All the Bright Places / Jennifer Niven
Back when I started seeing reviews for My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga, I was incensed at the fact that YA books seemed to be finding dangerous ways to make light of something as serious as teen suicide. I said that I will never read this book because reading about one suicidal teen is bad enough, but reading about two of them will make me feel even more helpless. Hopeless. I cannot grapple with the fact that kids around the world are probably making such a pact with each other. Days later, this happened in my hometown. Shit just got real.
I have no idea what I was in for when I finally decided to read this book. I knew it made a lot of people cry. I also knew the characters met on a ledge with suicide in their minds. I’ve never given much thought as to how it would end, so I didn’t have any warning when I got to that part. My heart was beaten to a bloody pulp; slivered into a million pieces. This is the kind of book that inspires poetry. Unfortunately, I don’t quite have the words for it.
People saw Finch and they only saw a freak. Because he said the oddest of things and he did what he wanted to do. He dressed like a how he felt, and did things that made him, “Finch”. But when Violet looked at him, she saw a brilliant boy. A boy whose mind raced at its own speed that it seemed like every other part of him struggled to keep up. No one saw that side of Finch, however. No one saw the terrifyingly manic boy. The one who couldn’t seem to sit still. Most of the time, the world seemed to be too small to contain him. Everyone saw a different Finch. The one who struggled to breathe day in and day out was never in attendance. Violet was the only who saw him for what he was. And that’s because they’re kindred spirits in some ways.
Violet has her demons to slay. It seems so cruel for these two kids to meet at that place. And at the same time, righfully providential. How could one broken person mend another when they’re barely pieced together themselves?
This book wasn’t written in the prettiest of proses. It was meant to speak at a level that could resonate with readers who needed it the most. Because of this book, I’ve recanted my aversion to My Heart and Other Black Holes. Perhaps more for understanding as to how kids so young can feel like there’s nothing to look forward to in their futures.
GOODREADS SUMMARY | Knopf | 386 pp. | January 6th, 2015 | Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars