instantly relatable. And to make it even better, there’s a (cute?) love story, and it also deals with serious topics such as grief. What more could you want?

Second, I loved Graffiti Moon, written by the same author. I admire Cath Crowley for taking the most ‘simple’ ideas and really turning them into unforgettable stories. It takes real talent to do that.

What book are you waiting for? I’m always looking for recommendations, so feel free to let me know in the comments and / or post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday.

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The Blogger Stats Book Tag

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re all having a good day and a great start of the week. To be honest, mine hasn’t started that well. We’ve had tropical-like weather for a while now, which makes it hard to sleep. On average, I’ve been running on 5-6 hours of sleep for the last couple of weeks, which hasn’t been great for my mood or productivity, but there’s nothing much I can do about it except keep going 🙂

As you can tell from the title, I’m going to do another tag today because I don’t have too much energy to write an original post and, let’s be honest, they’re fun to do. The Blogger Stats Book Tag was created by AlwaysTrustinBooks and I was nominated by Norin @Diary of a Bookfiend. If you have some time, please go visit her blog and show her some love.

Alright, now let’s get started!

The last three books you read?

 

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I really enjoyed the first two, but I have mixed feelings about Thirteen Reasons Why.

Spoilers or spoiler free?
This is a tough one. I hate it when other people drop spoilers, but sometimes I go looking for spoilers myself. For example, if I’m really invested in a book and I think a character might not make it to the end, I flip through the pages to see if they’re still around at the end. Same thing for couples I’m hardcore shipping. I can’t help myself, I just need to know.

How long have you been book blogging?
I believe I started on January 9th, so about 6 months now. I’m definitely still a newbie who has a lot of things to learn.

A book you read in one sitting?
I’m a fast reader, but it’s rare for me to finish a book in one sitting. Either the book has too many pages (I definitely can’t read a 400+ page book in one go because I work during the week and weekends are pretty busy too) or because I’m not compelled to. Having said that, I finished Eleanor & Park in one sitting. It’s a short book and I was really invested in it, so it was easy to read in one go.

Your favorite genre?
Contemporary YA all the way.

Preferred book size? (novella, tome…etc.)
I prefer novels over novella’s, but e.g. the page count doesn’t matter to me. I don’t mind reading a 400+ book (as long as it’s a good book of course!)

Amount of books on your TBR?
I have absolutely no idea. I don’t update my Goodreads account that much so there’s no way for me to tell. A lot though. Probably around 100.

A book you have DNF’d?
None that I can remember. I’m very stubborn 😀

Recent awards or milestones?
I’ve recently hit 1,000 post likes, which I’m really happy about. It shows that you’re loving what I’m posting which is nice and helps me stay motivated. So thank you to everyone for their support!

Best interaction with an author you enjoy?
Living in a small, non-English country, I haven’t been able to meet any authors yet.

Average number of books you read per month?
Four, I think.

Top three publishers?
I don’t pay too much attention to which books belong to which publishers. As long as it sounds interesting, I’ll try any book, no matter who published it.

Social media sites your blog uses?
Twitter and Instagram, but I’m bad at both.

Average amount of time you spend networking?
I try to blog hop and interact with other bloggers at least 30 minutes to an hour every day.

Most comfortable blogging position?
At my desk.

Music or quiet when writing reviews?
It depends on my mood and the book I’m reviewing. If I know exactly what I’m going to say, I’ll put some music on and just write it out. If I’m not really sure or if I’m having mixed feelings about the book, I need the peace and quiet to think.

Can you sum up your blogging style in 5 words?
I really can’t come up with anything.
What do you guys think??

A blog you looked up to starting out?
I have so many! Here are three of my favourites:

Marie @DrizzleandHurricaneBooks
Sarah @WrittenWordWorlds
Lauren @WonderlessReviews

The best book you have reviewed so far?

The people who’ve been following for a while probably know which book I’m going to say because I rave about it all the time.

It’s History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera ❤

Best piece of blogging advice?
Stay consistent. At the beginning, it feels like no one is reading your posts and your blog is never going to go anywhere, but it will. I promise. Just keep posting and please don’t be shy. Comment on other bloggers’ posts and interact with them. They’re all very welcoming and very lovely people in general so there’s no reason to be afraid!

I’m not tagging anyone this time. If you’re interested, go ahead and do it, but make sure to leave me a comment with the link so I can read your answers!

