More Happy Than Not
In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving debut—called “mandatory reading” by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.In the months after his father's suicide, it's been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again--but he's still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he's slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely. When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron's crew notices, and they're not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can't deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can't stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is. Why does happiness have to be so hard?

More Happy Than Not Details

TitleMore Happy Than Not
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 2nd, 2015
PublisherSoho Teen
ISBN1616955600
ISBN-139781616955601
Number of pages304 pages
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Glbt, Fiction

More Happy Than Not Review

  • Kat O'Keeffe
    June 2, 2015
    WOW. Halfway through this book I thought I had it all figured out. I WAS VERY VERY WRONG IN A VERY VERY GOOD WAY. This book was touching and thoughtful and man oh man, does it pack an emotional punch. Awesome debut, definitely recommended, and I'm looking forward to reading more by Adam Silvera in the future!
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  • Adam Silvera
    December 17, 2013
    ADAM NOTE: MORE HAPPY THAN NOT is my debut novel, and there was a time where I believed this book was never going to be seen by others after rejections and nonsense. But it's here! And it's about a boy who is considering a memory-alteration procedure to forget he's gay because leading a life as a straight teen would probably be way easier for him. It's about science versus nature, friendship, sexuality, and a quest for happiness. I hope every book I put out into the universe feels as special and ADAM NOTE: MORE HAPPY THAN NOT is my debut novel, and there was a time where I believed this book was never going to be seen by others after rejections and nonsense. But it's here! And it's about a boy who is considering a memory-alteration procedure to forget he's gay because leading a life as a straight teen would probably be way easier for him. It's about science versus nature, friendship, sexuality, and a quest for happiness. I hope every book I put out into the universe feels as special and FAVORITE-y as this one does to me.
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  • Emily May
    September 13, 2014
    “This is still an ugly world.” I opened with that quote for a reason - while definitely entertaining, More Happy Than Not is a dark, sad book that deals with homophobia, depression and suicide. The quirky dialogue and nerdy references to comic books, Star Wars and action heroes are much needed to lighten up an otherwise very distressing novel.Personally, I do not think the promised big twist is particularly hard to guess if you've read the description and (view spoiler)[seen the movie this is “This is still an ugly world.” I opened with that quote for a reason - while definitely entertaining, More Happy Than Not is a dark, sad book that deals with homophobia, depression and suicide. The quirky dialogue and nerdy references to comic books, Star Wars and action heroes are much needed to lighten up an otherwise very distressing novel.Personally, I do not think the promised big twist is particularly hard to guess if you've read the description and (view spoiler)[seen the movie this is being compared to (hide spoiler)], but I don't think much hangs on it anyway. Because this book is an overlapping of several stories and themes, each one as powerful as the last. It's about coming to terms with ones sexuality, it's about friendship, it's about memory and forgetting, it's a love story, and it's about choosing to be happy, despite the sad.Oh, and it's also one of the most diverse books I've ever read. And, unlike other books that try to do many things at once, all the many themes are executed well. "From the shapes cast by the green paper lantern, you would never know that there were two boys sitting closely to one another trying to find themselves. You would only see shadows hugging, indiscriminate." The story is about Aaron, who is trying to pick himself up after both his father's suicide and his own attempted suicide. He can't turn to his family or guy friends, and his girlfriend tries to be supportive but Aaron doesn't really feel able to talk to her