Well I'm back and... trying to be better! Last year I got super into reading but as summer passed I kept busy with friends rather than books. At the moment I'm reading about 100 pages a week, I'm trying to increase this by reading at home and in my free time. This year my goal is to read a book about every 2 1/2 weeks. I also really want to challenge myself this year in the types of books I read. I want to adventure out of the young adult box a little bit and hopefully find other genres I can get into. To ease myself back into the regular flow of reading regularly I wanted to start with a Young Adult novel because they tend to be some of the more simple reads, because of this I picked the book All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. The book Itself isn't hard to read but because it talks about sensitive content such as suicide it makes it an emotional read.
The book All The Bright Places follows two teens Finch, and Violet as they both struggle with depression. The Characters are complete opposites but when they meet on the top of the bell tower both contemplating jumping they end up saving each other. The book follows the teenagers as they try and push themselves out of depression and in doing so develop a special bond. As the story goes on Violet starts to get better finding her purpose in life again after her sister died in a car accident a year before. Since the accident Violet has been counting down the days until her graduation which for her meant being done with responsibilities but after spending so much time with Finch she begins to find happiness again and becomes grateful that she gets what her sister didn't which is a future. For the first time Violet acknowledges her future rather then believing she didn't have one. "I look at all the days laid out until graduation and freedom and I feel a strange clutching in my chest. There are only a collection of days, less than half a year, then who knows where I will go and what I will do" (Niven 191). As a reader you want to be happy that the character is starting to get better and life is getting easier for her but its also sad because as Violet gets better Finch gets worse. Finch has become consumed with his thoughts on suicide. One night Finch decides to hold himself underwater just to see how long it would take for his brain to panic, to see if it would wake up and save him. He holds himself under as he thinks "how long has it been? Four minutes? Five? longer? My lungs are starting to burn. Stay Calm, I tell myself. Stay relaxed. The worst thing you can do is panic" (Niven 106). This part was super sad to read because you can see how much control these thoughts have over his life how they are being to take over and control all of his actions making death seem tangible and in his grasp.
Personally topics like suicide really effect me because I think its such a horrible thing that for so long went unnoticed. I feel as though people haven't talked about or understood mental heath until recent years. In 2015 it was discovered that suicide was the second leading cause of death among young adults age 15-24. Mental illness is such an important thing for people and especially teens to be aware about. When your young its harder to see how large life is and how things that can get you down today won't last forever. Even though its hard to read books with heavy topics like this it is so so important. Mental illness is such an important thing for people to be aware of, especially teens. Its important for everyone to know that there are ways to get help and ways to help prevent suicide incidents. Luckily there are people with major influence in the world striving to raise awareness for mental health. This summer a popular artist that goes by Logic wrote a song to raise awareness for suicide prevention called 1-800-273-8255 which is the number for the suicide hotline where people can call to receive help before they make the worst mistake of their life. The song quickly gained popularity and was performed live at the VMA's last month.
Niven, Jennifer. All The Bright Places. Alfred A. Knopf, 2015.
"Suicide Statistics." PRB. http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2016/suicide-replaces-homicide-second-leading-cause-death-among-us-teens.aspx Accessed: 17 Sept 2017