All The Bright Places (YA Reviews)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Hello! I'm back today with a review of All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I've gotten so much reading and writing done over the past couple days, and I'm quite happy on my progress (Even though I'm still behind on my 2017 Reading Challenge...Ambitious goals are not easy ones to reach!) But anyway, we've had 3 snow days (5, if you count the weekend, and more to come) in up here in Boston, if you're wondering about my burst of progress. XD, but rambling aside, here's my (non-spoilery) review of All The Bright Places!

Age Recommended: 12 + (It's considered a young adult read, not middle grade! The story has to do with suicide, so it's good to keep that in mind.)
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Ember; Reprint edition (September 13, 2016)

The beloved New York Times bestseller that Entertainment Weekly described as “sparkling” and says “get[s] under your skin.” You won’t soon forget this heart-wrenching, unflinching story of love shared, life lived, and two teens who find each other while standing on the edge.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death. Every day he thinks of ways he might kill himself, but every day he also searches for—and manages to find—something to keep him here, and alive, and awake.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her small 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—six stories above the ground— it’s unclear who saves whom. Soon it’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself. 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. . . .

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My Thoughts: 

“I should be happy, but instead I feel nothing. I feel a lot of nothing these days. I've cried a few times, but mostly I'm empty, as if whatever makes me feel and hurt and laugh and love has been surgically removed, leaving me hollowed out like a shell.” 

Can I just start with...

This book gave me so many feelings that I honestly couldn't, and still cannot, comprehend. 

I think the best way to describe how I felt when I closed the book is exactly that quote up there. I couldn't follow what had just happened, and I couldn't understand what I'd just finished. 

Of course I was expecting some hurting, as this book is about suicide, but clearly I wasn't prepared for the--it wasn't even even a whirlwind, more like a--BLASTING BLIZZARD of emotions. The book ended waaaaay to soon for my liking probably because I was desperate to hold on to the characters, and refused to let them go. I told myself when I began the book that I would not get too attached to the characters. Repeated that like a mantra while reading. And yet... #fail

Let's begin with the leading main character: 

Theodore Finch is my all-time favorite fictional boy. From his battle against himself, to the way he holds his head high when people poke fun at him, there's no reason for you not to love this guy. Finch's presence in the book is a candle lighting up a dark room, and he's honestly changed my outlook on life and living greatly. I've felt so many things for him, embarrassment, happiness, love, sorrow. I don't think I've ever empathized with a character as much as I have with him. And don't even get me started on how much I learned from him. (Let's just say I have an obsession with sticky-notes now...) 

I won't discuss the other characters, in fear of spoiling the book, but basically what I'm trying to explain is that I love Theodore Finch with all my heart and refuse to hear any criticism of his *sigh* beautiful soul. 

[*insert cartoon heart eyes*] 


“I learned that there is good in this world, if you look hard enough for it. I learned that not everyone is disappointing, including me, and that a 1,257-foot bump in the ground can feel higher than a bell tower if you’re standing next to the right person.” 

Just going through the quotes on Goodreads makes my heart ache. :( 

I really enjoyed how Niven writes with purpose. Every part of Finch's story is there for a reason. Not to mention the character development and the relationships and the depth of the world. 

There wasn't anything particularly special about her writing that stood out to me. (Of course it was pretty, gosh, just look at the quotes!) But that's not a bad thing, especially because sometimes it's better to be simple and get your point across. But I think the simplicity of her writing was what caused every moment of All The Bright Places to be that much more heartbreaking. There's no sweetening it up or sugar coating, it's just facts. 


On a scale of 1-10, 10 being it shattered my heart and left me in pieces and one being I barely blinked throughout the book...

I'd give this one an 9. 

It's definitely one of the saddest books I've ever read, and the only reason it didn't get a 10 was because it didn't make me cry. I don't think I've ever cried because of a book before (My friends say I have a poker face when it comes to books, haha)...And the streak continues. BUT it was really close this time. SO KUDOS TO JENNIFER NIVEN FOR PROVOKING ALL THE FEELS. 

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My Rating: 

Won't be forgetting this one any time soon. 

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Thanks so much for joining me today! Hope you all have a nice week! 

Lodestar (Book Review/Rant)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Happy New Year! I can't believe it's already 2017. It's crazy, isn't it? 

Today I'm reviewing Lodestar! I'm aware that I am quite late to the party, seeing as Lodestar was released in November...But better late than never, right? :D If you haven't seen (or read) Lodestar already (whatareyoudoingwithyourlife ????), I BEG you to, and if my voice of incredible reason weren't enough, look at the cover! (It's my favorite cover of the series, but I might be biased. You all know my obsession with Tam Song, hehe.)

