I resisted reading this book – I thought it would depress me. It did make me cry but it never depressed me and I’m so glad I read it.
Violet’s sister died in a car accident and she is finding it difficult to move on with life, getting to the point where she begins to wonder whether life is worth it. Finch is known as a freak at school – an angry and unpredictable boy who pushes boundaries and is obsessed by thoughts of death. As they forge a tentative friendship, Finch shows Violet how to live again and Violet gives Finch a reason to live. As their feelings develop, Violet discovers that Finch is not a freak. True, he is whacky, fun and unusual but he is also thoughtful and loving. However, as much as Finch finds happiness with Violet, he is unable to escape his problems and as it becomes clear that he has some deep-rooted mental health issues, he struggles to cope with life.
The story is told alternately by Violet and Finch. It is their love story but also the story of how they help each other to cope with life. Readers looking for a simple high school romance will be disappointed – there is more to this story. It tackles the issues of mental health and the stigma of being labeled with mental health problems. It also highlights the way mental illness can be hidden, ignored or undiagnosed. Tied in with this is the issue of suicide – why people contemplate it and how the people who are left behind cope. This book is gentle and lovely but it will leave you in tears.