Violet Markey and Theodore Finch don't really know each other until they meet in an unexpected place: the bell tower at their school. They are both contemplating jumping off the tower, 6 stories above the ground. Violet is coping with the loss of her sister; Finch (as he is called) is dealing with suicidal ideation. After talking one another out of jumping, they become partners for a school project.
For the "Wander the State" project, they have to explore different sites around Indiana. In the process, they also begin to develop romantic feelings for one another. Although things seem to be looking up for Violet, Finch continues a downward spiral and is ultimately expelled from school. He runs away and leaves cryptic notes that send Violet to the placees they hadn't gone to for their project. Then there is a last note. Finch sends a goodbye message to people he knows and cares about. The note deeply troubles Violet, but she learns too late that she was right in her suspicion about where Finch committed suicide. Violet feels guilty for his death, but with support from her friends and a song that Finch left her, she is able to not blame herself and move on with the next chapter of her life.
BTSYA / Teen Reader (16):
All the Bright Places captures the essence of of two teenagers trying to find something that will give them peace and tranquility. It is so well written that you can imagine yourself in the places with these characters and Violet's and Finch's emotions when they are going through a breakdown. The story also sheds light on mental health issues. One's mental health can't be fixed just by meeting someone. The story effectively shows the darkness and dangers of depression and bipolar disorder, making it clear that these issues aren't something that should be romanticized. I appreciate that the last few pages of the book are dedicated to different hotlines and numbers you can call if you are experiencing depression, grief, or anything else.
The story is very touching with important messages everyone should hear. But it is for teens in high school or older. I recommend buying this as a gift because even when you know the ending, it is a book you will want to read many times. You'll never get tired of it.
The plot contains profanity, sexual references, and suicide
This is a realistic fiction novel about teens who, dealing with painful issues, become friends.
There is a lot to explore in All the Bright Places. The subjects are difficult, but important: grief and loss, mental health, suicidal ideation, and the impact of community judgement/beliefs on one's state of being.
15 and Up
15 and Up
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16
Buy. For yourself and for a friend.