either. When sweet, eccentric Thomas comes along, he's everything Aaron needs in his life and more. Suddenly, Aaron has to deal with the realization that he's gay in a place where being gay isn't welcomed, or choose to not deal with it - by going to the Leteo institute and having his memories taken away.Obviously a book about depression, suicide and homophobia would be sad, but I think it's the other little things that make More Happy Than Not an emotional read. Like the suggestion running behind every event in the book that sometimes life doesn't turn out the way you wanted it to and you don't always get what you longed for, and the message that wiping it all away (either through suicide or memory loss) isn't the answer. And the fact that wiping away memories doesn't change who you are. And the love story. Don't be fooled into thinking this is another cute teen romance, though it definitely is cute at times. It's built up gradually through friendship, geekery and mutual understanding, until it's something else... “He rubs his face and his eyes squint; a tear escapes. “You didn’t have to take my side, Stretch.” I kind of, sort of, definitely always will. I'm serious, though, this isn't a nice book. You've been warned. The teens might have cute moments, but they're also real teens who masturbate, watch porn and curse (though there's not a lot of profanity if that bothers you). And ALL the characters are well-developed, confused and often funny.In short, More Happy Than Not is a blend of light and dark, happiness and not-happiness, and it's incredibly effective. If I were cheesy I'd call it unforgettable. Ah well, it's nearly Friday so... it's unforgettable. Go read it.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
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  • Lola Reviewer
    February 18, 2015
    POWERFUL. POIGNANT. INDISPENSABLE BOOK. Oh, damn, what a rollercoaster of emotions this was. Havoc in my heart. I wish I could say that it made me smile or laugh or dream, but that would be lying to you and myself. It is very unlikely that you will turn the last page and sigh, hand on your heart and stars in your eyes. You will very likely be clutching at your heart, in fear that it will break. In hindsight, I realize that I had no idea what I was getting into. When I heard people qualifying thi POWERFUL. POIGNANT. INDISPENSABLE BOOK. Oh, damn, what a rollercoaster of emotions this was. Havoc in my heart. I wish I could say that it made me smile or laugh or dream, but that would be lying to you and myself. It is very unlikely that you will turn the last page and sigh, hand on your heart and stars in your eyes. You will very likely be clutching at your heart, in fear that it will break. In hindsight, I realize that I had no idea what I was getting into. When I heard people qualifying this book as ‘‘sad’’ and ‘‘gut-wrenching’’, I thought that they were straight out exaggerating. They weren’t. But while I wish I could make a camp fire out of this book and watch it distort itself into nothingness, I’m also glad that I read it. Homophobia still exists. Suicides still happen. Hearts still break. I don’t know anyone who would willingly dive into a book and hope for it to shatter them. I do, however, know that those themes are ones that undoubtedly hurt but are important, because they’re sadly apart of this world and the more we read about them, the more we understand what they are, what they mean. And knowledge is everything, isn’t that right?I won’t say that this book ia beautiful or wonderful, but I will admit that it is unforgettable. I can’t imagine someone finishing it and just carrying on with their lives, letting oblivion steal every thought concerning MORE HAPPY THAN NOT. It’s just not possible. The characters—Aaron—will always stay with me, and that’s okay. It’s okay because I want them to linger in my mind. It’s okay because they deserve to. Sometimes pain is so unmanageable that the idea of spending another day with it seems impossible. Other times pain acts as a compass to help you get through the messier tunnels of growing up. But the pain can help you find happiness if you can remember it. ________________________________________I have to read this book. Here's why:If you don't know the lovely Becky Albertalli, she's the author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. ❤
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  • Raeleen Lemay
    January 23, 2015
    Wow. Wow wow wow.This book blew my mind.
  • Catriona (LittleBookOwl)
    July 5, 2016
    4.5/5 stars!
