Jennifer Nevin’s beautifully told All The Bright Places is the teen book to read in 2015. It will be compared to John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars and Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park. But this book stands on its own as a brilliantly crafted love story about two non perfect people who save each other with a non fairy tale ending. Violet is dealing with incredible pain since losing her older sister in a car accident several months before. She finds herself at the top of the bell tower at her school along with the school “freak” Finch. Finch isn’t really sure why he is up there. Maybe he will jump, but Violet distracts him and he talks her back off the ledge. Everyone things she is the hero who saves the nut job boy who is always acting crazy when it is really the other way around. Finch describes his life in times where he feels awake and others where he feels asleep. It is an asleep day that he finds himself at the top of the tower. But something about Violet brings him back. He pursues this shy and troubled girl. They start a project together where they are supposed to wander around Indiana and discover new things. Violet won’t ride in a car. Slowly Finch brings her out of her shell and they beautifully fall in love. It is told in different points of view, alternating between Finch and Violet. This is another swoon-worthly, YA love story. Finch is right up there with Park and Augustus Waters. Finch’s problems are very real and painful. This is another read that will hollow you out. It is gut wrenching and hopeful at the same time. Nevin deals with very deep content from bullying to mental illness to suicide. Everyone should read this!
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
What are your first impressions of Finch and Violet?
Discuss when Finch goes running to “outrun the words.” Discuss the passage from page 63.
Discuss Finch’s awake vs. asleep.
Discuss when Finch distracts everyone from Violet dropping her books.
Why do you think Gabe Romero bullies Finch. Why does it seem the school does nothing?
Explore their wanderings through Indiana. Backyard Rollar Coaster
Discuss when Finch says, “the great thing about this life of ours is that you can be someone different to everybody.” pg. 34
Discuss how Violet and Finch’s relationship evolves throughout the story.
How did they change each other?
Discuss this passage, “What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good? This is what I want to do with Violet – give her only the good, keep away the bad, so that good is all we ever have around us.”
Discuss “The cadence of suffering has begun. I am in pieces.” pg. 297
Discuss Violet and Finch’s conversation about the black hole.
Read aloud and discuss Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Read out loud Finch’s email to Violet on page 327 and discuss the quotes from The Waves.
Discuss this passage, “Your hope lies in accepting your life as it now lies before you, forever changed. If you can do that, the peace you seek will follow.” pg 349