All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

This YA novel is about a young couple falling in love…and suicide. The male lead and half-time narrator Finch is a manic pixie dream boy–and the key word there is manic–but he’s very endearing and romantic. He partners with Violet for a gimmick of a class project that forces them to explore unusual places in their state, Indiana. There’s some real talk about grief, and some real family dysfunction that isn’t quite overcome. It has an ending that is both surprising and expected, that’s sad without being entirely bleak and depressing. The love story is sweet and hard and perplexing, one that doesn’t have to last forever for the survivor to emerge wiser and stronger. As romantic as the story is, it thoroughly avoids romanticizing suicide.

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