  • Thomas
    June 2, 2015
    Reading More Happy Than Not and witnessing the SCOTUS decision on gay marriage has made me a super emotional wreck this week, in the best way possible. This book may even tie Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe for my favorite YA book, and if anyone here has read my review of Saenz's story, you know that means high praise. So, without further ado, I give you:Five Reasons Why More Happy Than Not has Renewed My Faith in YA Fiction:1) This book is so freaking sad. Forget plots Reading More Happy Than Not and witnessing the SCOTUS decision on gay marriage has made me a super emotional wreck this week, in the best way possible. This book may even tie Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe for my favorite YA book, and if anyone here has read my review of Saenz's story, you know that means high praise. So, without further ado, I give you:Five Reasons Why More Happy Than Not has Renewed My Faith in YA Fiction:1) This book is so freaking sad. Forget plots about an uninterested love interest or an absent parent or a group of vampires gone awry. More Happy Than Not transcends the typical YA story by incorporating themes of loss and self-regret in mature, oftentimes open-ended ways. Yes, Adam Silvera ties in comic books, video games, and other normal aspects of adolescent life into the book. However, he still manages to capture and reflect the convoluted suffering so many teens go through on a day-to-day basis because of factors like their sexuality. I 100% wish that this book had been there for me when I struggled with my gayness as a middle school student, and I feel so glad knowing that it is available to young folk now.2) This book deals with sexuality in a complex and multifaceted way. Some say writers should stop writing coming out stories. Others say that we will always need coming out stories. I say that we should find an in between, that we should take contemporary society into account and create books that exemplify our progress while still honoring those in less fortunate families and/or situations. More Happy Than Not does just that, because though it may look like a coming out story at first glance, it compounds and deepens Aaron's journey: though his sexuality may play a huge part in the book, it only really scratches the surface of Aaron's character and his experiences, a fabulous move by Silvera. A short quote that portrays just an ounce of the rawness within this novel:"I'm the liar, not him. I lied to Genevieve, to my friends, to everyone. But I've pushed my limit and here's the truth: this is the most painfully confusing time in life and he's the first person who said all the right words to me and reminds me of the first days of summer where you leave home without jacket, and my favorite songs playing over and over. And now he may never talk to me again."3) This book is just super diverse in general. It weaves in memory loss and retrieval, race, both accepting and non-accepting friends and family, a girlfriend, class, and a sort-of-maybe boyfriend, and more. Unlike other authors, Silvera writes these themes and motifs into his story in a way that radiates authenticity and emotion; it never feels like he throws them in just for the sake of throwing them in. Each disparate part of the plot adds onto other elements of the plot, creating a thorough and seamless book that reads without a hitch.4) This book's characters are basically perfect. They are perfect because of their splendid imperfections. Silvera imbues every individual in this book with a sense of reality: not only are they diverse in race, gender, age, and occupation, but they also vary in their likability and the mistakes they make. All of these characters - Thomas, Aaron's closest friend, Aaron's mother, who cares about Aaron with all of her heart, even Aaron himself - have internal and external struggles they must deal with, and each of them do so in messy, honest ways. While it would have been easy to construct a single antagonist for the entire story, Silvera sticks to creating complicated and substantial characters, people you will find yourself thinking about long after finish the novel.5) This book is hopeful. Despite the layers of sadness and despair rooted in More Happy Than Not, Silvera makes sure to blend in messages of redemption, joy, and bittersweet acceptance throughout the story. Aaron's happiness does not come easy; it is the product of physical and mental pain, heartbreak, and great loss. However, Silvera shows the complexity of life, how its most aching moments may lead to its most serene satisfactions, and how in the end we all must maintain a never-ending hope, both for ourselves and for others. This book highlights one of the main reasons I read young-adult fiction: to empathize with the deep emotions that come from great adversity and to remind myself that our worst suffering often brings our brightest light. Silvera shows us that light, its fragile beauty and its gentle strength. One last small quote, from one of my favorite scenes in the story:"But for tonight, this is enough. From the shapes cast by the green paper lantern, you would never know that were were two boys sitting closely to one another trying to find themselves. You would only see shadows hugging, indiscriminate." If Silvera's debut novel acts as any indication, he has a long and successful writing career ahead of him. If he continues to produce, I can already see "Silvera" as a trademark in YA, similar to "Dessen" or "Sanchez" or "Stiefvater." I cannot wait to read History Is All You Left Me in 2016. I cannot wait to see what other people think of this book.
