Jr Bacdayan's Reviews > All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
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really liked it

Fuck. I’m a glorified classics guy but what the hell happened here. I cried. Fuck. I rarely go for YA trust me; I’m a condescending jackass who’s read one too many books. Usually I never even touch these kinds of sappy stuff, I basically hate the genre. I don’t like John Green. Fuck the Fault In Our Stars overrated sack of shit. But I don’t know why this book got through to me. For one thing, it doesn’t condescend, it doesn’t sound corny, it doesn’t try too hard. The thing about adults writing YA novels is that they try to sound fucking stupid. I mean, just because you’re writing for someone younger doesn’t mean you’re writing for someone moronic. Don’t look down on them, treat them like equals. I didn’t feel that condescension here. Jennifer Niven doesn’t fall into the pit of trying to water things down, or sound like a kindergarten teacher or a smartass. It felt natural. She didn’t condescend, I didn’t condescend. Nobody condescended, which is great. Respect begets respect. I digress; let’s get to book in the spotlight.

The story is about a girl learning to live from a boy who intends to die. It starts with two people meeting on a ledge of a school tower, both considering ending their lives. One out of grief, the other out of pain and in the midst of death they connect .Both survive that day. Then they are hurled together into a project that makes them wander through their provincial Indiana State finding beauty where they never expected to see it. The story of their growth in love and life, trying to find meaning is something that kept me up reading all night. Their journey through those precarious times together made me feel more than the last ten books I’ve read combined. They made me feel alive. But somehow, as one’s horizons grew, the other’s world shrank.

“It's my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.”

This novel touches on death, depression, and suicide; it paints a picture of love in a canvas of pain. Teenagers for one understand pain and loneliness more than anything: death, grief, love problems, hormones, identity crises, self-esteem issues. You don’t need to be depressed to relate to this novel. You don’t need to experience death to know the pain. Heck you don’t even have to be a young adult. You are just drawn by the flow of it all, you give in. You ride the waves and sometimes you can’t help the flow of tears.

I guess one of the things that really drew me in is the portrayal of characters. They feel real, they capture the life of someone who feels a variety of emotions, the confusion and pretenses of being a teenager. It captures anger. It captures heartache. It captures the hopeful dread inside someone young looking at the deep abyss of the future. Forget whatever their issues may be, forget their circumstances, they’re persons and they feel real. What happens to them feels real.

And it also doesn’t hurt that this novel is one giant tribute to Virginia Woolf.

But I think what’s important about this novel without giving away too much of a spoiler is that it spreads awareness about mental illness and suicide the same way Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time did with autism. This novel has the potential to be a mainstream success, and it talks about an important issue that needs more recognition especially with young people. It gives light about how young people should understand and deal with people who suffer from depression, bulimia, bipolar disorders, and other mental illnesses. Especially considering that young people who suffer from these are the ones most fragile, often bullied by their peers and schoolmates for being different. Ultimately this is a great novel with an important message aimed at the right audience. At the end of the day that’s all we can ask for from a book.

Whoever you are, whatever your condition may be, know that:

“You are all the colors in one, at full brightness.”

Only sometimes you may get enveloped in darkness, which when you learn to deal with, you find actually accentuates your light.

Keep your head up.
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Reading Progress

January 13, 2015 – Shelved
Started Reading
January 14, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-27 of 27 (27 new)

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message 1: by Garima (new)

Garima Entertaining review, Jr. Your enthusiasm for this book was palpable. Although my experience with YA is embarrassingly limited but usually I remain hopeful for that genre because it ultimately comes down to good/bad writing and there are always worthy surprises in the store. I'll definitely keep Niven on my radar for the future.


message 2: by Jr (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jr Bacdayan Garima wrote: "Entertaining review, Jr. Your enthusiasm for this book was palpable. Although my experience with YA is embarrassingly limited but usually I remain hopeful for that genre because it ultimately comes..."

Thanks, Garima. I think you'll hear of this book again sometime. This might be TFIOS big, I dunno. Haha. Yeah, you said it, it's all in the writing. Anyway, nice to hear from you again after some time. I gotta catch up on my Garima reviews. Haha


message 3: by Samadrita (new)

Samadrita This had been on the radar anyway since I do read YA (sometimes even trashy ones) but now your review makes me more hopeful. Lovely writing, Jr. It's always great to read someone's reaction to a book which lives up to its promises.


message 4: by Jr (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jr Bacdayan Samadrita wrote: "This had been on the radar anyway since I do read YA (sometimes even trashy ones) but now your review makes me more hopeful. Lovely writing, Jr. It's always great to read someone's reaction to a bo..."

