All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven

This book definitely snuck up on me, which doesn't happen often. I spent the majority of it not really knowing exactly where it was going or how things would end.

 

Violet was a really great female protagonist. She had been through some intense stuff at the beginning of the book. And by the end she went through much more. But she grew so much throughout the course of this story. She really came into her own and figured out who she was as a person rather than relying on other people to sort of form her self identity. By the end, both she and the reader have a very clear sense of how far she's come and who she really is. This definitely saved this book in my eyes.

 

Finch's character seemed to be a bit too much of a caricature, which made it really hard to emotionally connect with him and his story. There's eccentric and out there, and then there's this. I enjoy representations of different types of complex characters in contemporary YA. That said, it seems like many of these characters could be the same person. So while I appreciate authors wanting to show male characters that aren't necessarily the all-American type or the jock type, there are other types besides seemingly inexplicably eccentric. Then to depict basically the same character you'll find in every contemporary today and indicate that mental illness is a factor was kind of bizarre.

 

I will admit that I was caught off guard by what happened. There were many hints that it was coming. MANY HINTS. Yet I was still surprised. I was sort of hoping the story wasn't leading there. But the subject of mental illness is a very delicate and necessary one. Particularly these days.

 

Overall this wasn't bad. It dealt with some relevant and intense issues. But it read too much like an interpretation of other books/characters and came off really unoriginal.