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  • Kai
    June 11, 2015
    “The boy with no direction taught me something unforgettable: happiness comes again if you let it.”I've waited so so long(well, since this was released I guess) to read this. This was one of my most anticipated books of 2015 and it did not let me down.Adam Silvera seems to be a cool guy. I like the way he interacts on social media, I think he's quite funny and so is his writing style. Maybe not his novel(because yeah it is kind of sad) but definitely his writing style.This was a page-turner from “The boy with no direction taught me something unforgettable: happiness comes again if you let it.”I've waited so so long(well, since this was released I guess) to read this. This was one of my most anticipated books of 2015 and it did not let me down.Adam Silvera seems to be a cool guy. I like the way he interacts on social media, I think he's quite funny and so is his writing style. Maybe not his novel(because yeah it is kind of sad) but definitely his writing style.This was a page-turner from start to finish. I really got a feeling for the protagonist's surroundings, his family and friends. And I don't know why but I pictured Aaron as Adam all the time...I mean even the names are quite alike. And the tallness. And the gayness. And the living-in-the-Bronxness.And I guess while this could have just been a wonderful bittersweet, kind of tragic YA love story, the science-fiction in there added an utterly intruiging and devastating edge to it. More Happy Than Not took me by surprise, big time. Not only once (Part Zero) but twice (No More Tomorrows).The only thing that bugged me, is that I could not get lost in it. While I felt for Aaron, I did not feel with Aaron. That would have made it a 5 star rating.Find more of my books on Instagram
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  • Becky Albertalli
    December 21, 2013
    THIS BOOK. I'm getting choked up just thinking about it. I'll avoid posting details for now, but suffice it to say that:1. Aaron's voice is pitch-perfect, and it's impossible to read this book without falling in love with him.2. It is full of surprises and twists and emotional highs and lows, to the point where putting the book down is almost physically painful.3. It will break your heart in the best possible way.Beautiful, beautiful book.
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  • Maureen
    September 3, 2016
    Well EVERYONE WAS RIGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK BEING EMOTIONAL IT IS FINE I AM FINE.I really REALLY liked this book and it is SO SO important and so great and just GAH.It wasn't perfect, but the story was so compelling and the characters were so great and just EVERYTHING.In the first half of the book it seems like things are happening really fast and the character development, especially in relationships, feels a little rushed, but then the middle of the book hits and EVERYTHING MAKES SENSE. The last h Well EVERYONE WAS RIGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK BEING EMOTIONAL IT IS FINE I AM FINE.I really REALLY liked this book and it is SO SO important and so great and just GAH.It wasn't perfect, but the story was so compelling and the characters were so great and just EVERYTHING.In the first half of the book it seems like things are happening really fast and the character development, especially in relationships, feels a little rushed, but then the middle of the book hits and EVERYTHING MAKES SENSE. The last half is definitely where this book shines.All in all not perfect, but very VERY good.
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  • Brian Yahn
    March 14, 2016
    Adam Silvera's writing immediately absorbed me into the life of Aaron Soto--a troubled youth anxious to lose his virginity. And making the obvious comparison of the Leteo Institute's memory procedure to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I was definitely intrigued to see where the story would go, especially since I was enjoying the prose so much. The realness of it swept me away like The Catcher in the Rye.Predictably, this isn't just a story about a kid losing his virginity. No, it quickly Adam Silvera's writing immediately absorbed me into the life of Aaron Soto--a troubled youth anxious to lose his virginity. And making the obvious comparison of the Leteo Institute's memory procedure to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I was definitely intrigued to see where the story would go, especially since I was enjoying the prose so much. The realness of it swept me away like The Catcher in the Rye.Predictably, this isn't just a story about a kid losing his virginity. No, it quickly moves into a new direction, into what seems to be a new instalove relationship, and the way it does so is cliched and corny and awkward and ruins that awesome sense of realness. But that relationship evolves into a plot-based romance thriller, which completely explains that early awkward stage, making it more than excusable, making it justified. The realness seeps back into the story through twists and turns and revelations of dark character secrets that propel the story in a page-turning fashion right up to the end, a finish that unfortunately didn't satisfy me.More Happy Than Not is definitely more good than not, but there's still too many flaws for it to be great. It makes coming out appear as an unimaginably terrible experience, when for most English speakers it's almost completely the opposite. Then there's these suicidal subplots, which just really rubbed me the wrong way. Add in the formation of Aaron and Thomas's relationship, the foundation on which this book is written, and the whole story becomes questionable. I just couldn't buy two people becoming so incredibly close in THREE weeks. Romeo and Juliet might be a little more extreme, sure, but Aaron and Thomas aren't too far behind. And the way the story ends, it's neither good nor bad, it just sort of is--like, unfortunately, too much of this story.
