Before I start this review, I would like to say Happy Thanksgiving to those in America who celebrate!
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera.
Published by Soho Teen on June 2nd, 2015.
Genre(s): Contemporary with a twist.
My Format and Page Count: Hardcover// 293 Pages.
Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.
The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto – miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor or how his friends aren’t always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough.
Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he’s can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.
“I’ve become this happiness scavenger who picks away at the ugliness of the world, because if there’s happiness tucked away in my tragedies, I’ll find it no matter what. If the blind can find joy in music, and the deaf can discover it with colors, I will do my best to always find the sun in the darkness because my life isn’t one sad ending—it’s a series of endless happy beginnings.”
There are a couple of trigger warnings for this book, those being Suicide, Depression, and gay bashing.
Adam Silvera is an author I always wanted to read from, so this is my first novel by him. He did not let me down. This is the first time I have ever read a book and saw a main character I relate to on a personal level. That being said, I loved this novel. There were some points that bored me a bit, but for the most part this book kept my attention. #OwnVoices literature is so important, so it is nice to see people on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum writing. The main character, Aaron, went through a coming out experience similar to what thousands of teens, so this is definitely a book that should be accessible to a younger audience. It has a heart breaking ending, but does eventually end happily.
Gay Main Character: LGBT+ literature is important. If it is written by an LGBT identifying author, it makes it all the better. This book follows a gay main character who struggles to accept himself, especially due to the area he lives. He goes through some of the same struggles as gay teens in real life, and has some of the same thoughts. This is a very important contemporary novel with a twist.
Contemporary with a Twist: This book may come off as a contemporary novel, but it has a slight twist to it. It takes place in a near future, one that has a procedure called the Leteo procedure. It erases certain memories that the person no longer wants to relive, or can even change a whole part of a person. This is such an interesting take on the contemporary genre, giving a strong story an even larger edge.
The Characters: Adam Silvera wrote a diverse cast of characters living in the Bronx. There were characters you hated, characters you loved, and even characters that you weren’t sure of how to feel about. He does a great job especially with Aaron and Collin, the two gay characters. Aaron is the main character, and him being gay comes out of nowhere. The reasoning for this is revealed towards the end. Collin is the type to refuse to accept the fact that he is gay, and doesn’t really change throughout the novel.
Curve Balls: I am not going to go into this too much, but this book threw a lot of curve balls. Right when you think you know where it is going, it takes a sharp turn and goes elsewhere. This is definitely something I liked.
The Relationships: I appreciated every relationship in this book. Some weren’t healthy, hell, most weren’t healthy, but they were realistic. They all served as a what not to do guide.
There are not any notable cons to this book.
- Aaron and Collin: I appreciated this relationship. It showed 2 gay guys secretly dating even though they have girlfriends. Although the situation is screwed up, it does happen in real life, so I appreciate the addition of this. Collins character in general was a nice addition to the story.
- Aaron’s Procedure: I was completely shook when it was revealed Aaron already had the procedure done… but it made sense. It gave us insight onto why he never saw any red flags as to being gay. It also revealed that he had a relationship with Collin.
- Aaron’s Friends: When Aaron’s friends jumped him I was pissed. What assholes? All because he is gay? That just shows how nasty this world can be.
- Thomas: I thought this book was going to be stereotypical. Best friends end up with each other. When it was revealed Thomas is straight I was surprised, but it was necessary. It shows everything doesn’t always turn out perfect.
- Amnesia: Once again, this had me shook. I had NO idea this is how the book was going to turn out. Aaron is left with a certain kind of Amnesia, one that leaves him with short-term memory loss. It was a heart breaking conclusion, but he did end up with his happy ending.
*Spoiler Section Ends*
Overall, this book felt real. I appreciate what Silvera did, giving us real characters who identified as gay. I am excited to read more of his works.
My Rating: 4.75/5 Stars.
Would I Recommend?
– I think this is an important read for teens struggling with their identity. Even if you are not, this may teach you what goes on in the minds of LGBT teens. Read it!!