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Theodore Finch is fascinated by death. Every day he thinks of ways he might kill himself, but every day he also searches for—and manages to find—something to keep him here, and alive, and awake.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her small Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school—six stories above the ground— it’s unclear who saves whom. Soon it’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. . . .
Why I Read It
I hadn’t heard of this book until I saw a few booktubers unhaul it, claiming it was just too negative although they appreciated the message and mental health awareness that just comes with this book. So, naturally, I had to go buy it right away so I could be in on the conversation. What made this book so negative? What made so many people love it and so many other people not? I had to know. And now I do.
Come on, people! I mean, okay, I totally get why people would say this book is negative. It’s about mental health and suicide and there is death in this book. But, like, what did you expect? Nowadays, most books include death in some form. Some in multiple forms. (I promise this wasn’t a spoiler if you haven’t read this yet.)
Just because someone finally took the plunge and wrote an awesome, popular book regarding mental health and suicide, it has to be happy? No. I think what makes this book great is how real it is, how raw it is. We see inside Finch’s head as he deals with his issues while also seeing inside Violet’s while she’s dealing with her other issues. There are so. Many. Issues. All the issues. But it works.
With so many issues, I must ask, how did you think this book was going to read? Happy? Fun? It’s a tough read sometimes because it’s realness slaps you in the face and you’re just kind of left sitting there like, oh. Oh.
The realness and the rawness is what makes this book unique. I’ve read books that touch on anxiety and suicidal thoughts, but they jump back and have a happy ending as if it all just kind of goes away and everyone is always fine and NO. That’s not the way it is.
And Violet dealing with her sister’s death throughout the whole book, even though it was at least 6 months ago? That’s real. What she goes through, how her family acts around each other and her parents act around her and her friends treat her, it’s so real. It’s so right. Not right as in right, but right as in so accurate. This book doesn’t glaze over anything. It’s all there.
Not that I think this book is triggering. I really don’t, but I also don’t think I’m the best judge of that. So I say that with hesitation, because I hate to speak on behalf of something
I’m not totally involved in. (Personal side note: my freshman year of college I was told I showed signs of anxiety and depression at a mental health screening, but I never looked into it further and haven’t had issues with it recently. I was technically never diagnosed so who knows.)
Here’s the thing I really want to mention: the tears. As in, my tears. It’s very easy for me to cry, because I’m an annoyingly empathetic person, so I cry easily over movies and when I get angry and whatever. But I don’t always cry when I read books. I’m not sure why that is? I could count on one hand how many books have made me cry (although, now that I’m reading a lot more in short periods of time, maybe this number will go up, oh god I hope not). This book made me cry. And this was so monumental to me that I actually broke one of my rules and dog-eared the page so I could find it again and tell you guys about it.
I promise the only reason I resorted to dog-earing was that I was laying in bed late last night reading it and didn’t have anything else near me to mark the page. Don’t worry, this morning I put a pen and sticky notes on my night stand for future use.
Page 360 is the page that made me cry, before and after the scene break. So when you read this book and get to that page, think of me and feel bad for me and maybe shed a tear or two yourself because it’s emotional. And if you’ve read the book, go see what I’m talking about. Honestly, I’m not even sure why that page in particular did me in, but it did. I had to quickly wipe my face off and hide the tears before my boyfriend turned around from his video game, because I hate crying and I do it too much.
But I digress.
I give this book all the points in the world, I would rate it higher if I hadn’t limited myself to a 5-point rating system, and now I can close the book and slide it into my pile of books I’ve read and officially reviewed and can stare at it and pick it back up when I need a reminder that it will be okay. I see a lot of myself in Ultraviolet Remarkey-able and Finch, and I think a lot of other people can too.
I’m setting this book aside in a separate pile, now that I think about it. Favorite reads of 2018.
Have you read this book? What’s your take on it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!