Friday, January 6, 2017

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Summary from Goodreads:
In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving New York Times bestselling-debut—also called “mandatory reading” and selected as an Editors' Choice by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.

In the months after his father's suicide, it's been tough for sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again—but he's still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he's slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron's crew notices, and they're not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can't deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can't stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?
I knew I was going to love this one. I attended a “We Need Diverse Books” panel at a library conference about a year ago, and Adam Silvera was one of the speakers. First off, after listening to him speak for about 30 seconds, I wanted to be this man’s best friend. And after I heard him talk about his book, I knew I needed to get my hands on his novel immediately. I bought the book when it came out in paperback. And it took me way too long to get to it. What was I waiting for?
I guess I was technically waiting for a vacation so I’d have an opportunity to pack several paperbacks and take a break from ARCs and library books. I’m so glad I did because I loved all the books I read on vacation, particularly this one.
This was the kind of book that gives goosebumps. It’s dark, twisted, authentic, incredibly sad, harsh, and beautiful all at the same time. When explaining it to people, I have to bring in the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” It’s like a better, more YA version of that movie, with a gay love story attached.
This book deals with heavy things: suicide, hate crimes, growing up poor, grief, depression, and pain. But, it’s also about falling in love for the first time. It’s about art. It’s about learning who you are and accepting who you are. It’s about growing up in the worst of circumstances and making the best of what you have.
I cried at several different moments while reading this. I have to admit that some of the plot was a little bit spoiled for me by the author during his panel…Yet, if it wasn’t, I might not have read it, so I’m 100% okay with it.
If a surgery existed that could erase the most painful memories from your life, would you have it? And would it work to change your sexual orientation? Could a guy forget that he was gay? Could forgetting crucial memories make you a happier/better version of yourself?
There are so many layers to this book that I wish I could dissect right now, but I then would be giving too much away. Just know that reading this felt different. It felt like when I read Fight Club for the first time as a teenager. I knew I was reading something special and that I might not figure out why it was so special until the end, and maybe not even then. This is a book that I can’t get out of my head, nor do I want to. It would make for a great book club book. I can’t recommend it enough. I give it a 10/10.

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