Co-Discussion: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - WITH SPOILERS

Posted on Friday, February 6, 2015 12:00 AM

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

Includes a PDF Help Line Resource Guide and a Note Read by the Author.

Since Christy and I decided to do another buddy read...we also decided to do another co-review/discussion for you guys. We both thoroughly enjoyed All the Bright Places and we want to talk out all of our feels. We hope you guys enjoy this one just as much or MORE than our last.

WARNING: You guys should definitely proceed with caution because there more than likely will be spoilers ahead.  So, if you haven't read the book, you probably don't want to continue.

General Questions

Did the book engage you from the beginning or did it take a while for you to get interested?

Erica: Actually, no. I felt the beginning of the book was a little slow for me. I'm not sure why I thought this, but it took me a good 100 pages in to fully be engaged.

Christy: I feel like was I was engaged from the beginning, because from the moment I picked it up, I didn't want to put it down.

Which character did you enjoy the most?

Erica: Finch, hands down. His personality was so unbelievably amazing & he just made me laugh, smile, and feel so many things.

Christy: Totally agree with Erica on this one, Finch was by far my favorite.  He had such a great sense of humor, and a great personality that it was hard not to fall for him.

Do the characters seem real and believable?

Erica: Yes, the characters to me seem real and believable. They have real life problems that I have seen in people around me. I thought Jennifer did an amazing job at making them believable.

Christy: Definitely!  The things that are going on with Finch and Violet are things that happen everyday, but they are things that a lot of people don't like to talk about.  So I applaud any and all of the authors that are willing to bring these issues to light and show that no one has a perfect life, and it's really hard to have that perfect day.

What passage stood out to you the most?

Erica: This part just stuck out to me because you could see the pain Violet was going through. Then Finch gave her this and that was beautiful to me.

No more winter at all. Finch, you brought me spring.

Christy: This passage stood out so much to me.

“I know life well enough to know you can’t count on things staying around or standing still, no matter how much you want them to. You can’t stop people from dying. You can’t stop them from going away. You can’t stop yourself from going away either. I know myself well enough to know that no one else can keep you awake or keep you from sleeping.”  

What did you think of the ending, do you think there should be a second book?

Erica: I definitely do not think there should be a second book, this book ended great. I am hard to make happy with endings, but this one was perfect to me.

Christy: While I would love to know what happens to Violet in the future, I think the ending was done perfectly. 

If you could ask the author one question, what would it be?

Erica: What made you choose the names for the two main characters? -- I absolutely loved both of their names and want to know why Jennifer chose them.

Christy: Was All the Bright Places always supposed to end the way it did?  Or did you start out thinking there would be a different ending?

Who would you want to play the main characters in the movie? 

Erica: Okay, I know Elle Fanning is already chosen to play Violet, but I'm going to pick someone different.

Okay, so you guys may judge me for choosing Elle's sister, but I think Dakota would also be an amazing choice. 

And Adam Brody for Finch, I am not so sure about this one myself, but I had a hard time so I just went with him.

Christy: Okay, I suck at these so I'm totally cheating and stealing Erica's Finch ;) And Chloe is such an amazing actress that I think she would be a great choice for Violet too.

If you could sum up the book in three words, what would they be?

Erica: Heart-breaking, compelling journey.

Christy: Emotional, Gut-wrenching story.

What did you find to be the most heart-breaking moment?

Erica: The most heart-breaking moment to me was when no one would search for Finch. I mean they did for such a short amount of time, then gave up. Okay, I get that he did this plenty of times before, but not like was just so upsetting to see some of his loved ones give up so easily.

Christy: When Violet sees his car and his clothes, and she just knows.  That's where I completely broke down.

All the Bright Places Questions

What did you think of the relationship between Finch and Violet?

Erica: The relationship between Finch and Violet was beautiful. They, to me, were just polar opposites, but also one in the same. They complemented each other so perfectly, yet fit together like puzzle pieces. I know it may not make sense to you, but all in all, they were are perfect.

Christy: It was perfect, and I loved them together so, so much.  In a world filled with people that just look through you or only see what's on the outside, they SAW each other and they GOT each other, if that makes sense?  And to me, that was beautiful.

What did you think of Finch's parents?

Erica: Okay, I may just ramble on here, but damn...they just ticked me off to no end. How could parents care that little? I understand his mom was heart-broken over the divorce, but c'mon, he's your child. His dad may have some issues of his own, but to care that little just infuriated me. I could keep going on and on but I'll cut it short and say they were not my cup of tea.

Christy: I loathed them.  I know his mom was going through a hard time but there's no way in hell that I could be so distant from my kids and while I can't sit here and say that I would have seen all the signs if I were her, I hope that I would.  But his dad?  He was a sorry excuse for a dad, if that's what you'd even call him. 

Do you feel like things could have ended differently?

Erica: I absolutely do think things could have ended differently.

Christy: Yes, I feel like if the people around him would have woke up and paid attention and saw the signs that something isn't right, it could have ended differently.  And I think that's what makes so much more devastating, knowing it could have been different.

What did you think of the overall ending?

Erica: The overall ending, like I said above, was perfect. I loved how she went to the rest of the places and found each thing that he left behind. That was the right way to end their story.

Christy: I agree with Erica 100% on this one.  I loved the fact that Violet went through the rest of their journey and saw the things that Finch left behind, I felt like it gave her some closure, and it was the perfect ending.

Do you think Finch meant to kill himself or was it an accident?

Erica: I kind of feel like it was a mixture of the two. I feel like he wanted to just get away for a bit, but then nobody came after him. He kept leaving hints behind like he wanted to be found, but no one came. Some people may think that the hints were too hard, but I definitely think that Violet could have figured them out a lot sooner. Though, when he went into the hole, I feel like that was his end. He wanted to find the bottom (that he knew he wouldn't find), yet he continued to search for. Once he went down there I think he pushed himself too hard, he knew that, and wanted to come back up, but couldn't.

Christy: Once again, I agree with Erica.  I think it was a mixture of suicide and accident.  Throughout the whole story we get these hints, and Finch thinks about suicide quite a few times, but he always backs away at the end and wants to live.  I think that he wanted to be saved, he wanted someone to pay attention and to pull him back from the edge, but no one was.  I think when he went into the water, he was searching for the bottom, and he wouldn't give up until found it.  I kind of think he knew what the outcome would be, only because of the fact that he was sending the emails to everyone, but I also think he was hoping for someone to save him.

Final Rating

Erica: Yes, the beginning was a little slow for me, but it was still a 5 out of 5 stars from me.

Christy: Definitely gets a 5 out of 5.
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Erica is a 20 year old college student and book lover. When she’s done with studying she’ll always want to relax with a book, of any kind. If she’s not reading she could be caught up in her latest Netflix series or lost in a conversation with her spectacular boyfriend.
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