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Book Review: All the Bright Places

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By Joanna Shaw

This book was advertised in January as “the young adult book that everyone should read”, and in some cases, I believe that statement to be true.

Violet is a girl caught up in grief over the death of her sister and Finch is a troubled boy debating suicide. Finch first encounters Violet on their school roof as she is contemplating jumping too, however they are convinced to come down and are later set a school project. Together they embark on a road trip to discover the local places and treasures of Indiana but as Finch’s obsession with death and his lingering depression pushes him to the limit, how far will Violet go to help him see the bright moments in life?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it gives you a different perspective of how teenagers and young adults are affected by grief and mental health issues. There are some heart-warming moments between Violet and Finch; however they are enclosed within a rather dark and unfortunate plot of defeating inner demons. I understand how this book has been compared to the writing of John Green (author of The Fault in Our Stars) as Niven adopts the technique of appealing to both young and old readers. The descriptions of the places the couple visit, such as the train carriage turned book shop, will make the reader want to purchase a ticket to Indiana and embark on their own meaningful journey!

Even though there are some truly upsetting moments within this novel such as Finch’s obsession with death and suicide statistics, the overall feel of the book encourages young people to speak out about their issues and raises awareness as to how someone seemingly normal could be struggling.

Joanna Shaw is a second year English and Film Student and loves nothing more than a good book. Follow her on twitter @booklifereads and on GoodReads

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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