Oh my God… was this week the longest week for anyone else besides me? I felt like every morning I woke up I said, “Ugh, it’s only Tuesday?” or “Ugh, it’s only Wednesday?”, and so forth. But alas, Friday is here, and I’m trying to psych myself up to spend my Saturday looking for and probably buying a car – you can get the entire scoop by reading the Great Jeep Debacle of 2016. I’ll let you know how this turns out…
In the meantime though, let’s talk about the lastest read for Blanche’s Book Club: “All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven, because I’ve got lots to say about it.
For starters, I heard about this book on one of the podcasts I listen to regularly, “What Should I Read Next?” When the host of the podcast proposed someone read this book, she didn’t give much details, and she said when she read it, she didn’t even read the description – she just opened up the book and started reading it. That was her recommendation on how to read it, as well. So, that’s what I did. Now, I’ll go ahead and paste the description here, but if you don’t want to read it, skip down! Here it is:
* * *
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. . . .
* * *
Now, I obviously do NOT want to give anything away here, so I’ll end the direct conversation about this book by saying that yes, it was very good. It was well-written, it was detailed and visual, it was sweet and made me miss dating in high school, and I enjoyed reading it. Would I recommend it? Yes.
But… I noticed a lot of similarities between this book and those of John Green’s books.
And it’s not like, oh they have similar writing styles, it was so much so that it sort of made me uncomfortable. Here’s what I noticed, aside from the fact that it was a YA novel regarding two teenagers in love:
- Setting: Indiana (An Abundance of Katherines, The Fault in Our Stars)
- Details: Finding one person/adventures by way of a paper map (Paper Towns)
- More details: Series of sticky notes as clues (Paper Towns)
- Setting: Therapy group (The Fault in Our Stars)
- Even more details: Naming a car something humorous (An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns)
- Random: References to stars, life and death (The Fault in Our Stars)
So, my first question was… when was this book written, in comparison to John Green’s books? So I did some research, and found that The New York Times made a brief comparison:
Still, it seems inevitable that “All the Bright Places” will be compared to Rainbow Rowell’s “Eleanor & Park” and John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars,” and deservedly so, at least in the case of its central characters.
Then, I saw a reader review on Barnes & Noble’s website, which compared the book to “Looking for Alaska”, also written by John Green:
Definitely one of the more intense YA books I’ve ever written. If you enjoyed Eleanor and Park or Looking For Alaska, you will enjoy this book, although it stands on its own and is only really comparable in its intensity.
I also found a GoodReads thread in which the participants were wondering if they should even read it, given its close comparison to “Paper Towns” and “The Fault in Our Stars” – I don’t want to give it away, but if you’re interested you can read the entire thread here.
And finally, I found a list created by Bustle, that recommends books to read if you like John Green – and “All the Bright Places” is definitely on it.
However, there didn’t appear to be anyone out there thinking Niven basically took Green’s Intellectual Property, which is what I feel like. I mean, maybe all YA novels are just similar to each other and I happened to read Green’s first… but, I’m going to need further proof that Niven is original. Just saying!
The next book the BBC will be reading is “Modern Romance” by Aziz Ansari! So excited for this one! You should read it with us, and by us, I mean me and my cat Blanche. Discuss it with us via the comments on this blog, or by social media @OrangeJulius7.
Have a fantastic weekend everyone!