All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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Finch and Violet have a common goal when the meet on the edge of the bell tower at their school. Though everyone believes Violet saves Finch from a suicide attempt, she’s not so sure that’s the truth. At first an incongruous pair, the two are slung together for a class project in which they must explore their home state. During the course of their adventures, Violet and Finch draw closer together, but their relationship may not be enough to save them from the dark pull of tragedy.

A brilliant new addition to the realm of realistic fiction. Niven gives readers a little bit of romance, hilarious adventure antics and, of course, Kleenex-worthy sadness. This is also a poignant, unflinching look at mental illness in teens — a subject that is often danced carefully around. I think it’s important to read novels like this, where truths are discussed without shame. I can’t say too much without giving away spoilers, but pick this one up if you’re looking for your next heavy read.

Rating: 4/5

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

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Earth has been invaded by aliens. No one knows why they’ve come, but it’s obvious that they want to wipe out the human race completely. First, they cut off all electronics. Next, they send devastating explosions. Then, they sweep the world with an incurable virus. The ones who survive may seem lucky, but Cassie doesn’t feel that way. Having lost her mother to the virus, her father to an attack, and now separated from her brother, Cassie is alone. Alone, but determined to find the last person she loves. She must do everything she can to get to him, or die trying.

This book has a lot of hype (the movie will be coming out soon), but I didn’t love it. Alien invasions aren’t my thing, so I’m not surprised this wasn’t my favorite — but still. It just wasn’t super exciting, though the way the ending came together was pretty cool. If you love aliens/zombies/dystopian fiction, give it a shot — you might love it!

Rating: 3/5 

*YALSA Teen’s Top Ten, 2014

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.