All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven was one of my favorite books in high school. A friend gave it to me sophomore year and it immediately became my favorite book. While it is more of a "high school read," it's a very emotional, heart-wrenching story.
Character Theodore Finch is a rebellious but independent teen who does whatever he wants, not giving a second of thought to those around him and what they might think. He not only deals with the struggles of a normal teen, but battles depression, insomnia and family problems. He meets Violet Markey, a popular and beautiful girl that is typically admired from afar, on the edge of the high school bell tower where she contemplates jumping to her death. Both come down from the edge and begin an odd friendship that will turn into something unexpected. While Violet's convinced that Theodore is a freak, Theodore spends his time trying to crack open the hard shell that covers Violet Markey's true self. The two choose (well, Theodore chooses) to work together on a school project where they are assigned a quest to "discover Indiana." The two travel the state exploring different land marks and attractions, logging experiences and taking little pieces of Indiana with them.
Violet had once live fearlessly, until her older sister was killed in a car accident. Throughout the rest of the story, Violet and Theodore push the boundaries of Violet's fears. Theodore takes it upon himself to inspire Violet to do the things she never thought she'd do since her sister's death. The two are living life like there's no tomorrow. But just when it seems like it's the "fairytale ending," Niven slams her readers with reality--one of the many reasons this book is worth reading.
If you decide to pick this book up (which I hope you do), prepare to be completely wrapped up in each character and the emotions they feel. No matter who you are or where you came from, you'll find someone in this book to relate to. All The Bright Places will rock your little reading world and maybe even dare you to live a little bit on the "freak" side.