As a blogger, every year I witness a few young adult novels come and throw the whole book blogging community into pandemonium. I was told before your novel was even released, that All the Bright Places would be one of them.
The hype surrounding your debut is pretty big, which is always somewhat daunting. I hate comparisons but All the Bright Places has been compared to the likes of The Fault In Our Stars (my favourite novel), so of course I was interested by that. I was promised tears, emotion, feels and heartache, and I went on that journey hook line and sinker.
The two main characters you’d created, Violet Markey and Theodore Finch, stood out. They’re both total opposites, yet are united that day on the school bell tower, where they both contemplated suicide. Their lives about to be changed forever, little did they know. Being in dual perspective it gave me the perfect chance to get to know both of your protagonists and it was a pleasure.
“You know what I like about you, Finch? You’re interesting. You’re different. And I can talk to you. Don’t let that go to your head.”Finch is perhaps one of the most memorable characters in Young Adult fiction. He’s lived life a misfit, constantly misunderstood, and getting in trouble. For the first half of the book, the only adjective I could think of for Finch was interesting. But as the book went on so many more were added to the list.
… “You know what I like about you, Ultraviolet Remarkey-able? Everything.”
See, while Finch is constantly haunted by inner demons and dark periods in his life, he also has one of the most exciting and refreshing perspectives on living. A perspective that changed mine, he impacted not only Violet but me. I wondered how it was possible someone so bright and wise, whose attitude was so infectious, could be so unhappy? Finch was complex and had much going on underneath the surface, yet he was lovable.
“You make me lovely, and it’s so lovely to be lovely to the one I love.…”Violet and her love of writing, resonated with me. I loved watching her transformation from a lonely, guilty and afraid girl who didn’t want to live a life without her sister, into someone who embraced life and what it mean to live. I felt so proud of her, you must have to.
I have many sisters (one who's called Violet as well) and the thought of losing any of them, breaks my heart. So the pain and self inflicted guilt Violet was going through was unimaginable.
The thing is, when I picked up your book, I had no idea i’d be picking up a book so powerful and raw. I felt all the goddamn feelings, I felt all the feels times ten. I finished the book with a lump in my throat, hands shaky and tears threatening to escape.
Literally as I turned the last page, I had family come over. I couldn’t greet them at the door without apologising, “Hey, how are you? Sorry but I just read the best book but it was so sad and I can’t deal and..”, really I could have gone on forever but they’d just come through the front door and I’d lost my chill.
I could barely eat dinner because my mind was too busy trying to comprehend the words I’d just read that past day. All I could think was, “These people I’m eating with have no idea who Violet and Finch are. They have to know, they have to know their story. THEY HAVE TO READ THIS”.
Your book matters, the characters matter, the story matters and it taught me what matters. All the Bright Places is important and breathtaking, amazing in it’s own accord and for so many reasons. It discusses things that needed to be discussed, the important issues such as mental illness, depression and suicide weren’t shied away from. Because of it’s brutal honesty it draws focus to the seriousness of these issues and the people who deal with them daily. All the Bright Places raises much needed awareness.
“What if life could be this way? Only the happy parts, none of the terrible, not even the mildly unpleasant. What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good? This is what I want to do with Violet - give her only the good, keep away the bad, so that good is all we ever have around us.”I think this is one of the only books I’ve read that has had me re-evaluate my view on life. It impacted me mentally and left me feeling bittersweet, both happy and totally heartbroken at the same time. I wanted to end this letter by saying thank you, because your book over the past few days, has become very special to me. As have the characters and the lessons I’ve learnt from it. I will definitely read anything you publish next, your writing is beautiful and you are very talented. But I ask you kindly for the sake of my own fragile heart, to make it less painful. I am not a girl who likes to cry.