Saturday, 24 October 2015

All the Bright Places (Review & Giveaway!)

Hi there!

Title: All the Bright Places
Author:  Jennifer Niven
Publisher:  Penguin Books
Published Date:  6th January 2015
Rating: 4 stars
 
*Thank you to Soudha @ Of Stacks and Cups for the giveaway win!*

Buddy read with Lekeisha @ Lekeisha the Booknerd. You should check out her review of it here!

Synopsis: 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.

Review: The hype for this book was intense. I had seen so many gushing reviews about how emotional this book was and that it led to crazy tears – quite along the lines of The Fault in Our Stars. To be honest, I wasn’t really feeling The Fault in Our Stars which made me a bit nervous when it came to this book, but it was a great read! I was especially looking forward to it after Charnell’s review @ Reviews from a Bookworm.

This novel was told from the dual perspectives of Violet and Finch, who were both hurting in different ways. There was Violet, who had recently lost her older sister in a car crash while she was also in the car, and was suffering grief from that. Then there was also Finch, who was obsessed with death and bullied at school.

Finch was a character I really loved, but could never connect enough with to immerse myself in the story. He was bullied at school because he refused to fit a certain label of what was normal and accept. He was himself, always. I am someone who is strongly against the idea of conformity and it made me so happy to see that, but so sad with how he was treated. He never fought back although he could easily beat up those bullies. I loved what he did for Violet to help her through the grief she was experiencing. Everything he did for himself and for her, was for her benefit.
 
His family was dysfunctional in a completely different way from the usual. His parents were divorced and his mother turned into an uncaring, empty person who was worn out trying to work so many jobs to keep them financially stable. Half the time I wanted to shake her and get her to pay attention to her kids, but at other times you could see how the separation had broken her, and she was struggling to get by herself. Finch’s father who is remarried throughout the book was horrible. He was abusive and he was cruel and I couldn’t stand him. I wasn’t supposed to though, which made it a point to Niven of course.

Violet was a cheerleader and popular girl who couldn’t bear trying to fit in after her death. She’s a writer, a bookworm and a blogger – and even with all those things we had in common (including losing a loved one) I still didn’t get as immersed as I would have liked, like with Finch. She was the character that underwent the most character development as well because there is a steady and substantial difference from herself at the beginning than in the end. I liked that a lot.

Secondary characters were also done quite well in this novel. Brenda and Charlie were Finch’s friends and they were nice enough, but it was the mean girl Amanda who really did develop over the course of the novel.

In this novel the two main characters count their days different. Finch is counting up, from when he was last asleep (what he calls having a very strong depressive period of time where he does literally nothing… it’s like he ceases to exists). So basically he is counting the days he is awake. Violet on the other hand is counting the days down to graduation when she can be done with school. It was interesting to see how their counting changed as time went along.

This book does a wonderful job of showing the differences between depression and grief. I think it depicts both of them so accurately of course, in the case of one person. It shows us what it means to lose someone. It shows us what it means to live – truly live. It shows us what we are worth, what people might remember about us, and ways that we can do good in this world whether it is a big difference or small. It nailed it.

There is a romance in this one which is really sex positive in my opinion, but it is all clean. Any scenes fade out into the next one so we don’t see anything. A clean YA!

One thing you really need to do is read the author’s note for this book. I have recently started doing this, but Jennifer Niven is telling a more personal story than I had believed. This book is based on true events, although how much or how little I couldn’t tell you. Either way, the author’s note is worth the read in this book.

There were plenty of quotes from other authors in this book (and it even made me want to read The Waves by Virginia Woolf, which I am going to do) but I have two that I want to share with you. One an original quote from the book and another is one that the book quoted but I just love either way.

Quotes: “Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places, you’re off and away!” – Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go.

“You are all the colours in one, at full brightness.”

Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Giveaway Time! Enter to win a signed copy of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, open to US/Canada only (sorry International people! Tuesday I have a giveaway open for you too, so hang in there!)

Olivia’s Question: What is one thing that can cheer you up even a little when you are feeling down?

Olivia-Savannah x

38 comments:

  1. Awe...Your review of Finch is so sweet. I think I would really love him as well -- so giving and thoughtful. Depression (especially of the postpartum kind) is often looked upon as a weak man's illness. It's not! I'm glad the book does a "wonderful job" of touching upon that. Great review Olivia.

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    1. He really was a wonderful character and I enjoyed reading about him. I think this book handled the topic incredibly well and put it in a brilliant perspective. I can't wait to read more books by this author.

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  2. I must be out of the mix. I hadn't heard any hype on this book. It sounded good until you said it goes too close along the same lines as TFIOS. Thanks for the great review! :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

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    1. The hype did happen a little while ago - I am a bit slow on the uptake! It was similar, but also very different at the same time :3

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  3. Didn't realize you were posting today!! Let me go and add this link to my post and I'll go ahead and schedule it to post right away. My mind was stuck on the 25th for some reason. Totally agree with your review. I would enter the giveaway, but that would be selfish since I have it already. But who doesn't want a signed copy?!! LOL! It should post within the next few minutes!

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    1. You've been linked up ^.^ I know what you mean... sometimes it is so tempting to enter just to get it signed!

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  4. Oh, I love this review! I bought All The Bright Places a while ago, and I've been meaning to read it. I've heard nothing but good things, and I'm glad that you enjoyed it. Plus, isn't that cover gorgeous? Clearly I need to check this out.