(***I'm going to keep this review (relatively) spoiler free, but if you'd like my insights / rants about the book in more depth, I will be posting a separate Goodreads review.) 

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years (But definitely mature 8-12 year olds! The theme is much darker than the others in the series, and there's an abundance of violence as well. So beware!) 
  • Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin (November 1, 2016)

Dark schemes unfold—and Sophie’s loyalty is pushed to the limit—in this thrilling fifth book in the bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series.

Sophie Foster is back in the Lost Cities—but the Lost Cities have changed. The threat of war hangs heavy over her glittering world, and the Neverseen are wreaking havoc.

The lines between friend and enemy have blurred, and Sophie is unsure whom to trust. But when she’s warned that the people she loves most will be the next victims, she knows she has to act.

A mysterious symbol could be the key—if only she knew how to translate it. Every new clue seems to lead deeper into her world’s underbelly and the Black Swan aren’t the only ones who have plans. The Neverseen have their own Initiative, and if Sophie doesn’t stop it, they might finally have the ultimate means to control her.

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My Thoughts: 

"Time is a funny thing. Once it's gone, it's gone. But then it passes to someone else. You'll do great things with it, Sophie. Wonderful, incredible things." 

I'm not going to lie, Lodestar managed to surprise me. It was exciting to see something new come out of the series, but of course, with change comes difference, and with difference comes opinion (And yes, that means both good and bad.) :D

>THE WRITING: I'm not sure if I'm even qualified to say this, but I feel that Shannon's writing style has definitely settled and become something really, truly beautiful. I don't mean that her writing wasn't exceptional in the first 4 books (Mind you, they were all well written.), but it's clear that Shannon took it to another level for Lodestar. She makes it appear as if Sophie's story is not just a group of words cleverly put together, but a piece of art that should be admired in a museum. 

(Oh, and as the Tumblr dubbed angst queen, I MUST give Shannon credit for her angst. It was really well done. Extra points for almost making me cry.) 

>CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: I'm a bit iffy on this subject, not turning against, but also not rooting for. I'm extremely satisfied with the new things we learn about side characters and their reasoning for actions in previous books, but I'm also a little disappointed that some characters seemed to be thrown to the side and forgotten, only being brought back when their role seemed necessary. I understand the logic behind the heyyou'reonlyherewhenweneedya, but it's still a bit saddening to go into a book being *SO READY* to have adventures with a certain character and not really seeing them that much. 

And you can't forget 2 certain characters who are my favorite people in the world not getting that much of a backstory and development. D: But I'm still hopeful to see how Shannon handles them in the next book. (Which, may I mention, is very, very far away....*flops dramatically to the ground*) 

PROTAGONIST: I suppose you could argue that this ties into character development, but we need to discuss Sophie. 

I love Sophie. A lot. 

But her behavior and just abilities (I'm going to include power and influence along with this) are really...*EXPLOSION*

Ahem. Allow me to explain. 

I find it hard to believe that a character can be 'the most' of everything. And I feel that in Lodestar, Sophie is prominently seen and described and told that she's 'THE MOST'. 

The most powerful. The most smart (at least, in her time of need). The most well planned, the person who everyone comes to when they seek help or advice. Not to mention that having the most abilities. Or being the only person able to succeed in doing things no one else can. 

And like I said earlier, I LOVE SOPHIE! But just in this book, in this case, she seems to rise over all her friends and peers and even the Council and Neverseen. By doing this, not only has she become one of those flat, YEAHIMTHEBEST, characters, she's also pushing the idea that everyone is inferior to her and it takes out the fun of having all her side character buddies, you know? 

I'm totally down for the idea of Sophie saving the world and killing the Neverseen in a punch, but not quite in the direction that she seems to be going in. 

And I get it, she's modest, she's 'created that way', and she has her own problems, but I find it hard to believe that Sophie's so powerful that everyone believes she herself has the power to fix the world. 

((Besides, the side characters are also super powerful??? I love them so much.))

WOW, my rambling has become pretty excessive, hasn't it? It appears I to have lots of say about this book, ha. 

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My Rating: 

3.5 stars! I'll admit, Lodestar isn't my favorite book of the series, but if you can overlook a bit of the protagonist / overall character development, it's still enjoyable! And of course, if you've been keeping up with the Keeper books, I also recommend reading it... I won't spoil anything but, some crucial events do occur! 

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Thank you all so much for joining and I hope you have a nice week! <33