Jennifer Niven. 

Having absolutely loved Jennifer Nivens book ‘All the Bright Places’, I decided to jump onto the Internet to try and find out more about her and her other books. I actually came across her own personal website, where I learnt so much about her and got some fabulous tips too! She’s definitely helped me on my way to wanting to be a writer!

Jennifer Niven started writing at a very young age as her mother was a writer too. She started off by writing songs, poems and short stories and in 2000 she became a full time writer. She has written 9 books so far and is working on her 10th. She also runs a website called ‘Germ Magazine’, Where people can send in entries. It’s for anyone to share their writing, a really great idea which came from her book ‘All the Bright Places’.

Jennifer Nivens books

Holding up the Universe

All the Bright Places

American Blonde

Becoming Clementine

Velma Jean learns to fly

Velma Jean learns to drive

The Aqua net diaries

Ada Blackjack

The Ice Master

It’s important to keep yourself stimulated and challenged creatively’ – Jennifer Niven.

One of the most important things I learnt from her website was that when she writes a book she immerses herself wholly. She listens to music from the time period, watches movies of the same genre, reads books the characters would read and creates a soundtrack with songs that relate to the story. How impressive is that?!? She also said her number one top tip for new writers is to:

Write & read, work hard. Learn to love editing and write what inspires you and what you love.’ – Jennifer Niven.

She’s also written a ‘Nivens guide to writing’ which you can read here - But heres the low down, in the way I have interpreted it;

1. A book should not be too long

2. If you are bored writing then your reader will be bored reading.

3. READ: it opens your mind and gives you ideas.

4. Focus on one chapter at a time.

5. Give yourself a daily word count.

6. Let yourself feel the emotion your writing. Let yourself cry.

7. Be willing to write garbage – don’t try to be perfect.

8. Know when to let the book go.

9. Stay calm and breathe.

10. Learn to take the critique

11. When you write, write! That’s all that should be going on in your mind, no distractions!

12. Write a book you would like to read: write what inspires you.

I am so thankful to Jennifer Niven for all her advice, I’m so happy I came across her website. I will make sure I keep up to date with her magazine website too, to find out even more about the fascinating industry she works in! Check out her website:, it’s great!

Also give her books a read, All the Bright Places is my new favourite book, and I really can’t wait to read some of her others.

Emily Jane xo

*image is NOT my own. Google images.

All the Bright Places. 

All the Bright Places is a young adult fiction book written by Jennifer Niven. I have one word I have to describe the book; heartbreaking! Although, I don’t want this to put you off; it has become one of my favourite books. I hate to say that the book has changed me, everybody says that about certain books, but I can honestly hold my hands up and say that this book has made me think so deeply about life and the certain issues explored. It is such a strong and heavy themed book which has been written beautifully about such sensitive topics. I highly recommend that everyone should read this book in their lifetime. It. Is. Amazing.

The main theme explored in the book is Mental illness which both main characters suffer from, but in different ways. Mental illness is such a sensitive topic in real life which isnt really spoken about to most people’s horror. It is something real people deal with on a daily basis and this book shows just how powerful the effects of mental health can be; its portrayed in such a clever way. It’s makes you think and realise just what people go through. Another strong theme in this book is Friendship and Romance. The relationship that develops between the two main characters is magical but real. There is also a strong sense of friendship through the two main characters friendship groups too. Family is also a topic touched beautifully in the book. The contradiction between both characters families is so incredibly different, showing how families can be both caring and cruel. There is a huge sense of identity explored too, but I won’t ruin this one for you. The book touches upon other important themes to fit the genre, but you’ll have to read the book to find out more! It is an incredibly strong book, with a very powerful message.

Violet Markey has lost her sister in a tragic accident and she tries to end her own life on top of the bell tower where she first meets Theodore Finch, a very troubled boy who is also contemplating death. They decide to be partners in a geography project and travel around Indiana together visiting the most magnificent places. They are faced with difficult circumstances towards the end and there’s a massive shock ending, which I do not want to spoil!

The story of a girl who learns to live for a boy who wants to die”

This really was a book that kept you guessing, I couldn’t possibly think what was going to happen next, it just kept on surprising me. The huge shock at the end was something that I never expected either, it’s really not what you expect from a book, I wont say anymore! All I will say is that it is a truely amazing story about two fascinating characters.

Although there are repeated characters that pop up now and again in this book, it concentrates mainly on the lives of Theodore Finch and Violet Markey. The book uses a point of view writing style with each chapter alternating between the two main characters viewpoints of each day. This fits perfectly with the solid themes of the book as we are reading all about their personal views and are experiencing their feelings directly. I personally loved this aspect of the book, it was much more enjoyable and made it a lot easier to follow the story. A very interesting way to approach writing a book in my opinion.

