All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | Review [ARCHIVED]

All the Bright PlacesAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
by Knopf on January 6th 2015
Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Suicide, Fiction


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.”


All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is a book about a boy and a girl. But not your everyday run of the mill romance. It’s about a boy and girl that really need each other to survive. Not every relationship is perfect and that’s what makes this book so real.

Finch is a character who is suffering from some sort of mental illness. It’s never mentioned in the book, but you know it’s what makes him so unstable. It plasters a label on him, and as hard as he might try to stop it, it starts to define him. He’s grown up in a rough household with an abusive father and a mother that turns a blind eye. It broke my heart and really made me feel extreme compassion and sorrow for him. No matter what he did to try to end his life, it went unnoticed.

That is until he meets Violet. She was struck with grief after the horrible car crash that took her sister’s life and continues to put blame on herself everyday. She looked up to her sister a lot and now she doesn’t really know how to function without her being there. She counts down the days until graduation when she can finally leave her small town life and start a new. But then she meets Finch and their lives start to change.

They’ve found a purpose in life to keep on living. Niven’s writing style is very clear and distinct. We get two totally different contrasting characters that you just can’t help but fall in love with and keep rooting for as the story goes on. She touches on very sensitive subjects like abuse and suicide with such raw realism that really gets you enveloped deep into the characters mind set.

This book was fantastic overall. The only issue I had was the frustration with the direction of the relationship, and the pacing of the story near the middle/end before things got really serious. But other then that I would definitely recommend this book to everyone young and old!

So I hope you enjoyed my review of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I hope to see you next Friday with another review!!

Until next time,


About the AuthorJennifer NivenAll the Bright Places is Jennifer Niven’s first book for young adult readers, but she has written four novels for adults — American Blonde, Becoming Clementine, Velva Jean Learns to Fly, and Velva Jean Learns to Drive — as well as three nonfiction books, The Ice Master, Ada Blackjack, and The Aqua Net Diaries, a memoir about her high school experiences. Although she grew up in Indiana, she now lives with her fiance and literary cats in Los Angeles, which remains her favorite place to wander.

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli | Review

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens AgendaSimon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 7th 2015
Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction, LBGT
Pages: 303


Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.”


Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is the debut novel by Becky Albertalli. It follows the main protagonist Simon and his email correspondence with a mystery boy from his school. We see Simon’s world unravel as he navigates his friends, family, school life, and cyber life in this too cute for words coming of age story!

I can’t express my love for this book enough then I already have through twitter and such, but holy jeez where do I begin? Let’s talk about how real of a character Simon is and how much I related to him. It brought back so many fond and not so fond memories from my high school days! He’s honest, blunt, clever, funny, and all around normal teenager. We get to see him succeed, and we get to see him fail, but that is what made this book all the more real!

If you think you’ve found your perfect book couple to ship, think again! You will not believe how adorable and cute Simon and Blue are until you read this book. Even though they have never met face to face and are dying to do so; fear is what’s keeping them from that. They manage to forge real feelings and emotions just through emailing each other. We get to see their ups and downs as a real virtual couple until they meet in person finally. And to keep the mystery alive, I won’t spoil it Blue for you. Albertalli had me guessing all the way till the end.

“But I’m tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.” 

This book has a lot of diversity to it as well. Firstly the main character is gay, he has a wide variety of friends of different cultures and races. Albertalli also teaches us that books don’t always have to be so blonde hair blued centered all the time! It’s nice every once and while, but every single book it gets quite annoying!

“White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default.”

I have nothing but praise for Becky Albertalli’s writing. She created real and relatable characters. The dialogues between them were great, and the overall story telling was awesome! 

If you are looking for a book that talks about deep issues and acceptance, then you need to go out and pick up a copy of Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. You won’t be disappointed!

See ya next time,

Jesse Nicholas 

About the AuthorBecky AlbertalliBecky Albertalli is a clinical psychologist who has had the privilege of conducting therapy with dozens of smart, weird, irresistible teenagers. She also served for seven years as co-leader of a support group for gender nonconforming children in Washington, DC. She now lives with her family in Atlanta.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is her first novel.