|All the bright places
Author: Niven, Jennifer
Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school--both teetering on the edge--it's the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the "natural wonders" of the state of Indiana, and two teens' desperate desire to heal and save one another.
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 11/01/2014 Violet and Finch meet on the ledge of their school’s clock tower, both thinking about jumping. For frenetic Finch, who constantly alters his appearance, suicide is often on his mind, and the barrage of bullying he receives, from his classmates and his own father, doesn’t help matters. Violet, on the other hand, is in a daze after the untimely death of her sister. They don’t jump, but their chance meeting leads to a partnership on a geography project visiting Indiana roadside oddities. Their friendship grows into a sweet romance, and Violet feels invigorated—she starts feeling engaged with her life and even takes up writing again, something she gave up after her sister died. Despite Finch’s desperate desire, their burgeoning love is not enough to solve his wild, emotional ups and downs, behavior that’s not called what it is—bipolar disorder—until very late in the novel. Niven’s first novel for teens tackles a big topic with sensitivity (suicide-prevention resources are included), and teens will likely swoon over Finch and Violet’s doomed oddball romance. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With an author tour, a major promotional campaign, and a film adaptation already in the works, publishers are banking on Niven’s YA debut to be a hit. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2014 Gr 10 Up—Violet Markey is on the ledge of her school's bell tower, six stories up, and frozen in terror. Theodore Finch, the Freak, stands on the ledge nearby. Before she can panic, he calms her down and gets her back on solid ground. He even lets everyone think she's the one who talked him out of jumping. Violet, until recently, was a popular cheerleader and Finch has a well-earned reputation for being manic, violent, and unpredictable. But Finch won't let their encounter rest. He's suddenly everywhere Violet goes and even signs her up as his partner on a "Wander the State" school project. As the two drive around Indiana, Violet begins to see the lame tourist attractions through Finch's eyes, and each spot becomes something unique and special. He pushes and challenges the protagonist, and seems to understand the effect her sister's death made on her. But though Violet begins to recover from the devastating grief that has cocooned her for almost a year, Finch's demons refuse to let go. The writing in this heartrending novel is fluid, despite the difficult topics, as Niven relays the complex thought processes of the two teens. Finch and Violet, with their emotional turmoil and insecurities, will ring true to teens. Finch in particular will linger in readers' minds long after the last page is turned. Give this to fans of Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park (St. Martin's Pr., 2013), John Green's The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton, 2012), or Jennifer Hubbard's The Secret Year (Viking, 2010).—Heather Miller Cover, Homewood Public Library, AL - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2015 After the car crash that claimed her sister’s life, a guilty and grieving Violet is drawn to the top of the school’s bell tower, possibly to jump. Fortunately, Finch is already up there; contemplating suicide is something of a hobby for him, if for no other reason that it reminds him that he’s still alive. Finch talks Violet down and reverses the situation for the gossip mill so that Violet can be the hero who saved the weird guy’s life. Partnered on a class project, they embark on a relationship that proves therapeutic for both of them, as Finch helps Violet overcome her fear of being in a car and taking risks, and she helps Finch realize that he’s lovable. Their love story echoes that of Hazel and Gus (The Fault in Our Stars, BCCB 5/12), with Finch playing the manic pixie dream boy to Violet’s moody intellectualism, but it’s clear to readers that his mania is neither a choice nor a pose, and that what he calls being “asleep” is really a depressive episode on his undiagnosed bipolar roller coaster. His persistent fascination with famous suicides and suicide statistics provides ample foreshadowing as to where this is going, but to Niven’s credit, the story never breaks sympathy with nor champions Finch’s decision and thus ends up with a strong but subtle message that Finch’s death is the result of a disease. Ultimately, the book, with narration that alternates between Finch and Violet, becomes Violet’s story of survival and recovery, affirming the value of loving deeply, grieving openly, and carrying your light forward. KC - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.