Writer: Maram Mohammed
Editor: Abdullah Sobhi
All the Bright Places – Book Review
I am very much aware how rare it is for me to write a book review; in fact, I have never actually written one except for a shitty English project that I had to do (which by the way, I totally winged). Yet, there is just something about this book, something that made me write this the second I read the last sentence. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is one of those books that just have you hooked the second you read the first sentence. You simply gravitate toward it, and you can never go back. I love it when a book manages to have this effect on me, especially because it has been so long since I felt this way.
This is not going to be your ordinary, next-door book review. This is going to be the review that leaves you questioning what is about to come next, and why in the world this psychotic girl is being so passionate about a book you’ll probably never read. But here is the thing, the objective here is to make you read it.
The book starts with a question that leaves you a little breathless, ‘is today a good day to die?’
And that, my friends, is how our main character, and the most interesting to ever exist, Theodore Finch, is introduced into this new world of ecstasy. Our beloved eccentric, poetic and mastermind Finch is standing on a 6-story high ledge, contemplating whether today is the day, enjoying the sense of freedom it gives him, and wondering if this is the ideal way to die. He doesn’t care that he is currently in his pretty shitty highschool, nor that he will probably get into a shit ton of trouble if his counselor found out. That’s when he sees her, Violet, our other main character. It is unclear who saves whom, and it is even more fascinating when they team up on a school project to explore the ‘natural wonders’ of their state. As Finch says, “where the road takes us: the grand, the small, the bizarre, the beautiful, the ugly, the surprising- just like life”. The story takes off from there, and because I believe in clean, brief reviews, I am going to try and not to dive into more detail.
The plot is beautiful, emotional, different, poetic, dark, light, humorous and so much more. The characters feel real, their words are marvelous, and they catch you when you least expect it. The way they think, the way they interact with one another and how all of that contributes to the climax is simply the definition of a masterpiece. I know that I sound very biased, but trust me, you’ll only understand once you devour the content within the pages of said book.
Theodore and Violet are two characters who went through very unfortunate events. Theodore is your typical ‘Freak’ as his fellow high schoolers prefer to label him. Not to mention, Theodore fucking hates labels, which makes him a little bit easier to fall in love with. The things roaming around his head are chaotic to say the least. He is the alternative outlook on life you never thought you needed to acknowledge. He is optimistic when he wants to be, a little crazy if he feels like it, ‘lovely’ like he likes to call it, or maybe even your stereotypical British dude even though he is a 100% American.
Violet, on the other hand, is everything he is not the first time you glance her way. She is the goody-two-shoes everyone loves,the popular girl who is known for her good grades, perfect manners and infinite supply of smiles. But here is the thing, she is not. And you get to explore that once you start reading. She is sad, a little traumatized and still mourning things she can’t have.
Now, imagine a world where both prodigies intertwine? Yeah, magical.
I would brutally say that this is your very cliché book, with even more cliché events, but I would be straight up lying. I won’t turn into a hypocrite and say that I hate clichés, because I don’t. But all jokes aside, All the Bright Places is a guaranteed non-cliché book and you’re going to thank me for even suggesting it.
To keep things short, All the Bright Places is a novel that explores adventure, sadness, love, dangerous thoughts and soaring phenomena. This is a heart-wrenching, unflinching story of love shared, life lived, and two teens who find one another while standing on the edge. It is the kind of adrenaline you need to experience and the emotion-initiator that you never thought existed. It is your next favorite book on that list of yours.