Study Guide

All the Bright Places Chapter 1

By Jennifer Niven

Chapter 1

Finch

  • Meet Finch, who starts each day by asking himself if it's a good day to die. In fact, it's a question that comes up throughout his day.
  • At this particular moment Finch is asking himself that question on a high ledge. He's thinking about jumping.
  • Finch has been recently "woken up" from what he describes as a long sleep. Sounds like depression.
  • Finch gives us his coordinates: He's at his high school, in the bell tower.
  • He's shouting down to students on the ground. They aren't paying him much mind. Sounds like this has happened before.
  • Suddenly Finch realizes he's not alone. There's a girl on the ledge on the other side of the tower, and presumably she's thinking about jumping, too.
  • Finch tells her not to look down. He's trying to keep her calm.
  • He realizes the girl is Violet, a cheerleader. He's surprised to see her up here.
  • Finch is still talking, inching toward Violet on the ledge.
  • The kids on the ground notice that Violet's up there. She's freaking out about it a little.
  • Finch shouts (so the crowd can hear) to make it sound as though Violet's there trying to save him…even though she was there to kill herself.
  • More quietly, so the crowd can't hear, he tells her to get back over the ledge to safety. His calm words guide her to the ground.
  • While he's still on the ledge, Finch contemplates jumping one last time. Now it's Violet's turn to talk him back to safety.
  • Finch's friend Charlie has come up to the bell tower. He tells Finch there's pizza in the caf today.
  • Finch shouts his thanks to Violet for "saving" him. Also, he notices his guidance counselor on the ground. Busted.
  • Violet tells Finch she wasn't trying to kill herself. He knows better. She thanks him and leaves.
  • Finch tells us he's on probation this year. He's been in trouble with the school for destroying property a few times. If he messes up, he'll be expelled.
  • He's about to meet with his guidance counselor…who's understandably mad about the whole ledge thing.
  • The counselor wants to know if that was a serious suicide attempt. Finch laughs it off. He asks the counselor not to call his mom.
  • The counselor tells Finch he has to take a drug test and meet with him twice a week. Also he wants to know why Finch was out of school for more than a month.
  • Finch had his "mother" (well, his sister posing as his mother) call in an excuse about flu. He wasn't physically ill, though. He was depressed.
  • Finch explains to us (not the counselor) that he doesn't really want to die. He's fighting the urge as best he can.
  • Finch leaves the counselor's office with a sense of relief.

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