**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley. It was released on January 6, 2014.
Wow, just wow! I don’t often have to stop and think about what I just read when I finish a book, just breeze right on to the next one, but I just couldn’t do that with this one. I have been letting it sit and resonate with me now for several days and I haven’t forgotten a bit of the feelings it brought. I am not an emotional person when it comes to fictional characters so much, but this made me feel all the feels!
It is the story of Violet and Finch….a sort of star-crossed lovers story that we have all come to love. Their story starts in a very significant way though, as they meet while both at the top of their school’s bell tower contemplating if life is worth going on. With the help of one another, they make it back down and the rumors begin–everyone saying Violet talked Finch down off the tower because he was being a “freak” again. Neither Violet or Finch cares to correct the rumor, so we begin their story. Because of an assignment, they work together to wander the state of Indiana and find interesting things that others may not know about. We find them falling for one another, but it is very obvious that they are both troubled souls…maybe Finch more so than Violet. Throughout the book, Finch is very focused on suicide: facts, statistics, ways people kill themselves, and so on. This becomes very worrisome for the reader, obviously, and eventually for Violet as well. This is a heart-wrenching story of mental illness, first love, and grief that I don’t think will ever leave me. I will be very surprised if it doesn’t become a much buzzed about book for 2015….it IS being touted as The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor & Park, which are large shoes to fill. In my opinion, it fills them and more and is very worthy of being compared to these other great authors. Jennifer Niven, I will be watching you! I will also be recommending this to many of my high schoolers.
My rating: 5/5