My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Adam Silvera’s debut, MORE HAPPY THAT NOT, was one of my favorite reads of 2016. Seriously, if you still haven't read MORE HAPPY THAN NOT, stop reading this review and go read that book.
After such an amazing debut, I had high hopes for Silvera’s newest book, HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME. And the book did not disappoint.
Griffin is a high school boy grieving the death of his first love, Theo. Yes, Silvera ripped my heart out and stepped on it. No, that wasn’t a spoiler. We learn in the first chapter that Theo is dead. Silvera brilliantly tells the story by alternating chapters between the past and the present. In the “history” we learn how Griffin and Theo’s relationship evolved, while in the present we have Griffin grieving his loss, coping with his OCD, and trying to make sense of his conflicting emotions. And even though we know the “history” culminates in Theo’s death, there is still a surprise ending that I totally did not see coming.
This isn’t an LGBT book that deals with the social pressures about coming out. In fact, the coming out moment was pretty uneventful. Theo and Griffin come out to their parents at a party, they smile and hug and take a few pictures, and then we move on. This isn’t a story about gay relationships. It’s the story about relationships. Teenagers are having sex (safely!) and experiencing the same teen angst that any gay, straight, or bi teenager would. It was downright refreshing how every single character was cool about Griffin and Theo being gay. Special thanks to the author for making the gay factor be completely unimportant.
I’ll admit that at one point I struggled with Griffin’s character. I went from loving him to absolutely hating him. This is a very dangerous moment for me as a reader. If I hate a character, there is a good chance I’m going to put down the book (who wants to spend time with a character they hate?). There came a point where I wanted to shake Griffin. He was a complete destructive jerk. I understood why he behaved this way—grief is a terrible thing to deal with—but at one point I moved beyond feeling sorry for Griffin to really disliking him. But then just when I thought I could take no more of his attitude….BAM! Magic! The author whips some sense into Griffin and I’m swooning.
Adam Silvera’s HISTORY IS ALL YOU LET ME is a book that you will remember for a long time.