Friday, March 20, 2015

Librarian Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright PlacesSummary:
Theodore Finch, aka Theodore Freak, is obsessed with death. Violet Markey blames herself for the death of her sister Eleanor. They meet in the school bell tower, one becomes the hero who saved the other, but no one knows the real truth about who saved whom. Suddenly assigned to be partners in a “Wander Indiana” project for their class, they discover who they really are, and both begin to see beneath the surface.

This isn’t an easy book to read or review. This is a book that tackles the serious subjects of suicide and mental disorders. Nothing about that is easy, and I suspect it wasn’t an easy subject for the author either.

Theodore Finch is a remarkable young man, yet he doesn’t see it himself. Smart, witty, thoughtful, loving, but ultimately suffering in silence. Violet Markey is suffering herself. She hasn’t been the same since the auto accident that spared her and took her sister. She has lost interest in her passion of writing, and doesn’t care about school anymore. Both of these characters are so thoughtfully and carefully depicted in this story. You could know these kids, walk the school halls with them, sit beside them in class…

This is a story that begs to be read, and told and discussed. I believe that a lot could come from sitting down with someone and discussing this novel. It discusses labels and how easy it is to write someone off because of their label, and fail to see the beating human heart beneath the label.

Audiobook Review:
The audiobook is produced by Listening Library and read by Kirby Heyborne and Ariadne Meyers. Both readers do an amazing job making you believe that these are the voices of these two characters. Their narration draws you into the story and will keep you listening. The book on CD has nine discs and is 11 hours and 4 minutes long. The production is well done, and definitely a good way to get through this novel.

This book is one that will leave you thinking. While at times the pacing may slow a trifle, the author does a superb job of keeping the reader invested in the lives of these two individuals. You will know these teens and they will become your friends, and with them you will share their sorrow and pain. This is a book that should be read, reread, and discussed.

Cautions for Sensitive Readers:
Drugs: Mild references to prescription medications not being used being used as directed.
Alcohol: Mild references
Sex: Yes
Explicit Language: Some
Violence: Some abuse.

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