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    1. I hope you can like it just as much as I did when you get to it! It's one well worth your time :) I think the cover really does suit the storyline itself.

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  5. Has Been on My TBR.. Seeing My Grandson Is an instant Pick Me Up... Cozy with a Book as Well...

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    1. I hope you get the chance to read it soon seeing as it is such a wonderful book. Those two things sound like wonderful pick-me-ups :)

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  6. I am so glad to hear you liked this book. I remember seeing it around and I have been curious about it. It is on my list now. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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    1. It's one I think you will really like. Hope you can get to it soon ^.^

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  7. (This book sounds so much like a movie here in India) I really like the sound of the book though, especially discovering the natural wonders. That is always a beautiful journey.
    That second quote is my favorite, something I'm going to remember!

    One thing that can cheer me up, hm. I usually read a book or call up my best friend. Or just watch an animated movie lol

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    1. I loved all the quotes here <3 And this one is actually going to be made into a movie as well. Those sound like pick me ups that I can relate to! Reading or talking with a best friend ^^

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  8. This is a really lovely review, Olivia. I've got a copy of this on my shelf and am pretty excited to start it, although I also have this niggling worry that I mightn't be as into it as others are! It happens, though, and I'm going to give it a go either way. I'm a little dubious about the sex, since I think it can be really good and is important for sex to be properly depicted in YA, but I can understand that individual preferences comes into play in this regard. xx

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    1. I hope you can love it! Don't worry about it too much but do give it some time - it took me a while before I could get completely into this story as well. I know what you mean about the sex portrayal, but I think this one did it fairly well? It still remains a clean read though.

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  9. I'm a little torn when it comes to this book. I've read reviews like yours which are pretty positive and others, which are quite negative and so I don't know what to do especially since it's a YA novel and I know I've been having troubles with them for a while. It looks like a deep read and one that deals with loads of issues which is not something every YA does but at the same time, I'm afraid it isn't greatly done? or at least that was the main issue all negative reviews pointed out. And the problem with this kind of read is that I do know a bit about the issues they talk about and when I see something that isn't correct, I get easily mad. I don't know what I would do about this one but I'm glad you enjoyed it :))
    And when I'm down, I try to listen to music that relaxes me or watch a favourite movie/series ^^

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    1. I know what you mean. I think if you have been feeling iffy with YA for a while then this isn't one for you. I did think it handled the theme of depression and abuse pretty well, but it did very much have a YA feel and if you haven't been enjoying that lately then maybe it is bet to turn it down.

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  10. Very nice review! I still need to read this one and I think I kept putting it off because of the hype. Connecting to the characters is really important to me so I'm a little iffy on this but it sounds like they went through a lot of development in the end.

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    1. I had it for the shortest time and would probably have put it off because of hype if it hadn't been for Lekeisha! You should just go for it anyway. I think you will really like Finch ^.^

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  11. This book still hurts me in ways no other book has. <3

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  12. Finch sounds wonderful Oliva. I like how well done this sounds and I like books with dual perspectives, you really get to know the characters.

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    1. He was a wonderful character and I loved him to bits <3 And yes, the dual perspective worked so well here!

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  13. I'm kinda hesitant to read this book too girl! Probably because it's so...eh.. hyped up? Maybe I'll wait until it all dies down. But anyway, I wasn't a fan of The Fault in Our Stars because of the ending and for the first time I didn't watch the book to movie adaption (and I usually love doing this but...) meh. Sooo, I'm still on the edge about this book girl but I'm glad you enjoyed it so much anyway! I'm glad it's positive and that Dr.Seuss quote=automatic coolness points!♡♡

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    1. I can understand your reasoning. Maybe waiting until it has died down a bit would help you? I am glad Lekeisha suggested a buddy read because it was what I needed to push me to dive into it. I wasn't a fan of TFiOS but for different reasons. I did love the movie adaption though <3 But if that one upset you... I think this one could.

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  14. Thanks for the review. My daughter loved The Fault In Our Stars book and movie. I didn't read the book but watched the movie & didn't think it was that great. This book sounds good and I would love to win it for her. The girl loves to read! :)

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    1. I think it is so nice for you to have entered on the behalf of your daughter. But yes, this book sounds like the kind of thing she would enjoy!

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  15. Wonderful review, so pleased that my review made you excited to read this one yourself. I am happy to see that you enjoyed this one overall. It gave me some amazing quotes as well, ones I absolutely loved. The authors note totally got to me on this one as well.

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    1. I had to read it after seeing how much you absolutely loved this book. The quotes were just amazing DD:

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  16. Sounds like an amazing book. Would love to read.

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  17. I didn't even know about this book. Sounds emotional that's for sure.

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    1. It's really popular and yes, you got that right! Definitely emotional.

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  18. I read the book in the beginning of the year and I loved it!! What I do not like in general is when books are compared with another book like this one was with The Fault in Our Stars so it got immediately branded. But just because it's a sad book with teens, doesn't mean it doesn't have a message to pass on. And it's a message about mental health which is something I deeply care about and think people should change their views when it comes to mental health and the stigma that it's attached to it.

    I am so happy that you read it and enjoyed it.

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    1. I remember reading about how much you liked this one! I know that the comparisons do bother some people - and it should, actually. I know it doesn't bother me but we shouldn't hold up books to other ones. They are individual!

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  19. One to add to my TBR list Olivia, i love reading debut novels and your review made me want to read this one. :)

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    1. I hope you do read this one at some point!

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