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Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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Details & Summary:

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin Random House)
Release Date: October 18th 2007
Pages: 288

You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

My thoughts…

Everyone has heard about Thirteen Reasons Why by now, the popular but highly controversial Netflix series brought to life by teen idol Selena Gomez. What many (non-bookworms) might not know is that Thirteen Reasons Why was already very popular in the bookworld when it was released…ten years ago, in 2007. It was a huge success and became a bestseller in no time, but I think it’s fair to say Jay Asher’s story didn’t reach the general public until the show was released by Netflix on 31st March 2017.

I’m telling you this because that’s exactly how it happened for me. I’d heard of Thirteen Reasons Why plenty of times and I’d seen it around the book community, but I didn’t plan on reading it any time soon. Watching Thirteen Reasons Why changed those plans. You can read my review for Thirteen Reasons Why (the Netflix series) on the blog.

I wanted to review this book as-is and not compare it with the Netflix series, but I found that to be impossible so I apologize for those of you who haven’t seen it.

The first thing that stood out to me was how different book-Hannah and show-Hannah are. I liked show-Hannah: I thought she was a smart, witty, sympathetic, and relatable teenage girl who unfortunately had to deal with a lot of bad stuff in her high school life. Book-Hannah? Not so much.

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I found it harder to sympathise with book-Hannah. Something about her “voice” didn’t feel right. In the book, she’s more–vindictive, I guess. I think this is very interesting considering the backlash the Netflix series has received for essentially promoting a “revenge story” connected to a girl’s suicide. Now, if you’ve read my review for the show, you know I don’t agree. I don’t think show-Hannah meant to hurt and ruin the lives of the people on the tapes. I think she wanted everyone to know just how much little, seemingly insignificant things and behaviours can lead to so much more.

You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything

But, book-Hannah? I’m not sure. Even though she said she forgave almost all of them for what they did, at times I thought she got too much “fun” (this is too harsh of a word, but I don’t know else how to explain it) out of creating these tapes. While I understand why she might feel that way (honestly, who doesn’t hate the people on those tapes?), I’m not happy about the message it sends out. I’m okay with show-Hannah warning people to think before they act because you never know what someone else is going through, but I’m not okay with book-Hannah.

Let’s move on to Clay. Book-Clay didn’t believe he deserved to be on those tapes. Not for a second. He also didn’t fully blame himself for Hannah’s death or for not being able to “save” her. Yes, he felt guilty for not trying harder, but that’s a normal reaction after losing someone you care about. You’re always going to wonder what you could’ve done in order to help them. The big difference is that show-Clay is too hard on himself and he idolizes Hannah a lot more than book-Clay does.

That’s why you did it. You wanted your world to collapse around you. You wanted everything to get as dark as possible

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Lastly, I want to briefly talk about the other characters. Aside from a couple of name changes and a character that doesn’t exist in the book (I’m so happy they created Jeff for the show!), they’re all very similar. Having said that, I don’t think I would’ve been able to connect or get a good feel of the side characters if I hadn’t seen the show. In the book, Clay listens to the tapes in one night and he barely interacts with anyone (aside from Tony, his mom, and Marcus). That makes it really hard to understand any of them as real people because you’re not given the interactions you need to judge their character. You’re essentially stuck with what Hannah tells you they’re like instead of finding out yourself, which I found ironic considering Hannah hated how everyone thought they knew her because of the rumours they’d heard.

I wanted people to trust me, despite anything they’d heard. And more than that, I wanted them to know me. Not the stuff they thought they knew about me. No, the real me. I wanted them to get past the rumors. To see beyond the relationships I once had, or maybe still had but that they didn’t agree with

I’m really glad the show dragged out the timeline so they could develop the side characters. I think it’s absolutely key to see how these characters act and interact with others (not just Hannah) before you judge them. Most of them were still pretty awful, yes, but they felt less “villain-y” and more like real, three-dimensional people in the show than they did in the book.

It’s hard to say what this review would’ve looked like if I hadn’t seen the show or if I’d read the book before the show. Honestly, I think I wouldn’t have liked it as much. Maybe not even at all. Without the images and voices of all the characters from the show in my head, I think I would’ve had a hard time connecting to the characters and the story. Above all, I think I wouldn’t have sympathised with Hannah as much as I did in the show and her message would’ve been lost on me.

