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.
Mini review from Goodreads:
Wow, I haven’t cried so hard in ages. Compare this book to what you will, but mental illness is prevalent, suicide is a very real, occurring thing, and not everyone gets the help they need or support they deserve. Niven did a great job showing the stigmas that surround mental illness among young people.
WHAT I LOVED:
The characters. I think I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Theodore and Violet. I’ve heard people complain that these two characters are nothing but caricatures of mental illness- I wholeheartedly disagree. They are complex, mentally ill people. I don’t know how people expect a novel to portray mental illness and then say that the characters ‘were the illness’. They weren’t. I don’t want to say that a mental illness defines a person, but honestly. If you’ve ever seen or experienced it for yourself, you’ll know that sometimes mental health can deteriorate to the point where a person becomes unrecognisable. I think that this is what Niven was trying to get across.
Finch was a mess. There’s no other way to put it. As was Violet. Their meeting for the first time broke my heart. It’s amazing how two lost people found each other, and that’s the main thought I had until the ending came along and ripped out my heart.
The ending. (SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!)
I couldn’t handle the emotional rollercoaster of the ending. Few books (particularly YA) take the leap and kill off a protagonist. That’s why it hits me so hard, whenever a YA book does this. This book has been compared to A Fault in Our Stars, and I agree slightly. I actually preferred this novel.
After a night spent crying and tearfully reading reviews, I just had to give this book five stars. You know a book is good when you mourn fictional characters like personal friends. So. You. Yes, you. If you haven’t read this already, go and do it!