All The Bright Places by Jennifer Naven
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.
I don’t even know where to begin this one. Probably by telling you that it got me right in the feels and broke my heart and made me cry – and like the good sadist that I am, I loved this book.
I went in not really knowing what it was all about – didn’t even read the description before starting it. I found out about this book from the recommendation of a trusted friend so I went in blind. I’ll spare you the pain [in case you skipped the summary above] – it’s about mental illness. One of the main characters suffers from bipolar disorder and the other has survivor’s guilt mixed in with depression. The two become friends in an unlikely place – the ledge of a building in their school.
At times the friendship and overall relationship between Finch and Violet felt… forced? I kept thinking, in a real high school, even in those circumstances would these two actually become friends and start a relationship? And the answer was, “I don’t know. Maybe.” However, as the book went on, I could see how the two connected.
As a YA book, I kind of didn’t expect it to be ‘real’ and deal with the realities of dealing with mental illnesses, I thought “surely this will end in puppies and rainbows”. Nope, nope, nope – and it gutted me. BUT IT WAS SO GOOD. The pain was worth it, my friends, so worth it.