29th January to 1st February ~ Audio ~ Link to Goodreads
Trigger Warning: Suicide
Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut novel offers a unique confrontation of race, class and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.
When it first gets announced, the Leteo Institute’s memory-alteration procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto—miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor, how his friends all seem to shrug him off, and how his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. He 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 doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession over the Scorpius Hawthorne books and has a sweet movie set-up on his roof. There are nicknames. Aaron’s not only able to be himself, but happiness feels easy with Thomas. The love Aaron discovers may cost him what’s left of his life, but since Aaron can’t suddenly stop being gay Leteo may be the only way out.
This review is going to be a tough one to articulate but I’m going to try. I listened to this on audio as I’m looking forward to History is All You Left Me but hadn’t read any other Silvera books.
I didn’t warm to most of the characters and I found the plot to be a little jumpy and disconnected but I’ll touch on that more further on because I want to talk first about what I loved. I adored that this books got me thinking so much! I really found myself thinking about my struggle with grief at age 15 after my father suddenly passed and then it got me wondering how well I’d have been able to cope if I was struggling with coming to terms with who I am too.
I found Aaron to be quite selfish and frustrating but when I took a minute to really think about his situation dealing with grief and confusion I started to warm to him a little. This didn’t last too long though as I found a lot of his actions to be quite grating. For example he tends to over idolise his girlfriend and Thomas, I appreciate when you love and care for people you want to see the good but this got a little daft for me as he never saw any bad or any flaws what-so-ever especially in the beginning.
I’m afraid I can’t remember the girlfriends name I believe he calls her G a few times so that’s how I’ll refer to her. I found that I could relate pretty well to G in the beginning. In my teens I was in two relationships with guys who later came out as gay and a lot of how she acts and what she does and the blindness to certain behaviors was quite reminiscent for me. In the second half of the book though I grew a little colder towards her, it got me questioning why she was with him in the first place knowing what she knew, did she really expect him to change and not be who he was?
When we find out the big reveal at the end I felt like I should have seen it coming a lot sooner. This is also where my mind was racing with what I thought about the situation. I think I found it quite uncomfortable that in this day in age people not only don’t accept themselves but go to drastic and dangerous measures to change who they are. On the one hand I do understand that people still struggle but I kind of wish the book ended on more of an uplifting and positive inspiring note. Instead I was left wondering if this was really the end?
Overall: It was okay, I wasn’t in love with it but I also didn’t completely hate it. It really got me thinking but at times it did make me uncomfortable.
This book represents the LGBTQ+ community and I believe there are POC in the book too. I believe the representation was handled well for some but not for all. To explain this I can see how it highlights some serious issues people go through when they are ready to come out. However a part of me feels like it doesn’t really have a helpful conclusion for those who are struggling with these situations in real life. I’d love to know your thoughts on the representation to help me learn.
Have you read More Happy Than Not?
Do you think the themes were handled well throughout?
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