All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven


All the Bright PlacesAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Publication Date: January 6, 2015 by Random House Children’s Books

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

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.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!

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.

Warning: I did my best to write a review without spoilers. I’m not sure if I gave anything away, so read at your own risk. But you can read these reviews from my blogger friends if you’re scared to read mine:

Late December 2014, when I read the Twitter convo of Ate Jesselle (The Lifelong Bookworm) and Ate Dianne (Oops! I Read A Book Again), I asked them about the book they’re talking about. They told me that it’s All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. They told me that I should read it and have a pack of tissues beside me. I knew what that meant, so I looked the book up.

Aside from it’s lovely cover, the summary of All the Bright Places looked promising. I tried getting an e-ARC of the book, and Jennifer did her best to help me, but unfortunately, due to age restrictions in NetGalley, I wasn’t able to get an e-ARC of the book.

I was with my mom and Tita Jenny (a family friend) when we went to Marquee Mall to have lunch and do some shopping. It was January 6–the release day of the book, and I ran to Fully Booked to check if they already have copies.

They have just one copy, and I feel so lucky and blessed to have it!

I told myself that I have to prepare for this book, I have to read without any distraction. So I planned a reading date with this book, at a nearby Starbucks store, on January 13.

The day came. When I realized that I forgot my phone at home and I forgot to bring a ballpen, I panicked. I thought I’ll be stuck with my thoughts begging to be written. But thank God, I found an old red ballpen inside my backpack. And it still works! I also have two sheets of bond paper to write on, so I opened the book and started reading.

The first scene instantly reminded me of Titanic, except that Jack only wanted to save Rose, and not jump off himself. The Titanic feels gave these initial feels of tragedy, but then again, Ate Jesselle’s warning already implied tragedy in the book. I already had a feeling on what’s gonna happen. And I hate that I was right.

The summary tells us that All the Bright Places is “The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor & Park.” It’s true, so true that it hurts.

But before we go to the painful parts, let us first look at the happy parts.

I love Violet so much because she’s a writer. I can totally relate to her whenever she says something about writing. Finch is so adorable, too. He writes songs and his ideas are fun and unique and he’s witty. I like how he took his relationship with Violet from schoolmates to best friends to lovers. THEY ARE TOO CUTE! 🙂 The adventures that they had were so awesome that I envy them. They are fearless, imaginative, and real. They’re very real people.

I liked other characters, too. Charlie reminded me of Isaac (TFiOS) and I eventually liked Amanda even if I hated her so much at the start.

You know, bookish friends, people and their facades are just too complicated that it becomes interesting to figure out what’s real and what’s just for show.

What I like best about this book is that it’s written from the heart. Read Jennifer’s Author’s Note to know more.

There were too many quotes that I can’t share them all because this post would be too long. I’d talk about my favorites (there were A LOT of them) later. I need to share my thoughts on the *cough, cough* not-so-happy parts. OKAY. THEY’RE PAINFUL PARTS.

I feel kinda awful for being judgmental with some characters. I didn’t know what they were going through. You see, All the Bright Places is not just about Finch and Violet and their love story. It’s so much more than that–you’ll understand what I mean when you read the book.

If you’ve read Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (you should–but only after you read All the Bright Places, because you’ll be spoiled!) you’ll have a better understanding of what happened (I’m referring to the tragedy here, friends) and a question will be left on your mind to forever think about, and maybe, cry over.

(Don’t judge me for the next things that I’m gonna say. It’s not like I don’t have a heart or something–in fact I have a heart, one’s that’s crushed, shattered, and has band-aids all over, so yeah. Maybe I became a little immune to this kind of pain–because after A Walk to Remember, The Fault in Our Stars, and Me Before You, okay, I’ll stop there…)

All the Bright Places did not make me cry. Maybe it’s because it’s just like TFiOS. It didn’t make me cry while reading it. Maybe it’s because all reviews that I’ve read said that the book will make me cry. Maybe my tears refused to flow because I have been warned. But if you look at my copy, there were lots of marked pages–and parts of pages. That means the book knew what I needed–a story that would make me feel that someone understands.

