Having suffered with Depression my entire life, I was excited to pick up a book that faced this illness head on. It seems odd to want to read about characters going through the same horrible darkness I do all the time, but sometimes its just nice to know you aren’t alone. I liked being able to relate and understand the feelings of Finch and Violet. Depression is an illness many people don’t understand or those who have it find hard to put into words. I am genuinely grateful for books and authors like Jennifer who can explain and help people understand a little bit better. Not everyones experiences or view points on Depression are the same either and while it was nice to be able to relate to these characters there were also many differences in how the illness effects me as opposed to them. It’s really valuable to be able to understand different situations though and how an illness can effect everyone differently. The raw reality of Depression and the innocence of high school love and the beauty of real friendship make All the Bright Places one of my favorite reads this year.
I find all too much lately that insta-romances are in every romance book on the shelf. To find a book that was about so much more than just an intense physical attraction or the standard boy likes girl/girl likes boy but they can’t be together for the whole book because of no reason what so ever and then end up together, is so refreshing. I enjoyed this book beginning to end simply because the pace was well laid out and no “I love you’s” were rushed. The character development was gradual and let you connect with the characters and feel how they felt every step of the way. The fact that this book was so well put together and Jojo Moyes made you connect so deeply with the characters is what makes the ending that much harder. I cried, not ugly cried as the book is a bit predictable and I sort of got ready for it, but I did cry and was left thinking long after I closed the book. I also have to say I watched the trailer for the upcoming movie and I think they did a spot on job casting wise and I’m very excited to see it!
Some days I look back on my high school career. On those days I am embraced with a sort of sadness, the kind that leaves you filled with regret, pain, and sorrow. My high school life was not one I look back on and miss or long to go back too. It was the kind of experience that makes me cringe and wish never happened. I will never go to any high school reunions and I will never tell my kids (if I ever have kids) how awesome high school was. I was not popular, but I was also not a misfit. I had a few friends but they were the kind drama followed and left you wondering what was real and what was fake. Seven years out of high school now and I have found that I love having very few friends, being genuinely honest, and letting myself focus on me whenever I need too.
If He Had Been with Me by Laura Nowlin depicts high school in the most realistic way that I have read in a while. I felt myself back in those halls among people I never felt truly myself with. Her main character Autumn felt things that I am sure everyone has felt or been through, but has been to afraid to say so honestly. From the moment the book starts you know there will be a tragic death at the end. Despite this knowledge you find yourself still wanting to follow Autumns life and find out what happens…
It is only so often a book truly grips my soul, holds on tight, and never lets go. There is no magic realm in which to get lost in, no epic romance to find your heart breaking for, no thrill to keep you at the edge of your seat. This book is simply about life, the trials, the tests, and the hardships. Jeff Zentner captures reality in a raw and unforgiving way. He beats around no bushes and tells it like it is. Through the eyes of three high school seniors, Jeff shows just how scary, magical, loving, sad, amazing, and horrible the world around us is.
“We are a fallen species, spitting on the gift of salvation. Humanity is irredeemable”