I am here today to do a spoiler discussion with the wonderful Lissette over at Lissette's Labyrinth about the recently released book - All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.
Again I warn this post is full of SPOILERS so if you haven't read the book in question you should not read any further!!
Just a little introduction to this book and the author. All The Bright Places is a Young Adult, Contemporary,
Realistic Fiction stand-alone which has been circling book blogs and booktube channels since its release on January 6th 2015. It is the newly published book to Jennifer Niven, who is also the author to the Velva Jean series. Jennifer Niven is a American author and has always had a passion of writing and will continue to do so as she continues to write and get her stories out into the world.
1. What made you pick up this book in the first place?
S - I picked up this book after walking past it just a week before thinking nah, I'm not going to read this book, to actually seeing it everywhere on BookTube and blogs and then when I saw it again in the shop, sai what the heck I'll give it a try.
L - It had gotten a lot of hype on BookTube and I saw on blogs and reviews that everyone who read it loved it. I saw that it was available in my library so I thought might as well see for myself.
2. Did you know much about the plot / theme of the book before going into it?
S - No I didn't. I read the blurb back when I saw it released first (I'll post a picture!!) and then forgot about it for a while to come back and see it on all the blogs and booktube channels, but I'll be honest, every time the book came up, I skipped the bit where people explained what the book was about because I really didn't want to know.
So, long story short I knew the following going into the book - That the story was about Violet and Finch. Violet had lost her sister and Finch wanted to kill himself. And they meet on a bell tower and then there's a school project about I didn't know what at the time and the ever tragic quote on the front of the book 'The story of a girl who learns to live from a boy who wants to die'
L - I knew the theme was mental illness and the plot I knew little about the characters. All I could gather was that it was about two kids named Finch and Violet who were going through something difficult, Finch looking for ways to die and Violet looking for ways to leave her town and move on from her sister's passing.
3. What did you think of the characters Finch and Violet from beginning to end?
S - I liked both characters very much. I connected well with both characters and found them to be very realistic and connectable.
Violet was a character who I sympathised with at the beginning after hearing about her situation. but I also found her to be quite, I don't really know how to explain it, but I didn't like they way she let her sisters death define her and used it as an excuse to stop writing and stop doing school work and practically stop her life. But as the book progressed and as she started to learn how to live again, I really liked the character of Violet.
Finch was someone who was unpredictable. At the beginning he was spontaneous and likeable but as the story progressed it was easy to see that his spontaneous behaviour and character was him trying to erase his identity and him trying to become someone who didn't suffer from depression. I thoroughly loved Finch's character, how he came up with the school project which ultimately did save Violet in the end, even if it did kill him. I loved Theodore Finch to the very end. Simple as.
L - I though Finch and Violet were great character, they were written well. Finch from the beginning, he was unpredictable, moody, a little weird but at the same time very smart. Towards the middle of the book is where you really got see that there was something wrong with him, he acted unrational,indecisive, would get angry easily. In the end, I felt that he was very complex characters but he was just looking for someone to understand him and not judge him. From the beginning, I understood where Violet was coming from, grieving her sister but I didn't like that she didn't even want to put any effort at all to get back into a car or writing even when she was with Finch, she was mean towards him. She kept letting her sister's death take over her life until the middle of the book where she learns to live through Finch's help he helps her get over her fear of being in a car, writing again.
4. Would the story still have had an impact if Finch and Violet had remained close friends?
S - Really thinking about this, I don't think it would have. I had expected Finch not to die. I don't know why, but when he did commit suicide, I was taken by surprise. I guess I was just living in a fairytale world where everything would turn out alright. But it didn't and because of this it held a bigger impact to the book. Perhaps it would have had an impact if Finch lived and they both remained friends but how the story was told gave it a bigger impact in my opinion.
L - I feel like I'm the only one who feel that it still could of because throughout the book Finch and Violet refer to themselves as best friends even when they get together. Also, it reminds me of bridge to terabitha since Jesse and Leslie were best friends while Leslie's death had a great impact on him. I think that if Finch and Violet had remained close friends it would have still be an impact on Violet and she would have learned from it.
5. What did you think of the way the story portrayed mental illness?
S - I found the story to portray mental illness very well. Jennifer Niven captured both the grieving mind and as well as that the way that depression takes hold and how hard it is to get out of. I believed she described depression well in the way Theodore felt and the actions that he took.
L - I thought the story portrayed it in a great way because it shows how anyone can suffer from it and there is always someone that a person can go to when they feel a certain way. I loved how the author dealt with the topics of grief, depression, and suicide because it was portrayed in a way that is realistic and it's topics that not many books talk about because it is a tough subject to discuss.
6. What did you think of Finch's family and why do you think nobody noticed anything?
S - I really didn't have an opinion as such on Finch's family. I don't think they did anything wrong. Well not his mother or sisters anyway, his father, yes. But back to his mother and sisters, many people turn an eye, it's the living truth. People look away from bad situation, especially if its someone they love that's getting hurt. I believe that his mother was feeling bad about the divorce and was more selfish than she should have been and simply looked away. Finch to her was probably just going through a bad patch, a phase, something he'd get over. As to why nobody noticed anything is that Finch hid things very well. He may have stayed to himself, teenage boy, and had acted out before, hormones, and his councillor may have suspected something but Finch laughed it off.
L - I'm not sure what I thought about them because I feel that they were only there when something needed to happen to get the plot moving on. I think that it goes with a person not wanting to seek help because they will be looked at a certain way. With the way Finch's family was, I think that they just felt it was normal because no one had ever brought it to their attention that it wasn't.
7. Why do you think the author decided to make Amanda a person with suicidal thoughts and not reveal this until the middle of the book?
S - I think that the author did this to show that even though people can be popular and well liked, that they can still suffer from depression. It isn't just the sad, lonely people.
L - I think that the author decided to make Amanda a person with suicidal thoughts to show that it can happen to anyone,no matter whether it's a person who's popular, unpopular, or different.
8. Do you think Finch's death could have been prevented?
S - Honestly, I don't think it could have been. I could be wrong but that is just my opinion.
L - I think that if Finch had talked to someone sooner, it may have, but he didn't even want to do that so I don't think so.By the time, he left, nobody did anything not even Violet until he left messages for everyone.
9. What rating did you give this book?
S - I gave this book a 5 Star rating.
L - I gave this book 5 stars
10. Who would you recommend this book for?
S - I would recommend this book for fans of contemporary and realistic fiction. It is a dark topic which is in this book but still I believe that it will touch many people's hearts.
L - I would recommend this book to anyone who likes contemporary that deal with tough subjects, if you like Laurie Halse Anderson's books, you'll love this book.
11. After reading All The Bright Places, will you read another book written by Jennifer Niven?
S - I believe I would read another of Jennifer Niven's books if the blurb caught my attention. I'm usually not a person that just buys books because a particular author wrote them and just buy books if they interest me.
L - I would read another by Jennifer Niven if the blurb of the book catches by interest or if it's recommended by a friend.