Honestly, I feel weird because tears didn’t flow. But then I thought, did they have to? I mean, does a book have to crush your heart for it to be special?

NO. Maybe I didn’t cry over All the Bright Places because it wasn’t meant to make me cry. Maybe it was meant to make me feel that I don’t have to cry, because there are bright places.

It’s so painful to lose someone who saved you, but it’s more painful to know that you weren’t able to save someone who saved you. Somehow, this painful feeling is similar to what I felt in Me Before You. It’s torture, what the characters had to endure. I won’t fully understand how they felt, but I have an idea because I’ve been there.

I have an idea of how it feels like to lose someone who saved you. The loss happened in a different way, a lighter one compared to the loss that ___ and ___ had to face in their respective stories. It left me in the dark, that feeling. And if I already felt that way with the kind of loss that I had to face, what more with ___ and ___?

I remember that I kept on asking why. I kept on asking myself, “Why did I have to lose someone who saved me from doom? Why did I have to lose someone who made me feel that I won’t be alone anymore? Why did I have to lose someone who meant so much to me?”

But then, another saving moment came. Someone brought back the smile that I thought I’ve lost forever. I was saved from the never-ending pain that came from losing someone who saved me.

I never thought that I’d see a genuine smile on my face in spite of everything that’s happening to me at that time. The smile wasn’t my best, but it’s my happiest.

I might lose that someone, too. But now I know that if that happens, one day, I’ll be saved again–by something, someone, anything, anyone, I don’t know. I might go through dark times again, but now I know that I’ll always find my way back. I’ll always see the light. People come and go for reasons, as they say. But they will always leave something on you.

I won’t rate this book because I can’t. But I will give it 5 stars on Goodreads so more people would notice it and read it. I can’t rate this book for a reason that I myself don’t understand. I just know that Jennifer Niven wrote something that I’ll think about for a long time, something that made its mark on my heart.

Tears are not the only signs of pain. Heartfelt reviews are signs of pain, too. Yes, I did not cry while reading All the Bright Places, but you will never fully understand how much this book has made me feel.

Jennifer Niven did not write a story that made me cry. She wrote a story that made me feel thankful for being alive and still seeing a bright place in every dark corner.

Quotes…feels…quotes…pain…quotes…love. Much, much, love.

(I won’t include the names of the characters, because you might get spoiled…)

By the way, it’s apparently true that you’ll never use it in the real world. Math, I mean.

HA. I laughed a little upon reading this quote. I hope you did, too. You know, to take a break from all the…pain.

Because we all have to die someday. I just want to be prepared.

I have a similar quote, from my novel, Again. It goes like this: “We all die anyway. It’s just a matter of when.”

I mean, it’s true, isn’t it?

I’ll leave it at that.

It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting.

There is pain among these words. Filipinos refer to this as #Hugot–something that perfectly captures one’s feelings, something that is perfectly relatable. #ItIsAHugotThing

The great thing about this life of ours is that you can be someone different to everybody.

Someone can see you as their hero, or their special friend, or someone who meant the world to them. It’s amazing, how you can be a different person to some people when you’re just you.

I think there are places we can go that need to be seen. Maybe no one else will ever visit them or appreciate them or take the time to think they’re important, but maybe even the smallest places mean something.

I think the same thing goes for people. No matter how big or small you think you are, you need to be seen, appreciated, and thought to be important.

Life is made up of too many rules as it is.

BOOM–this is so true that sometimes I want to let my rebellious side out. We all have rebellious sides. We all have that urge to defy the rules. But we have to be responsible enough to know when to speak up and when to shut up.

You of all people should know we’re only guaranteed right now.

Live in the present, no more what ifs. #MottoOfTheYear

I learned that there is good in this world, if you look hard enough for it.

This is very inspiring. Very inspiring.

Do whatever it takes to remind myself that I’m still here and I still have a say.

That’s the spirit, dear.

I know life well enough to know you can’t count on things staying around or standing still, no matter how much you want them to. You can’t stop people from dying. You can’t stop them from going away. You can’t stop yourself from going away either.

