Book Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Genre(s): Young Adult

Plot: [from Goodreads] 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.


  • Books. about. depression. are. important.
  • Not everyone can be saved, and this book proves that
  • Violet and Finch play well off of each other
  • How fricking cute is this cover?


  • Finch. I can’t stand him as a singular character
  • I was disappointed by how it ended
  • There was a lot of hype behind this book and I just didn’t feel it at first

Favorite Quotes: 

  • “It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.”
  • “The problem with people is they forget that most of the time it’s the small things that count.”
  • “I do my best thinking at night when everyone else is sleeping. No interruptions. No noise. I like the feeling of being awake when no one else is.”
  • “Because its not a lie if its how you feel.”

My Thoughts: In a word: conflicted. This book was pitched to me by friends, who all said, “It’ll change your life!”, “It’ll wreck you!”, “It’ll leave you empty inside.” Only the latter was true. But it wasn’t the “wow, this book was incredible, I need some time to recover” empty. It was just, “Wow, all that lead-up just for that ending?” I was disappointed by this book at first. But the more I thought about it, the more it grew on me. I think it’s great that more and more young adult authors are steering clear of cancers and other physically visible illnesses and and addressing depression and other mental illnesses in a way that many teens (and young adults, and not-so-young adults) can relate to. That’s great. But I feel like this book maybe didn’t go about that the right way? Or maybe it did. I dunno. What I got from this book was this: you can try your hardest to save someone, to help them out of their struggles and to be the light in their darkness, but if they don’t want your help then your effort was all for nothing anyway. Which isn’t necessarily a positive message, but it was a true message nonetheless. This book was good, but it wasn’t life changing or anything like I thought it was going to be. Apparently it’s being made into a movie starring Elle Fanning, and I have a feeling it’ll be one of those movies that I like better than the book.

Jennifer Niven

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