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  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    February 24, 2017
    This book was just really sad, at least to me. All of the things Aaron went through is just too much. No one should ever have to go through that kind of stuff. And the Leteo Institute, I have no words.
  • Bangadybangz
    July 30, 2015
    Really enjoyed this one, because a) I read it in the Caribbean, and b) its a very engaging story with likable (and despicable) characters and a genuinely shocking twist. Definitely recommend, especially if you're looking for good LGBTQ oriented books
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  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    June 22, 2015
    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ "It's okay how some stories leave off without an ending. Life doesn't always deliver the one you would expect." Holy book slump, Batman! I was on a tear through 2 and 3 Star books when More Happy Than Not finally queued up at the library. Then Larry told me I had to love it or we could no longer be friends, but I had to go watch my kids lose 427 baseball games first so I left the book on the table . . . When I finally returned (my al Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ "It's okay how some stories leave off without an ending. Life doesn't always deliver the one you would expect." Holy book slump, Batman! I was on a tear through 2 and 3 Star books when More Happy Than Not finally queued up at the library. Then Larry told me I had to love it or we could no longer be friends, but I had to go watch my kids lose 427 baseball games first so I left the book on the table . . . When I finally returned (my albino skin red as a beet from all of the outdoorsiness), I threw some meat products on the table for my family's dinner and informed them they were to leave me be. And I devoured this book. What is the limit of how much I loved this story???? That's right, Blowhan. The limit does not exist. I'm not going to tell you a whole lot about More Happy Than Not. Basically, this is the story of 16-year old Aaron - a boy whose father committed suicide a few months ago and now lives in the projects with his family. It's about choosing a different path for himself . . . "I can't believe I was once that guy who carved a smile into his wrist because he couldn't find happiness, that guy who thought he would find it in death." It's about Aaron's day-to-day life hanging with his friends and girlfriend, and about the new kid, Thomas, who quickly becomes his best friend and who makes everything about Aaron's world kind of go topsy-turvy . . . . "From the shapes cast by the green paper lantern, you would never know that there were two boys sitting closely to one another trying to find themselves. You would only see shadows hugging indiscriminate." It's about memories . . . "Some can be sucker punching, others carry you forward, some stay with you forever, others you forget on your own." And about dealing with pain . . . "Sometimes pain is so unmanageable that the idea of spending another day with it seems impossible. Other times pain acts as a compass to help you get through the messier tunnels of growing up. But the pain can only help you find happiness if you can remember it." Most of all, it's a completely unique take on coming of age that almost made me have some feelings . . . But I'm not a baby so I kept my s&^t together.This ain't your typical Young Adult selection, friends. Adam Silvera's approach is 100% original and it totally blew me away. It gets every star and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
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  • julio
    April 22, 2016
    you won't admit you love me.this will not be a useful review of this book, and i'm sorry.i just... never did figure out how to sort out my feelings another way.__________i need a minuteneed a minute and a minute and a minute moreheart pounds and my throat's so tightmemories aren't my friends tonight__________falling in love for the first time was like sliding down a bannister. maybe you know what i mean. a bannister like the ones you see in a public school. long, and in the middle of the stairs, you won't admit you love me.this will not be a useful review of this book, and i'm sorry.i just... never did figure out how to sort out my feelings another way.