Rating

Top Five Wednesday: My Favourite Side Ships

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge for book bloggers, hosted by Lainey and Samantha. The goal is for bloggers to choose their top 5 picks for the week’s given challenge. You can find more information about this meme over on Goodreads!

This week’s topic is “Side Ships”, i.e. favourite relationships that don’t involve the protagonist.

To be honest, I struggled to pick five. I ship (too) many couples, but the protagonist is always involved so they were no good for this week’s topic. After consulting my Goodreads account and going through every book I’ve ever read in my mind, I’ve managed to pick my top five.

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Ron & Hermione – Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling: I completely fell in love with this ship when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out, and I’m not sure I even noticed them in the books before I saw that movie. Obviously, the books were ahead of the movies, but I can’t remembering actually shipping Ron and Hermione before the Goblet of Fire movie. In any case, I’m a big fan of this ship. I don’t even understand people who ship Harry and Hermione? Like, c’mon, they were best friends. Nothing more! (Don’t fight me on this)

  • Ben & Lacey – Paper Towns by John Green: this is a classic case of “opposites attract”. Ben is one of Q’s (the MC) best friends. He’s kind of a dork who’s got no game whatsoever (he refers to girls as “honeybees” which I can’t even get offended by because you just know he doesn’t mean anything bad by it). His number one goal in life is to go to prom with Lacey, one of the most popular and beautiful girls in school. At first, you think there’s no way in hell that these two are going to end up together, but throughout the book, they grow closer and they’re actually kind of sweet together.

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Abby & Nick – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: this is an interesting one because their relationship doesn’t really develop on the page. We “see” how Abby and Nick are growing closer, but we don’t actually get to experience how / why they fall for each other. Still, I think they’re cute together. Mostly because Abby is my favourite character in the book (she’s right up there with Simon) and I want her to be happy ❤

  • Finnick & Annie – The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins: for the most part, Annie is a mystery character because we don’t know that much about her. We only know she became mentally unstable after winning the games, that Finnick is the only one who can calm her down and that he’s completely devoted to her. Which is why this is one of my favourite ships. Finnick comes across as a strong, handsome “player” but he’s only got eyes for one girl, which is sweet and makes me even more sad he didn’t get his happy ending.

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Jane & Mr. Bingley – Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen: I love these two together because they’re just two positive, sweet, kind, and slightly naïve characters who follow their heart.

 

 

 

 

Do you ship any of these couples? What are your favourite side ships? Let me know in the comments!

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Pride Month: My Favourite & Highly Anticipated YA Novels with LGBTQIA+ Characters

Hello and happy Monday, everyone!

In honour of Pride Month, I’m lining up my favourite YA novels with LGBTQIA+ characters, as well as books I haven’t read yet but I’m excited about. But, first, let’s talk about Pride Month.

As you may or may not know, the month of June was chosen for LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots of June 1969. The Stonewall Inn was a bar located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan and was open to all members of the gay community (unlike other bars and establishments in the 1960s). Police raids were routine during that time, but the police force lost control of the situation at Stonewall Inn. Greenwich Village residents later organized into activist groups to fight for LGBT rights, which is why the Stonewall Riots are believed to be the most important event for to the gay liberation movement.

June 1994 was the first official Pride Month in the US. In 2000, President Bill Clinton declared June Pride Month. President Obama did the same for 2009-2016. Pride Month is now not only celebrated in the US, but all over the world.

Obviously, there’s been a lot of progress since the Stonewall Riots, but there’s still a lot more room for improvement. For the first time in 8 years, the US president won’t acknowledge Pride Month. Unfortunately, there are also many countries where people from the LGBTQIA+ community can’t be open about their sexuality, which is why it’s important that all of us keep fighting for equal rights.

It’s also equally important to make sure that everyone** from the LGBTQIA+ community is accurately represented in the media, which includes books.

**Note: June is LGBT Pride Month, but I’m choosing to include everyone by talking about books that feature LGBTQIA+ characters. I find it ridiculous that asexuals for example, who’re least of all represented in fiction, are ignored.

