cover image All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places

Jennifer Niven, read by Kirby Heyborne and Ariadne Meyers. Listening Library, unabridged, 9 CDs, 11 hrs., $50 ISBN 978-0-553-55219-5

Voice actors Heyborne and Meyers team up for the audio edition of Niven’s teen love story. Last spring, Violet survived the car accident that killed her sister. She has been barely getting by, and now, on the first day of the new term, she has climbed the bell tower at school and is thinking of throwing herself off. It is here that Violet encounters Theodore Finch, better known as “Freak” around school, who manages to talk her down. Saving Violet seems to have given Finch a new lease on life. He woos her, gets assigned to be her partner for a class project, and slowly brings Violet back to life. Both Violet and Finch take turns telling their story. Heyborne makes Finch sound warm, relatable, and sympathetic. When Finch turns manic, Heyborne picks up the pace, and his voice becomes frantic, harried, and ragged. For Violet, Meyers’s voice is sharp and tight, almost pinched at times. She only sounds loose and comfortable when she’s with Finch. When bad things happen and Violet’s voice is cracking and near tears, listeners will become misty-eyed as well. Still, the story is not without humor, and the narrators nail the comedic notes, lightening the mood. This is an emotional book, and Meyers and Heyborne do an outstanding job infusing their performances with sentiment and warmth. Ages 14–up. A Knopf hardcover. (Jan.)