Guest Post: Emily Anne of Kindred Spirits Blog

I have this entire list of books that I “plan” to read…and when I look at it, I sit there and wish I had more time to read them all.

So, after I picked up this book, in the contemporary fiction genre…well…I opted to remove a few from my lengthy list. It made the other choices so completely not worth my time!

Like, why in the world would I read something like THAT after something like THIS…

The book I’m talking about is: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

Psst!…You guys!…This book is AH-MAZE-ING!!!

At first I just didn’t know what to do or think after finishing it! I didn’t have any words, and at the same time, about a million and one things filled my mind!

A simple plot description, or even the description from the inside cover would NOT do this justice! It’s so much better than a “blurb” could ever describe it.

The writing is extremely intelligent, grabs at your emotions, and fills you with excited energy at the same time! The story is {very basically} about depression, being an outcast, and why having a best friend is the most important thing in the world. Okay, okay, so I know that seems like it’s all very HEAVY…and it is…but please, hang in there with me for a little bit! Don’t stop reading here, because I promise you won’t regret it. Without giving you any spoilers, I reeeeaaaallllyyyy want to let you in on this book :))

You meet two main characters, and each chapter alternates between their two perspectives. The first one is called Finch…and I adored him! He’s so fascinated with death, but he always finds a reason to stay alive. His character is so spontaneous and lively, but also very raw and real…and so identifiable to me! The things that he deals with in his life…oh, this author KNEW. WHAT. SHE. WAS. TALKING. ABOUT. I give her so much credit for creating a PERFECTLY realistic character with mental illness. Reading about the way his brain worked, and how his thoughts spiraled around, all I could think was, “Wow. Yes. It’s like reading the words in my own mind.” Most of the time I couldn’t even believe what I was taking in, because Jennifer Niven made it so, so real, that it seemed as though it wasn’t! {If that makes any sense at all…ha!}

And then there’s Violet…Violet, who has recently lost her older sister in a car accident. While Finch does everything he can to find anything good in his TODAY, Violet has a “what’s the point of life” mentality. She is trying so hard to move on without her sister, but she is trapped in the vicious cycle of guilt, and trying to stay inside the safety of the mold of what other people think she should be.

Both wanting so badly to just escape their own pain, they are thrown together into a school project, and go off on a journey across Indiana {which, that by itself is very cool because it gave me plenty of ideas of places that I now HAVE to see in my home state!}. And during this journey, they discover beauty in the most unexpected places, and they connect in the most unexpected ways.

I think the way I’m describing this story could never really convey the awesome-ness that it is! It captures every emotion, and portrays so accurately the reality of the abyss of depression. But at the same time, the author adds a sweet, lively, quirky tone to the writing that lessens the “heaviness” of the topic, without downplaying the seriousness of it.

You don’t have to have experienced depression, or death, or pain to read this novel. It just draws you in, and suddenly you’re simply enjoying the ride with Violet and Finch. You grow to love them and feel for them. They become part of you, and you’ll want to stay long after the last page is over. This is the kind of book that will make you feel, simultaneously, numb AND frazzled. {Like I said earlier, I just didn’t know what to do or think when it was over!} It will cause you to see the world differently, and you’ll want to get up and DO SOMETHING!…to do something to SAVE people like our two main characters.

Pick it up! Read it! Share it with someone else!

But also be prepared for the fact that you may need a long, long, long time to recover from it before moving on to another contemporary fiction book ;))

Emily Anne lives in northern Indiana where she is a teacher of the performing arts. She teaches pre-K through elementary school music, and dance to all ages. When she is not busy teaching, Emily enjoys singing in a choir, continuing to take ballet class to stay in shape, discovering new things to do or simply relaxing with her fiancé, and excitedly planning a wedding for August 2017! She loves Anne of Green Gables and Downton Abbey, and thinks she should have been born in the 1910s. She has a strong desire to speak out against the stigma of depression/mental health and share her journey through that. You can find Emily at the Faith & Lifestyle blog, The Kindred Spirits Blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *