NYT Bestseller list from Jan.-Aug. 2016
Niven, J. (2015). All the bright places. New York: Knopf.
All the Bright Places is a story of love, loss, depression, redemption, and inner demons. It is a unique story with such realistic elements the text could be used in a history or geography class. The story peaks interest in local destinations and encourages readers to look for hidden gems in their area. The odds of two broken teenagers coming together to make each other whole doesn’t seem likely, however, that is exactly what happens. Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the top of the school bell tower and before they know it, they have partnered on a school project and find themselves falling in love. Violet, who fears riding and driving in cars since her sister’s death, is on and upward stretch after meeting Theodore, who seems completely wrong for her, but feels 100% right. Theodore doesn’t seem to fight his personal ghosts as easily even though Violet is willing to do whatever it takes to help him.
Commentary and Text Connections:
Niven creates a romance so fresh and funny. The journey to, through, and past tragedy is romantic and heartbreaking, as characters and readers confront darkness, joy, and the possibilities of love in the face of mental illness. At the heart of All the Bright Places lies a charming love story about this unlikely and endearing pair of broken teenagers. The writing in this heartrending novel is fluid, despite the difficult topics. Ultimately, the book, with narration that alternates between Finch and Violet, becomes Violet’s story of survival and recovery, affirming the value of loving deeply, grieving openly, and carrying your light forward.