Wednesday, April 8, 2015

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

14.  A book you choose for the cover

Its just sitting there, propped up on every spare surface in Barnes and Nobles. It is a hardback book--always out of my price range. I notice it.  The next time I pick it up and look at it more closely. The cover is lavendar and one of the characters is named Violet. I could lick it.  I put it down.  It is a Young Adult (YA) book, a genre which until recently I have disregarded, but hey, those kids sometimes are interesting.  I used to be a kid. So why is B & N pushing this book so hard?

The thing I love about young adult books is no matter what the book or the subject matter, they are instantly relatable. High school is high school whether you went through it in the 70's or now. Teens are teens and the adults who try to deal with the teens haven't much changed. Well, there's screens now and texting, but it all pretty much works the same way.

This book is about the worst of the worst teen dramas: bullying, accidental death, and suicide. It is also a love story about two memorable characters Violet and Finch. The bonus in this read (and probably why Barnes and Nobles has this so prominently featured) is it takes place in my lovely state of Indiana. It features real cities and places and teen hang outs and all the kids are going to IU when they graduate. This is a story also about place. At first, I thought the author was making stuff up about Indiana--but they were real places and the author, Jennifer Niven, grew up in Indiana.

I recently learned that in the world of classifying books for publishers and bookstores that the reason a book is slotted into the YA genre is that the protagonist is a young adult him or herself. I wonder if that classification keeps people from crossing over?  Well, I'm glad I took a gamble on the lavender cover with the post-it notes. I enjoyed this book. I cared about the characters and enjoyed a unique window into modern high school life. I also appreciated that the book was not predictable. I kept expecting certain scenes to happen that did not so double bonus.  Young adult or not, I think there is something for everyone in here. I waited for this from the library for a long time so I know there are lots people clamoring to read it.  Perhaps other crossovers like me.

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