By Kate Paras
All The Bright Places was inspired by personal experiences. “The book was loosely based on a boy I loved years ago, our relationship, and its story. I’ve carried it around with me for quite some time, but it was so sad, but also lovely, so I wasn’t sure if I could write it because it was so personal,” Jennifer says. She then went on to share that the summer of 2013 was the time she suddenly and unexpectedly lost her literary agent of 15 years. Jennifer recalls the last time she saw him, and how he told her that whatever she wanted to write next should be because she couldn’t imagine writing anything else—and that she should write it with her whole heart. Jennifer wanted to honor that; hence, the book many have come to love, #ATBP.
She wants her readers to know that they’re not alone. All The Bright Places touches on heavy issues, such as mental illness and depression. Some may perceive it to be too serious, but Jennifer begs to disagree. “All I want them to know is that not only is it okay to talk about the struggles that you’re having, it’s also important to talk about them,” she shares. “There’s such a stigma about mental health issues in a lot of ways, and we need to get rid of that so people can feel more comfortable talking about these things. You’re okay, and you’re not alone. Just realize that, even in the darkest places and times, there are bright places.” Amen!
She wants readers to learn to be more sensitive of others’ feelings, too. When asked what she thinks the warning signs are for people who may be suffering from mental illness, she put it this way: “I think we just have to be more in tune to each other, in general.” She notes aloofness, anger, and other mood fluctuations may be signs. She wants to remind us that we should all be more encouraging, as these are the first steps to dealing with the issues All The Bright Places touches on. All The Bright Places is being turned into a movie, currently being fimed with Elle Fanning playing the role of Violet, so that’s something really exciting you can watch out for. Her latest young adult book has also come out last October, called Holding Up the Universe. Following in the path of #ATBP, this book also talks about serious issues such as bullying, body shaming, and an illness called “prosopagnosia,” also known as face blindness—a disease where the person does not recognize the faces of anyone, including one’s mother’s, or even one’s own! These are pretty tough topics to discuss, but Jennifer does it in a way only she knows how!
IN A NUTSHELL
Jennifer plays favorites!
Movies "Inside Out, Spy, and Old Hollywood Classics"
Food "Any variation of popcorn"
Place "Besides the Philippines, it’s LA!"
Instagram Filters "It used to be Rise, but now it’s Clarendon."
TV show "Supernatural"
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