But enough talking! Let’s get straight into it

My Top Five Favourite Books with LGBTQIA+ characters

  • History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera: a story about first love and grief that will break your heart
  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson: funny, nihilistic Henry is unsure whether or not to save the world (featuring sluggers!)
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: I ❤ Simon. He and Blue are precious and I wish he was my best friend (Abby too!).
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Leviathan: Tiny is one of the most incredible and hilarious characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about.
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: Dante is stubborn and angry and makes a lot of stupid mistakes while Ari is kind of a special snowflake, but I still loved them together.

Highly Anticipated Books with LGBTQIA+ characters

These are books I either haven’t read yet or that have yet to be released.

  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera: I’m already preparing to have my heart broken once again.
  • Radio Silence by Alice Oseman: “When Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.”
  • Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee: ace representation + Tolstoy = ❤
    Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert: Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother (who has bipolar disorder!) is in love with.
  • It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura: “Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like that fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend.”
  • Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley: a story about a fifteen-year-old bisexual girl who wants to start doing things. Or at least try. “But it’s not going to be easy. For one thing, how exactly do two girls have sex, anyway? And more important, how can you tell if you’re in love? It’s going to be a summer of testing theories—and the result may just be love”
  • The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: I love Ari & Dante, so I’m excited to read another book by Sáenz.
  • Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy: “As Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for childhood friend Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke.”
  • Meg & Linus by Hanna Nowinski: “Meg and Linus are best friends bound by a shared love of school, a coffee obsession, and being queer. But then Sophia, Meg’s longtime girlfriend, breaks up with Meg. Linus starts tutoring the totally dreamy new kid, Danny—and Meg thinks setting them up is the perfect project to distract herself from her own heartbreak. But Linus isn’t so sure Danny even likes guys, and maybe Sophia isn’t quite as out of the picture as Meg thought she was. . .”
  • Noteworthy by Riley Redgate: “A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…revered…all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.”
What are some of your favourite LGBTQIA+ books? Which are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments!

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Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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Details & Summary

Title: All The Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Release Date: January 6th, 2015
Pages: 378

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.

My thoughts…

Since this book is marketed as “an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham” and it’s been a huge success, I had high expectations going into it. My review will talk about how All the Bright Places met most of my expectations but also where it failed.

The book is split up into two first POV’s–Finch’s and Violet’s. I usually don’t enjoy dual POV’s but Jennifer Niven did a fantastic job at developing distinct voices for both main characters. Finch is spontaneous, impulsive and highly energetic but also unmistakably depressed and melancholic. Violet is more guarded, reflective, and trying to figure out her life and life itself after her sister’s death. While a lot of reviewers have accused Niven of making her characters overly quirky (they’re “different” and highly intelligent and quote Virginia Woolf to each other), I didn’t mind their quirkiness. I’m a huge John Green fan, who’s also guilty of creating very quirky characters, so it didn’t bother me at all.

Plot-wise, it’s very clear from the start of the book that it’s about two teenagers trying to help each other live while inevitably falling in love with each other. This is where the trouble starts. While I understand and relate to the characters, I know Niven is inadvertently sending out the wrong message.

“You saved my life. Why couldn’t I save yours?”

Teenagers are not supposed to save each other or help each other live. They’re supposed to get help from adults and professionals to try and address their (mental health) problems. Yes, Finch was seeing a therapist, and, yes, Violet’s parents were present and they cared about her wellbeing, but, ultimately, I think the adults failed the teenagers. There were plenty of signs, yet no one intervened the way they should have. That’s the wrong message to send out to teenagers. They need to feel like they have adults to turn to or they might think their situation is hopeless and make the wrong choice–like Finch did.

Having said that, I think she did a good job at portraying what it’s like to suffer from mental illness. Especially in Finch’s sections of the book.

“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.”

Even if you’ve never suffered from mental illness, it’s easy to relate to the wide variety of feelings and emotions that are portrayed in the book such as anger, pain, confusion, heartache, hope, and dread in regards to the future because everyone is battling or has battled those same issues when they were teenagers or young adults.

Lastly, I want to praise Niven’s writing. It’s not easy to portray two very different characters, but she succeeded. Violet’s and Finch’s thoughts are raw and relatable and her writing is beautiful and often poetic–though I’m sure many people would call it pretentious.

While All The Bright Places could’ve set a better example for teenagers by having a better support system of adults and professionals in place to help the main characters battle through their issues, it did manage to bring awareness to mental illness by accurately portraying the experience of her main characters.

Rating