Home / Book Review / Heart-Breaking Read | Book Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Heart-Breaking Read | Book Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places will break your heart. It’s up for you to decide if its in a good or bad way…

Book Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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all the bright places jennifer niven book review

Title & Author: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary, Romance, Mental Illness

Release Date: January 6, 2015

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Knopf

How I Got the Book: ARC via publisher


“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.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.”

An Outlier

All the Bright Places was a beautifully written story. It’s both dark and buoyant and sad but light.

It’s a book to be emotionally prepared for. Please believe me when I say there is A LOT to break your heart in this story. I hate spoilers, so I’ll stop there but just be ready for it.

As it’s mentioned in the description above, Violet and Finch both meet at the top of their school’s bell tower on the worst days of their lives…until they sort of save each other from jumping.

I really, really wanted to like this book more than I did. I just didn’t connect with the characters. There is a lot of emotional turmoil in the story – the main characters Violet and Finch have both endured a lot of hardships already in their young lives – and yet I felt like the book only scratched the surface in some respects.

There’s certainly depth to this story, don’t get me wrong. Both characters are complex and well-written but the emotion of the story isn’t tied between them. Things are sort of handled in an isolated type of way, separate from each other.

This might not be making any sense if you haven’t already read All the Bright Places, and I’m sorry, but I’ll leave it at this: This book was just ok for me, but I am very, very alone in that feeling.

Which I understand and realize that I might be an outlier. When this happens I always list some second opinions:

“I’ve already marked All the Bright Places as a favorite for 2015.” – Rather Be Reading

“I highly recommend All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. It’s one of the first books I read in 2015 but I know it will remain one of my top for the year.” – YA Bibliophile


Ultimately, this book was not my favorite. I saw what was going to happen at the end from the very beginning and my heart could barely take it. I’m comfortable in saying that although this story wasn’t for me, I think it has so much value and insight and that many other readers would enjoy.

There is a lot to like about this book – the way things are described and how Violet and Finch express themselves through words is simply lovely. And, I think some might see themselves reflected back in All the Bright Places, which is a wonderful thing because they will know they’re not alone.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • I have heard great things about this book. Guess what works for some doesn’t work for others, right? 🙂 I can’t wait to read this one.

  • Kayla @ The Thousand Lives

    I loved seeing this, because part of me agrees with you! But it’s that last thing you said – about seeing myself in the story – that made me give it a higher rating despite the few gripes I had with it.