All The Bright Places
Finch and Violet meet at the top ledge of their high school; both determined to end it all for different reasons. Finch is obsessed with suicidal thoughts, but Violet struggles to see her future because of her sister's recent death. After their meeting on the ledge, Finch arranges for Violet to be his partner for a geography project: they are to explore the state of Indiana together. This assignment brings them closer, and they eventually become an item. Throughout the novel, Finch battles with depression and what seems to be a type of bipolar behavior, even though he doesn't acknowledge it. Violet seems to have small breakthroughs that lead toward a life of promise in the midst of dating Finch, who she wishes she understood more, and parents who refuse to talk about her sister's death. At the end of this story, Finch secludes himself from his friends, family, and Violet, and loses his battle with depression. Despite Finch's suicide, Violet pushes through toward the possibility of a happy and promising life with her parents.
Niven explores themes of abuse, depression, and suicide. None of these are easy to talk about at any moment; however, it is evident that teens struggle with these just as much as adults do. As I read this novel, I couldn't help to feel sad and hopeful at the same time. I was reminded of people I know who battle with depression by cutting themselves, and others who have suffered through abuse and are still trying to cope. This is a sad novel to read; however, it effectively relates some uncomfortable, yet serious situations that are sadly becoming more and more prevalent in people's lives.