Finch is just coming out of a two-month “sleep,” as he calls it. Violet is dealing with guilt and heartbreak, being the only survivor in a car accident that killed her sister. Both find themselves at the top of the school’s bell tower one wintry day, contemplating the idea of jumping off, ending it all.
It’s a weird way to start a relationship, saving each other from suicide, but Finch can’t get Violet off his mind. And slowly, through a class project and sheer determination, he wins her over.
There’s really not much else to the plot. I’m sure this one will get huge comparisons to The Fault in Our Stars (teens fall in love in spite of Obstacles) or Eleanor & Park (teens fall in love in spite of Differences in background and in spite of Bad Circumstances), but I didn’t feel like it was as good as either of those. I wanted to like Finch and Violet, but I didn’t connect with either one. I felt that Niven was throwing WAY too much at me: suicidal thoughts, car accident deaths, neglectful parenting, abuse, depression, bipolar disorder, actual suicide, and bullying, with a smattering of eating disorders in there as well. It’s like all the crappy things that could happen to anyone in life were happening to Finch and Violet. And that was just too. too. much.
What I did like, however, were Finch and Violet’s trips exploring the state of Indiana. I enjoyed seeing the state through their eyes, exploring the nooks and crannies and offbeat places that people don’t usually go.
But that wasn’t enough for me to truly enjoy this book.
Rated: High for teenage smoking and drinking and some off-screen sex. Not to mention the several f-bombs, and the weighty subject matter.