Monday, 5 January 2015

Review: All the Bright Places (Just go buy it)

All the Bright Places
Publication Date: 8th January 2015
Publisher: Penguin Random House
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~ 

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this compelling, exhilarating, and beautiful 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.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven

I honestly don't know where to start with this one, so this is more of a feeling and reaction review than a straight up review, the same as I did with We Were Liars. Because, All the Bright Places is another book where whatever you say it's not going to be enough, it'll never be enough to say in a few paragraphs how much you love and got a book so much that you literally stared at it for half an hour just thinking and trying (unsuccessfully) not to cry. Because it affected me in a way no other book has done before, not even The Fault in Our Stars or  Heart-Shaped Bruise (as much as I love them)  or even Speak, that changed everything for me and got me reading in the first place. But, this is why I read. Beautiful, beautiful books like these are what keeps me reading.

So, I'll tell you this...
All the Bright Places, in part, is a story you see a lot, two broken people finding each other, but whereas in others you see they meet, fall in love and save the other and suddenly everything's miraculously fixed, okay, maybe not miraculously fixed, but they can keep holding on to each other and it's enough. All the Bright Places, however, is not that story. It's not enough and it's not fixed, it's there, and it lights up Theodore Finch from the inside until it burns out and let's him go, because it's a part of him, and a part of who he is. This is a band aid kind of story, it's a quick fix for a while, but it's not enough. It shows that perfectly, it gives you this guy, this wild and alive and fearless  guy that doesn't understand that this, what it is, isn't under his control, it's not his fault that It makes his thoughts dangerous and it makes him a live wire. It shows how high he can get before the inevitable fall, that depression isn't just about feeling sad or low, or have the blues, it's something unattainable,  it isn't containable and it isn't something you can control. It isn't about wanting to die, it's about fighting to live.

All the Bright Places is also story about a battle that doesn't define or label a person and grief. But it's also a story about everything and everything in between. It's a story about surviving and living and wanting to live. It's a story about getting to that point of staring into the abyss and staring back at it as it stares at you. It's a story of being afraid, not afraid of dying, not afraid of wanting to die, but the reasons why you stay. The reasons why you stop. It's a story of finding reasons to live and you cling onto them with all you've got. You're not afraid of going onto a ledge and looking at the ground below, just to see what it feels like. What it looks like. You're afraid of the point where those reasons stop being enough, and saving somebody else because  you can't save yourself.

Rating: 5/5