Theodore Finch is such a puzzling yet fascinating, unique character. I loved his character because he is not like your ordinary main character that you can fully relate too. He was so hard to understand at times and you didn’t know what was going to come from him next. He is a very troubled young man but that’s all I want to tell you. He is possibly one of my favourite ever book characters. Violet Markey was completely different, a completely different personality. She was a lot easier to understand and relate to as she is the typical female book character. However, with what she goes through in the story, there are a few hidden sides to the character. Another great character, that I loved reading the thoughts off. I fully connected with her too because of her love to write. Their relationship in the book is what made the story so fulfilling but eventually truly heartbreaking.

I absolutely loved the travel aspect of the book, I envied all the different places they visited and wanted to go myself. I thought it was a great way to show the developing relationship between the two characters. It was a very thoughtful story with so many different places included, such romantic and playful places too. The setting is always a really important part of a book for me and this was one of the best situated stories I have ever read. I just loved everything about the story.

I think you can tell by now that I really really loved this book. I could have written so much more about it but I didn’t want to bore you too much ha! The emotions I experienced throughout this book was unreal. There were lovely, light hearted chapters but also very morbid and tense ones that really affected me. I’ve laughed and I’ve cried like a baby! Certain scenes stood out massively to me, and I don’t think I will ever forgot them, they really pulled on my heart strings! I can’t quite believe how a book can change so many views and thoughts on life but this book really has. The strong unique themes explored are touched so perfectly and extremely sympathetically. I honestly don’t have anything bad to say about this book I was extremely satisfied with all aspects of the story. I actually felt heart broken the minute I read the last word of the book, not on,y because of what happens but because the book had finished! It was written so beautifully, gripping me from start to finish, I just wanted to keep turning the pages, I didn’t want to put the book down! I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! And really can’t wait to read some of Jennifer Nivens other books. I adore her style of writing. 

Sorry for the long post, this book is just so important to me!

Emily Jane xo

P.S Make sure you have a pack of tissues ready before you start reading..

* image is NOT my own. From google images.

Matilda The Musical.

A few weeks ago now I visited London with my family and we went to see ‘Matilda The Musical‘ at the Cambridge theatre. It was a really fantastic show, that I will never forget! I really did enjoy it from start to finish. Ive always loved Roald Dahl’s stories from a very young age and it was great to see it performed in live action. The director Matthew Warchus has put together a truly spectacular show which combines new ideas and treasured memories from the original book and film. I highly recommend you go and watch it the next time your in London.

Matilda is a very popular story that most people know, everyone loves Roald Dahl! The show followed the original story perfectly but added certain elements, such as story telling from Matilda herself, in the show to play out some of the stories events. Matilda is a very clever young girl who isn’t respected by her bitter parents. Her parents don’t agree with her wanting to learn but eventually agree to let her attend school at an early age. Miss Honey is Matilda’s new teacher and she spots her potential from the moment she meets her. We meet Ms Truchble who is an evil, wicked women who is the headmaster of the school and makes the children’s lifes hell. We find out she is Miss Honeys auntie and how she treated her as a child and Matilda uses her magical powers to get rid of Ms Truchble once and for all! It’s a fantastic little story, with great humour and family drama.

The acting was incredibly strong from all characters which was a present surprise with most of them being children. Sara Sheen who played Matilda was a fantastic little actress who really put on a suberb performance. How she managed to remember all those challenging words I do not know! I didn’t even know some of the words myself! She was very impressive. Craige Els who played Ms Truchble was spectacular! We originally thought it would be strange for a male to play this particular female character but it was just what the part needed. He was the most memberable character and by far my favourite; he was just brilliant! Michael Begley who portrayed Mr Wormwood (Matilda’s Dad) also stood out to me as he was hilarious; every time he was on stage I could not stop laughing! His camp stance and hilarious walk was genius.

The set design unfortunately wasn’t as spectacular as I would have hoped. There were only really three main sets that were used during the show. I do think they could have incorporated a few other places to tell the story even more affectively. However, the three sets were greatly put together and used in the best possible way. The school classroom set stood out to me, I loved how the tables were used in so many different ways, a very clever use of set. This may be why they thought other sets were not needed. The props were very playful which fit perfectly with the school environment. The big swings, were a personal favourite, I just wanted to jump on the stage and join in!

The best part of the show for me were the song and dance performances by all the main characters and dancers. As mentioned above the swings scene was my favourite, where the cast sang, ‘When I grow up‘ and did their fantastic swinging sequences. This was a great aspect of the show, it fit the story perfectly; it was is a truely fantastic idea in my eyes. All the other singing and dance performances were great too. There were some great songs in the show, hats off too Tim Minchin the music composer.

I really enjoyed the performance and so did my family. It’s a real fun loving, happy show that I highly recommend to everyone, especially young children! The acting was superb, the songs were so catchy and the overall direction and performance was fantastic. Go and see it when your next in London, you will not be disappointed!

Emily Jane xo