The South Bank Review Winter 2017 | All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
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All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Image credits (L to R): Jerry Kiesewetter, Penguin Books, Marcelle M

A fabulous book described as ‘The next Fault in Our Stars – this is it’ by the Guardian.

Jennifer Niven has created a book that will consume you! It is a novel that you will be able to finish within one sitting. Once you start, you won’t stop and your hands will refuse to put it down. It’s a book about life, death, mental health and all things that are real. It’s about first love and loss.

Violet Markey and Theodore Finch meet on the ledge of the schools bell tower, both contemplating suicide but somehow convince each other that it’s not the right time. You can’t exactly tell who saves who, but at that point the beginning of their story begins. The popular girl grieving over her dead sister and the troubled boy battling with mental health. A journey that will make you laugh, fall in love and cry like a baby, because believe me I guarantee that you will cry.  Jennifer Niven has ticked every box and exceeded every expectation. The rawness and tragedy that fills the spine of the novel, is refreshing and completely heart breaking.

As they set off on an adventure to find ‘all the bright places’ for a school project, Violet is unsure opposite to Theodore, who is ready to show Violet that there’s a whole world out there waiting for them. As Violet’s world seems to grow bigger, Theodore’s seems to close in on him. Through the project they grow closer and closer, finding solace and tranquillity in their growing emotions for one another. Page after page you will see them change and mature, you’ll believe alongside them that their love can override all the grief in their life. So they fall in love, and it’s a love that stays with you no matter where you go in life, it also raises the question… Is love enough to save someone?

There will be many twists and turns, that will result to a sinking feeling in your heart and butterflies in your tummy.  You will find yourself so invested in the characters, rooting for their love to win, hoping their relationship is enough to save each other.

Violet begins to love life again, but Theodore’s obsession with death runs deeper… Can Violet save Theodore or is it too late? As a reader you will question Theodore’s actions and you will despise Jennifer Niven for making a book that’s so good it is truly unfair.

Overall, this book will open your eyes in ways no one can. You’ll remember every feeling, every laugh and every tear you shed months later. ‘All the Bright Places’ is a book that will ruin you and you’ll soon want a Theodore Finch to stumble into your life. You will yearn for someone to change your life and show you all the bright places in the world. You will want to be ‘all the colours in one, at full brightness’. Jennifer Niven is an excellent writer, a beautiful storyteller and a woman full of magic. It touched my heart and it will touch yours too.

Tasmina Akhtar

Tasmina Akhtar is a twenty year old hopeless romantic and a sucker for tragedy, currently in her third year at university. A girl that fell in love with books, since the day her father took her to the library at the tender age of 6. Her writing idol will always be Nicholas Sparks, an author that continuously makes her fall in love with far too many book boyfriends. And, if the book makes her cry at 3am, its a winner. Hence the reason why she's often known as the ultimate bookworm, making it look like a chore, rather than a pass time. It's either trapped in her kindle or her nose is wedged deep between a paperback. Books are an escape from the ugly world she lives in. It was her love for reading that made her want to become an aspiring writer and publisher. It was only during sixth form that she began to find a passion in writing her own stories. Opting to take creative writing instead of English literature for her A-levels, was the best decision she ever made. As she fell into a routine of writing story after story, creating hundreds of different unique characters, and being able to control what she wrote... Tasmina's eyes finally opened wide and she was able to witness a whole new world, that she desperately wanted to be a part of.