I’ve finished a lot of YA (Young Adult) books in the past few months and years. Most of the books that I read when I started to regain my interest in reading belong to this category.
When I browsed my accomplished reading list this 2016, I noticed that most of the books that I finished in the early part of 2016 are YA books. However, I realized that all of my YA books were ebooks. Gone were the days when I bought brand new YA books especially John Green’s books.
Perhaps, that gave me the excitement to read and finish a newly bought YA book. I don’t usually buy brand new books, but since there’s a sale in one of the leading bookstore, I spent on buying one.
To decide which book to buy, I googled the best YA book in 2015, and it led me to the list of goodreads.com, and I found Jennifer Niven’s “All the Bright Places.” I trusted its top list because I enjoyed the previous most loved YA books that were hailed in goodreads.com such as “We Were Liars” in 2014, “Eleanor & Park” in 2013, and of course the “Fault in Our Stars” in 2012 that got 37,438 votes compared to the next that got only 8,890 votes.
Henceforth, I bought the book. Although I felt I became a pauper after buying books in a fair in UPD, I still purchased “All the Bright Places” for a hope that I’ll find something raw in it.
And I was not disappointed.
After flipping some pages with the books I was currently reading and finishing Og Mandino’s “Greatest Salesman in the World” in one sitting, I gave Niven a try, and her YA masterpiece got me hooked in the next 24 hours. I finished this book within one day and a half including sleeping time. Lately, I’ve been complaining that I got drowsy when I read that’s why so far I’ve only finished one book in October to think that this month is about to conclude. My experience with this YA book awakened my slumbering passion for reading books.
Literally, I forgot my things to do (that means neglecting postgraduate requirements and deadlines) and I gave way on reading the book.
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The book led me to the two most important characters that I met this year: Finch and Violet. At first, I thought they resemble the same characters I’ve met in the past, but this couple introduced me to two young souls that have something to say about life and death; love and hate. Their narration about the things that happened to them and how they felt about those circumstances made me admire them and helped me realize that our battles are worth fighting for.
As I follow the journey of Finch and Violet, I got involved in their lives and I understood what it meant to be left out, to quit, to hope, to wander, and most importantly, to love. The ironic idea of who saves whose life is riveting and redemptive. It gives a lot of feels as this theme evolved from beginning to end.
Finch reveals a character that sometimes I find in myself. His creativity and passion to create a world within his own little world and his hopeless romantic way of loving Violet reminds me how important it is to love without reservations. There are times I admire how he handles his plights and dilemmas that despite those problems, he’ll do everything to make Violet happy. I just don’t feel happy how he emerged in the end of the story, but Niven did not fail to prepare me on that kind of happening.
As for Violet, she gave me a lot of feels especially on what happened in her life after the accident. She told a story of survival and how to start a life after a tragedy. She narrated a life that is not easy but bearable and manageable. She gave a voice that in life, we will not be exempted from doubt, fear, and grief. Her love for Finch makes this YA more romantic but realistic. That love is not an easy and fast momentous event in our life. Sometimes, it’s not planned. It just happens. In the end, she expresses the art of how to finish an important endeavor. That is, to finish something we started.
I haven’t read any novel of Jennifer Niven in the past, but I can testify that her work can go along the works of my favorite YA authors: Green, Levithan, and Forman. Her words and thoughts are easy to follow and relate with, and she introduces a lot of insights adolescents usually think of when their minds start to think out loud.
Niven ends her tale with “it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.” After finishing her book, something will surely be left in my heart and that is the courage to hope, to love, and to believe again. A great read!