YA Book Club recap by Kara Eng, grade 11


For October YA Book Club, we read All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

We discussed different aspects of the book. We decided that the romance was fairly conventional with the whole “two broken teenage who meet each other. Who fixes whom?” There were some problems with characters as well. Most believed that Niven did not cultivate characters very well. The main characters were well written and believable, but all periphery characters were underdeveloped. But, because these characters acted so realistically, you couldn’t hate them. We talked about the themes of the book, coming to a conclusion that it made serious topics more human. Depression, bipolar disorder, suicide, and family abuse/negligence became more realistic and approachable thanks to Finch and Violet. Finch’s struggle with labels also struck a chord with many. Many members of the YA Book Club talked about how they’ve been labeled throughout their lives and how Finch’s conflict with people trying to categorize him has happened to them. We also took issue with Violet’s scavenger hunt, saying that it made an otherwise unconventional novel pretty cliche.

Overall, we really liked All the Bright Places, saying that the novel takes mundane things and makes them wonderful.

We gave the novel an average of 4.6/5 stars.

This meeting was moderated by Kara Eng, grade 11, from the Teen Advisory Board.

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