Hey, Samadrita! Been a while. Actually, I just saw this here on the best of january list or something and since I wanted something light after a depressing Martin Amis, I tried this one. Boy was I surprised. Honestly, I expected it to be a bit trashy. haha. It's actually quite decent. Might be a bit formulaic but what the hell. I can't remember crying like this since Atonement. HAHAHA


message 5: by Anne (new)

Anne Great review! This seems really interesting. :) I don't read much YA too and I prefer classics.


Melody (theliteraryowl) Your review's pretty great but undermining YA books isn't. Do you consider yourself smarter because you DON'T read YA literature? And there are far more books in the YA genre that are better than John Green's. He's overhyped and I do not like what he writes but it doesn't mean that the rest of the young adult literature is as bad as his books. Seriously though, do you think that us, readers of YA are stupid or less smart because we might not read classics? Because that's what I understand by your great comment about how YA books are crap. And they aren't for the record.
(Oh and if there are grammatical mistakes in my comment, I'm sorry, English isn't my mother tongue and even though I am an English major, I am human and therefore, I make mistakes).
Have a great day :)
Mélody.


message 7: by Jr (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jr Bacdayan Melody wrote: "Your review's pretty great but undermining YA books isn't. Do you consider yourself smarter because you DON'T read YA literature? And there are far more books in the YA genre that are better than J..."

Hi, Melody! Sorry for this late reply, been busy for quite some time so I wasn't able to check this out. I guess my dislike for the YA genre is more of a preference thing rather than because I think they're all stupid. There are such gems in the genre like this one, The Giver, The Book Thief, etc. But more usually than not I'm disappointed by them so I do tend to stay away from YA. But that doesn't mean I automatically dismiss these kinds of books. I guess I just usually expect to be disappointed so when I found a great one, my reaction was quite a bit exaggerated here. Plus, I don't really condescend YA readers, I know lots of intelligent people who enjoy YA and I respect their choices and such. But I do condescend YA readers who will give five stars to john green and will give a one-star to love in time of cholera cause it's "boring" haha and I think I did say I'm a jackass so you shouldn't take my negative comments to heart. Hehe. For the record though, I'm not that much of an asshole as to point out grammatical errors, btw you're all right there. Hey, enjoy what you're reading, to each his own. Have a great day.


Joanna i swear this is the best all the bright places review ever


Noor I WANT EVERYONE TO READ YOUR REVIEW AND BELIEVE ME THAT THIS BOOK IS WORTY


message 10: by Seemita (new) - added it

Seemita This is a fine review with a Jr stamp all over it! I was going to read it anyway; thanks for making stronger my resolve :)


Pranav Kamesh This is surely the best review i have ever read.And the book deserves every bit of the praise.


message 12: by Jana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jana Finally got around to reading it. Kept me up all night, alright.


message 13: by Jr (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jr Bacdayan Jana wrote: "Finally got around to reading it. Kept me up all night, alright. "

i'm glad you liked it, jana HAHAHAHA


message 14: by Afifa (new) - added it

Afifa Anjum Lovely.


Anthonette Cimacio Finally, someone who understands what this book is about. I've read negative reviews from people who don't really get it. You nailed it!


Katrina Arellano You're going to make me cry. Really. Other reviews just compare AtBP to TFIOS, Looking for Alaska and Eleonor and Park and also negative reviews of how the book is "quirky and cute" mixed with depression and mental illness. Thank you for this review!


Katelyn This is the best review I've read for this book. Thanks for the humor!


message 18: by Ece (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ece I wish more people were being like you as they wrote comments on books. Your review is just so right.


Amanda Hennessy Beautifully written review of this book


OneSarcasticGirl I don't believe I've read such a heartfelt review before. Thankyou.


Jennifer Kurack SAME^
Dude you should write a book. I would read it


Dorothy Great review


Victoria Rose Great review but the Fault in Our Stars was one of the best books ever writen. I normally hate sappy stuff like this but I LOVED this book and The Fault In Our Stars.


message 24: by Kori (new) - added it

Kori I love this review. I love alot of ya books, but I love the way you worded this. even if you are a jackass sometimes hahah. thank you.


message 25: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Hamilton absolutely amazing review.


Tiffany Lorenzen Loved your review. My fiancé read the book. He suffers from bipolar disorder and said the writer hit all the key points of living with this disorder. Just thought let you know not the only grown man reading sappy ya book lol


Moonlight You said "I am a glorified classics guy" soo can you suggest me some REALLYY EFFING GOOD classics??


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