More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Full disclosure, Adam Silvera and I share the same agent, but I had many more reasons than that to eagerly read his debut YA novel, MORE HAPPY THAN NOT. When it came out, glowing reviews filled my twitter stream, and since then, it has gone on to garner an enviable list of accolades and awards.
All of them deserved.
It's hard a hard book to review, since the less said about it, the better, but I can tell you it's a complex and daring coming-of-age story. Set in the Bronx in the almost-present, it touches on issues of class, sexual identity, and the personal and societal pressures of fitting in. Actually, it doesn't touch on those issues. It immerses itself in them, diving headfirst into the mucky deep end, and it doesn't let you sit on the side while it splashes around, either. No, it pushes you deep into the mire and mess of teenage identity, and when it's over, it doesn't clean you back up. Silvera leaves you searching for answers in the same complicated, but strangely hopeful, world in which he places his characters.
The book is definitely on the more adulty-side of Young Adult. It is narrated by Aaron Soto, a teenaged fan of comics and games that he's really too old for, and Aaron's voice is raw and matter-of-fact about his life, including his sexual experiences and his attempted suicide. There's a healthy dose of science fiction thrown in, but I'd hesitate to call it a science fiction novel. Instead, Silvera has managed to make one of those rare books that comes along only every once in a while. A life novel, more real than not.
An excellent read. Highly recommended.