Review: ‘All the Bright Places’ captivates readers in grand adventure


Maya Contreras

‘All The Bright Places’ by Jennifer Niven features adventure, heartache and romance. The book can be found in the school’s ‘The Nest.’ “I read this book in two days and immediately bought Jennifer Niven’s next book,” writer and junior Maya Contreras said. “I love the alternate point of views between each character which gives a detailed insight on their personality.”

Book Summary

Violet Markey is a studious girl with a knack for writing. She is smart, ambitious and well-balanced. Counting down the days until graduation can’t seem to come sooner as she grieves the loss of her older sister. It is with the help of her friend Amanda that the days seem to be more bearable. Violet was never looking for company until she met Theodore Finch on the ledge of the school bell tower.

Theodore Finch is adventurous and impulsive, but ultimately consumed with the thought of dying for a free mind. Known by his classmates as ‘Theodore Freak,’ it is easy for him to slip out of school and go unnoticed for weeks. Nevertheless, afraid of his own self, Finch manages to find ways to stay alive each day. It is in his periods of being ‘Awake’ and ‘Asleep’ where Finch struggles to have something that makes him want to stay alive, until he meets Violet.

In an attempt to save one another from stepping over, Violet suddenly becomes the hero and is praised for her bravery by her peers.

What started with a group history project would allow each to open up to one another and find peace within themselves. It is together that Finch finds joy in looking into the future while being himself, and Violet no longer counts the days in which she can escape because now she lives them. 


Personal Opinion

“All The Bright Places” is the kind of book that compels you to look from a different perspective. Jennifer Niven is a talented writer who takes her audience on a journey through each of her books. Allowing her audience to gain knowledge by having them travel through the minds of her characters is her greatest strength. The minds of each character are so completely opposite from one another, which makes for a great story line.

What I loved most about this book was being able to experience it through the eyes of two different characters, each with opposing outlooks. Not only was being able to experience their own separate lives thrilling, but traveling with them through each project adventure was the highlight of this book. Niven does an excellent job of tying each landmark to one another for an unexpected ending.

Along with popular belief, my favorite character would have to be Finch. His character gave the audience a different perspective on what it means to be free and making sure you have something or someone to live for. An insight to his homelife and his own thoughts captivated my sympathy towards him, but in the end it was his character development that gained my vote. 

Violet Markey played a great role in helping Finch be his true self, but it wasn’t until the end of the book where I truly started to understand her character. My least favorite aspect to her character was that there was no development. Throughout the book she gains back the confidence and personality she lost in the beginning. Though, Niven does teach us not every character needs to be developed to have a great meaning.

Although both characters have certain features to their personalities I could relate to, I found myself to relate most with Amanda. Amanda is a friend of Violet’s who seemed to have it all, but outside of school, she struggles with her own problems. It is the familiar feeling of blocking out your own troubles from the rest of the world that captures the audiences and my own attention.

Overall, this book was a great way to show the progression of two broken teenagers, who both hope to heal their being by living in the present. Smooth transitions between the perspective of each character bring the book to life.

‘All The Bright Places’ is now a movie, available to watch on Netflix. The book itself has over half a million book sellings and has won the Goodreads Choice Awards Best Young Adult Fiction.

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