021. All The Bright Places

1 June 2015

Told from the perspective of two teenagers, All The Bright Places is a story about two lost souls who find themselves struggling to come to terms with their difficult situations in life, and find a form of comfort in each other as they fall in love.

All The Bright Places has the most original and unique perspective I've read in YA fiction in a long time. It's an engaging story which left me intriguing at the very beginning, and hooked at the very end. It is truly one of the most heartbreaking stories I have ever read - even more than The Fault In Our Stars - and I'm so glad I picked up this book. I urge you to read this novel. All The Bright Places has a very important social message that you need to know and understand as you begin to explore the world around you and meet people from all walks of life. Everybody has their back-stories, their struggles and dramas. Some of these people may even be Theodore Finch in disguise.

Spoiler Alert - please don't read any more of this review, until you've read the book. This is a book worth reading in suspense. Trust me, you'll thank me.

All The Bright Places was a pleasure to read. Not because of it's love story or the infatuation of its characters, but because it is based on something so real and so ignored. Society is surrounded by labels, and often society puts young people, who need the most help in such vulnerable places, that cause them to do the unthinkable. This book illustrates the magnitude of how little signs of immense hardships can become unnoticed in the grand scheme of things. It urges us to pay attention, which speaks volumes our world. This story will be remembered long after the final page.

I absolutely loved the fact that from the very beginning you can see the tell tell signs that Finch has bipolar disorder. It isn't something that comes out of nowhere, but has been explained and explored by readers - especially those who don't have this disorder - what it's like to be in this position. It's an eye opening perspective of how someone can need help right in front of your eyes - and how the world turns a blind eye when it's not something that they want to hear. Or ignoring the signs altogether - like Finch's family had. Like many other young adults out there, he needed help and he didn't get it. Finch is a symbol that will rain on - a boy with potential, a little lost who needed some guidance, who felt so disconnected; so lost that he resorted to an extreme measure to cope. He isn't the only one out there, and Violet isn't the only person out there trying to do a parents job. I'm so glad this story has been told.

The way Finch did not want to be defined by labels - as ill or diagnosed - is important too. It touched me because labels are horrible - so defined, so rigid, so not what you wish to be seen as. What's worse is the person at the centre of it can't even control their own labels. They are chosen by default, and stick to people like glue. The bullying Finch faced from his family and school mates, and the lack of true concern from his mother and his sister was ultimately worrying. Sometimes it seems easier to pretend nothing's wrong, rather than deal with overwhelming feeling of fear of anxiety. This book broke my heart, but I know it's going to mend millions by doing the same to everybody else.

Although I'm so glad to have read this book -  to have enjoy and been apart of this story - I found it's middle to be less engaging than the beginning and the end. I wish we'd seen more of an emotional development of some kind, that really established the relationship between Violet and Finch. I'm not sure what it was - but I found my attention wondering a little throughout this period of time.

I also wish that we had got to know Brenda and Charlie more intimately - exploring who they were beyond the surface. Brenda seemed like an amazing character to have - quirky, vibrant and insightful lost in the relationship department. We barely got a glimpse of her. Charlie literally was the stereotype of a teen obsessed with sex, but who else was he? I can only hope the movie picks up were the book left off.


In conclusion, All The Bright Places is one of the most important books I've read this year. It's engaging and unique to the YA genre discussing an area of mental illness in a way I have not yet come across. It deserves it's praise and I'm so glad the rest of the world will get to see this story unfold onto the big screen. It needs to be told. Well worth the read, no matter what age you are!

What did you think of All The Bright Places?

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