History Is All You Left Me, by Adam Silvera
Publisher: Soho Press
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.
To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.
If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.
I’m so glad I buddy read this book because Silvera has a way of tearing the reader apart piece by piece and there were so many times when I needed someone to talk to about it. It’s a heartbreaking ride but as we go along he slowly puts us back together and shows us that no matter how bad our circumstances are, it always gets better. We may be forever changed and we may never forget the past but we will be able to smile again.
Let me start by saying that the writing is beyond beautiful. It’s tragic and raw but it’s also funny and hopeful. I loved how witty these kids are. Their honesty in admitting their feelings, the playfulness and off-the-cuff creativity when they’re just being… kids, being themselves. Silvera writes very relatable characters and in this book it was Griffin who I saw so much of myself in. From the adorable moments of his and Theo’s first date to the pain he goes through when his first love is no longer in his life. I think this story will hit home for anyone who’s ever experienced young love. Something that I really liked about Griffin was that even though he has insecurities, he’s aware of them and willing to talk about them. He also just wants Theo to be happy which, to me, made him seem mature for his age. From what I remember of high school not many kids put other’s happiness before their own.
This isn’t a straightforward story, though. On top of how hard it would be to lose someone you care for deeply, the addition of Jackson and Wade adds to the already overwhelming story arc. There are so many different facets that are detailed layer upon layer that my mind was teeming with questions. Just when they start to get answered, we’re given additional clues that only lead to more questions. To say the story is thought-provoking would be an understatement. There’s so much happening that I pondered this book days after finishing it. I’m still thinking about it. While reading, at one point my friend asked me if I was still liking the book and I said “I’m loving it but I don’t know why because it sucks,” and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s deep and it grabbed me in a way that I tuned everything else out, and then I was in it. I was in NYC, at the park with them, on the train, and having my heart stomped on.
I don’t think I can get through this review without mentioning how mournful the book is at times. I felt like I was grieving with the characters over the loss of Theo. I understood why Griffin would turn to Jackson for answers and comfort but it was sometimes difficult to read. You’ll definitely want to keep a box of tissues handy. I think I felt every possible emotion while reading and kept thinking Silvera was trying to kill me with feels. At one point I felt like I had been emotionally cleansed because at the height of the anguish, tension and hurt, it felt like everything was coming apart at the seams. The flood gates opened and I cried and felt drained when it was over. Thankfully there was a lot of good to balance out all of that sad.
“You’re always going to be my first favorite human. No one can steal that from you. But now I have to get it together and allow room for more favorite people, to trust that Wade and Jackson are worthy of their own crowns.”
There is a plot twist and I never saw it coming. In hindsight, yes, I see the signs now but on the first read through the surprise nearly knocked me off my feet. This is one thing that bothered me at first because it seemed too convenient to change the course of the book but once I came to accept it, I liked the change. I started to have hope that things were finally looking up and believing that it would get better. What came next confirmed these feelings and I don’t think I’ve ever been more relieved.
It was interesting to see Griffin work through all of the thoughts in his head as he tries to figure out what has happened and how he feels about all of it. He has to grow up a lot faster than other kids and he learns a lot along the way.
“Puzzles are sort of like life because you can mess up and rebuild later, and you’re likely smarter the next time around.”
To sum it up, this book slayed me. You should run, not walk, to your favorite outlet and get it today.
Adam Silvera was born and raised in the Bronx. He has worked in the publishing industry as a children’s bookseller, marketing assistant at a literary development company, and book reviewer of children’s and young adult novels. His debut novel, More Happy Than Not, received multiple starred reviews and is a New York Times bestseller, and Adam was selected as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start. He writes full-time in New York City and is tall for no reason.
Represented by Brooks Sherman of the Bent Agency.
You can purchase HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME from:
Barnes & Noble
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.