Guest Blogger: Emelia, Grade 10
Setting(Time): 21st Century
Setting (Place): Rural Indiana
What would you rate this book: 5 out of 5 Stars
All the Bright Places is an eye-opening novel dealing with mental illnesses. I felt that this captivating book does a very well job of revealing truths about mental illnesses while taking the reader on an emotional journey with the main characters, Theodore Finch and Violet Markey. Through the harsh treatment of Finch by kids at school, the reader is able to read between the lines and see the impact words have on self-image. While Finch never really shows that he is hurt by the cruel nicknames and snide remarks, deep down it affects how he looks at himself; he constantly feels the need to change. Violet, the other protagonist, is also a relatable character to those who have suffered loss in their lives. Altogether, this book is very insightful and speaks of the hard truths of mental illnesses.
The journey of two very different yet similar seniors in high school all begins with an assignment from their teacher to travel around their home state of Indiana. Theodore Finch and Violet Markey are partners during this project which kickstarts their relationship and allows them both to open up about their personal battles. Violet, suffering the aftermath of a family tragedy, and Finch, wrestling with bipolar disorder, find solace in their travels and in each other.
“Do you know that my life is forever changed now? I used to think that was true because you came into it and showed me Indiana and, in doing that, forced me out of my room and into the world. Even when we weren’t wandering, even from the floor of your closet, you showed the world to me. I didn’t know that my life forever changing would be because you loved me and then left, and in such a final way…”
I think that this book is aimed towards a mature teen audience. The protagonists are both in high school and deal with the harshness of it which is a topic teens find relatable. A pleasantly surprising romance grabs hold of the reader without letting go. With each page, it becomes more and more difficult to put the book down. Every teen who enjoys contemporary fiction, books that deal with modern society and facing personal challenges, should read All the Bright Places along with the beautifully written author’s note in the back of the book. Today, mental illnesses continue to affect the lives of many, and this book captures a fictional story of one of these people battling a real disorder.
Want to make a recommendation?
* Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Young Adult Booklists
* New York Times Books Section (links to their Best Seller Lists)
* YALSA Book Awards & Booklists
* YALSA's Teens' Top Ten