One of the harsh truths of this world that needs to be shared to everyone.

The problem with people is they forget that most of the time, it’s the small things that count.

Good thing I’m good with remembering details.

I know you’re mad and disappointed, but I love ___ and ___ saved me. You can tell me later how unhappy you are with me and how I’ve let you down but right now I need to do what I can to make sure ___ be okay.

I left blanks because it will give away who’s the who. This is called acknowledging what you’ve done wrong but fighting for love.

You can’t do this to me. You were the one who lectured me about living. You were the one who said I had to get out and see what was right in front of me and make the most of it and not wish my time away and find my mountain because my mountain was waiting, and all that adds up to life.

THIS. IS. SO PAINFUL. I WONDER HOW I’LL FEEL WHEN I HEAR THESE LINES BEING SAID IN THE MOVIE. The movie has to have these lines. So please, movie makers, include these lines. I think I’ll die inside if these lines didn’t make it.

We can’t go backward. We can’t change anything that happened.

That’s why we need to leave the past behind, to keep the future ahead, and just live in the present. Live in the present, live in the present, live in the present. I wake up every morning and tell myself to live in the present simply because I have to.

It’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.

‘Nuff said. This quote speaks for itself.

Favorite quote:

You start here.

Three words. Just three words. It’s painful and hopeful at the same time; it marks the end to what happened and the start of what will happen. There are new beginnings. There are new doors. If you have to start somewhere, why not start here? In the now? You start here, you start living your life now.

Three words may seem short, but believe it or not, of all the lines in All the Bright Places, those three words are have the strongest potential to make me cry. Because all my life, I’ve been through a lot of endings. Various kinds of endings, with varying levels of pain with them. And the bookish song below, Photograph by Ed Sheeran, to me, it means starting again even after the hardest ending that you have to go through. It’s not my best bookish song ever, but it is, without any doubt, my most heartfelt bookish song ever.

YOU START HERE. Those three words hold a promise of hope for tomorrow, even if today had brought a lot of tears to you. Those three words will keep me going, I know it.

I will forever love Jennifer Niven for writing those three words.

All the Bright Places made it to my “Books that Mean a Lot to Me” shelf on Goodreads. Of course it made it to that shelf–there’s no way it wouldn’t.

Mileventwelve’s Bookish Songs for All the Bright Places:

Jennifer has different playlists for All the Bright Places, but what got me the most is Violet’s. Especially that one song that is very dear to my heart–so dear that I decided to sing it for this book. (Yes, that song is Photograph by Ed Sheeran, and yes, that song was the one on loop when I lost that someone who saved me. #IKnowItIsPainful)

Photograph by Ed Sheeran

“Loving can heal, loving can mend your soul…”

The Reason by Hoobastank

“And the reason is you…”

There is a bright place in every dark corner.

Signature II

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12 thoughts on “All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

  1. I did not cry too while reading All the Bright Places. Maybe because I was expecting it already but when I finished it I was actually asking myself… which part are they talking about when they said that I’m gonna cry reading this? Did I read the same book? (Disclaimer: I’m not heartless) But honestly, I just realized why I didn’t cry. I think it’s because I was mad at Finch about what he’d done, I was asking WHY? Why does he have to do that to himself and to Violet? Then I realized one thing. I was being selfish. I was only focusing on Violet’s POV but what about Finch’s missing POV’s? What was on his mind. Ok, anyway, that just a piece of my mind. Overall, ATBP win in making readers realize things that we tend to overlook about our lives and ourselves.

    1. This comment is so honest. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for making me feel that I’m not the only one who didn’t cry.

      Tears are not the only indicators of pain. AtBP is still one of the best. ❤

  2. I haven’t seen that first scene as Titanic but now that you’ve mentioned it, I realized that it does resemble Titanic. Anyway, I agree that one of the most painful things is to not be able to save someone who saved you. That breaks my heart every time. Whenever I encounter things like that, the idea of not being enough resounds in my head and it’s just too sad. This book is really deep and it might not have overwhelmed me like the other books but Jennifer is really lovely to have written this.

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