Review: “All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven

“Is today a good day to die?”

A Red Raven Reads Review of “All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven



One fateful day, Theodore Finch meets Violet Markey atop the school bell tower. Whether either of them intend to jump, no one can say. Yet, this chance meeting creates the beginning of a relationship that is truly magical. We follow Finch and Violet throughout their romance and tragedies and are led to a final, earth-shattering conclusion.


This was truly a great read. I found myself laughing and crying right alongside the characters, both of whom felt impossibly real. The writing is sound, the plotting is good, and the pacing is excellent. I finished 75% of the book in one sitting, once I’d gotten into it. This book was whimsical, touching, and oh so very important in a day and age where suicide is a growing threat to teens.


There really wasn’t much “bad” to contend with in this story. However, at some parts the conclusions felt rushed or unnecessary, or even unrealistic. Though this is my personal view and not the view of everybody, it did sour the book a bit for me.


ATBP is a great read, and one I would recommend in a heartbeat to fans of YA contemporary. However, throughout the book, it felt like there was something namelessly missing. What it is I cannot say, but it felt as though there was a lack of “flesh” to grab on to.


Objectively, this is a fantastic book that easily deserves its rating of 4 stars.


6 Ways That Young Adult Ruins Romance

Time and time again, I pick up a young adult novel expecting a good romance that will sweep me off of my feet. And time and time again, I am really freaking disappointed.


Well. I’ve compiled a list of 6 ways that YA ruins romance here for you today.

  1. Insta-Love

Okay, so can we all just agree that insta-love is the worst, most awful thing in existence? IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE. You can’t just have two characters see each other and immediately fall in love, unless at the end they die, because I suppose that’s what they get for being pansies. Thanks Shakespeare. You the real MVP.

  1. The Most Trope-Ish Couple Ever

I hate this so much. I don’t want perfect, gorgeous characters. I don’t give a damn about the captain of the football team and the head cheerleader, nor am I any more affectionate concerning the top jock and the goth girl who’s actually super beautiful and funny and perfect (but of course SHE doesn’t know it). CAN WE STOP WITH THESE TROPES?! What ever happened to creativity?? I want unique, realistic characters with quirks and flaws and interesting histories.

  1. A Lack of Realism

This obviously piggy-backs off of the idea of insta-love, but let’s examine this a little bit. I just read a book where the girl was supposed to die about fifty different times, and didn’t, because her prince rescued her. In fact, she failed to die SO MANY TIMES that I actually wanted her to just freaking die already. THIS PERFECT TIMING IS IMPOSSIBLE. More impossible things, shall we? -insert funky list music- Having “him” in every class, the underdog prevailing over the jock in a fight, the heroine having a miraculous makeover and stunning everyone at prom in a sexy red dress, the clumsy heroine suddenly becoming a badass, cheating death (over and over again)—I could go on forever, but I’ll save you the cringe-fest.

  1. The “Perfect” Competition

Usually there’s some competition for the hero or heroine in YA romance, but here’s my problem: these characters are frequently there for the sole purpose of being bitchy and otherwise perfect. They’re not real; they’re barely even characters. Y DO U EXIST?! These characters may be necessary, but at least give them a personality. Please. I’m begging you.

  1. The Kiss That Makes Everything Okay

Situation: Protagonist and boyfriend. Fighting. Fervently fighting. He called her a dirty hoe. But then he kisses her and everything’s okay.

Okay, so maybe “dirty hoe” is a stretch. But so is that kiss that shows up in almost every YA Romance I’ve ever read. The kiss that makes it all better. Does it happen in real life? Yes, with horribly stupid and shallow people who divorce after being married for a whopping year and a half. Please, let’s make young adult characters realistic, intelligent individuals who are not sated with physical touch as an apology for a horrific act of cowardice, selfishness, or cruelty.

  1. Same. Freaking. Guy.

You know who he is. Crooked smile, eyes that are the bluest blue, that muscular but not-too-muscular physique, a terrible past that controls his current actions. Yep, that’s right- that guy whose name changes when he shows up in most YA romances. Dear Mister Guy: you’re cute, we all like you, and you obviously work. But maybe, just for a while, go away? Sincerely, Me.


This concludes the list, though a lot of ideas were omitted. I hope you enjoyed reading my word vomit. So, do you have any pet peeves about YA romance? Tell me in the comments! I hope you read a romance that doesn’t suck today.


Review: “The Wrath and the Dawn” by Renee Ahdieh

“It would not be a welcome dawn.”

A Red Raven Reads Review of “The Wrath and the Dawn” by Renee Ahdieh

Image result for the wrath and the dawn //


This novel is basically a retelling of the “One Thousand and One Nights” story, Scheherazade. Read: girl miraculously survives death through telling stories to her captor each night, even though he’s killed every girl before you. Hundreds. Thousands. Already Ahdieh has set Shahrzad up to be an unlikeable character, and boy, did she deliver.


Ahdieh obviously has a good understanding of language and description. Her writing is lavish and quite beautiful at times. And that’s about where my compliments end.


I never set out to write a scathing review. It’s just not in me. But this book is everything that’s wrong with the Young Adult genre, encapsulated in a single novel. While the descriptions are beautiful, I find everything else to be poorly written. The sheer concept that Shahrzad is the one to survive, seemingly for being beautiful, enrages me. SHE. SHOULD. HAVE. DIED. Further, she seems to have minimal character development. She’s about as interesting as Bella Swan. Oh, and of course. Let’s make her the FREAKING QUEEN OF THE KINGDOM SO WE CAN HEAR MORE OF HER STORIES?! READ A GODDAMN BOOK, BRO!

Needless to say, I hated this book with a fervent passion. I don’t want to. I wanted to love it like everyone else. But I didn’t.


I have yet to understand the hype about this book. I think it’s horrid and it makes me sad to know that I am in such a minority of people who see flaws with this novel. Nevertheless, it is my job to be honest with my opinions, and honest I will be.


I am disappointed and thoroughly upset to have to do this, but I give this book 1 out of 5 stars.