__________i need a minuteneed a minute and a minute and a minute moreheart pounds and my throat's so tightmemories aren't my friends tonight__________falling in love for the first time was like sliding down a bannister. maybe you know what i mean. a bannister like the ones you see in a public school. long, and in the middle of the stairs, terminating above a concrete landing covered over by ghastly green linoleum buffed to a dull shine. maybe you've never done it before, this badass slide down a thirty foot rail at a forty-five degree angle, and maybe you think it's probably a bad idea—but you've seen other kids do it, and it looks awesome.if only you could ever get up the courage.maybe you lean your hip against it, a couple different times, talking to a friend, pretending not to be standing there on the stairs wondering what it might be like to hurtle down to a spectacularly lithe and athletic landing you'll pretend isn't actually the coolest thing you've ever done, ever.and maybe, maaaybe one time you're there long after the last class has let out for the day, and you know you're going to do it right then, when the building is empty of anyone you'd want to see you triumph, as well as everyone you wouldn't want to see you fall.so you hypothetically do the thing, maybe. perhaps you sit your ass on it, and at once realize that's maybe not quite right, so you scoot back a bit so your weight's resting mostly on your thighs. and you sorta... sorta slide a bit. just a little. maybe you panic and clutch at the pitted metal bar to stop yourself, and then feel silly when you realize you've only moved two steps down.maybe now's when you tell yourself: i can do this.and then maybe you do.maybe you let go, and for the first few seconds of glorious acceleration you're thinking this is the best thing ever, and what you wouldn't give to have that asshole c*****—not martinez, or prieto, or gonzales, or de silva—the other one——the one for whom you've maybe hidden a love in the most secret and tender deeps of your heart since the third fucking grade.yeah, that c*****.what you wouldn't give to see him standing at the bottom with a smile on his face, watching you be awesome.but maybe he's not there, just then.maybe he heard you came out of the closet a month ago, all angry and belligerent during a heated disagreement in black history class. maybe this abrupt failure in homo tradecraft happened to result in a fistfight, a desk thrown clear across a classroom, and a chip in your front tooth—and maybe now he doesn't wanna talk to you anymore.maybe junior high has started feeling like one long ending instead of the glorious beginning you and him used to imagine.or maybe it's just the usual hollow feeling you live with, passing him in the halls and pretending like you don't see the stony indifference in his face as he walks by, still, always, all this time after he ditched you. whatever it is, maybe it withers your joy, a third of the way down this theoretical bannister, when it occurs to you that you are at terminal velocity and to put a foot down to stop just this second would mean busting your ass all the way down a flight of stairs and maybe dying un-lithely and un-athletically and holy balls you knew you should have worn literally anything other than your star wars boxers today bcuz hello, autopsies.but maybe you don't die. maybe you stick the landing like motherfucking dominique dawes at the atlanta olympic games.and maybe, maybe it’s not so sharp, this time, the ache you feel as you slowly lower the arms you’ve thrown up in silent exultation, because you realize the feel of all that empty air around your body is maybe not so bad, kinda, compared to the feel of the arm he might have casually wound around your neck to celebrate.so maybe you go home.maybe you shove your hypothetical headphones into your hypothetical ears and listen to your favorite hypothetical cassette on the hypothetical bus ride to your hypothetical home.maybe music is the only way you even have a shot at going a single hour without thinking about the friend who used to sit in the seat next to you.maybe you know this. and turn the volume up.and maybe everything’s just fine.
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  • Hailey (HaileyInBookland)
    July 7, 2015
    2.5*This book just wasn't really my cup of tea. I don't think it was bad, I think the writing was good, the message was good, and everything else was good, but it's just not really my kind of book unfortunately.
  • Jesse (JesseTheReader)
    April 8, 2016
    DON'T MIND ME, JUST OVER HERE DROWNING IN MORE HAPPY THAN NOT FEELS. (full video review to come!)
  • Jessica (priceiswong)
    October 1, 2015
    Wow! Read this in under 24 hours and it blew me away. Definitely surprised me, and I loved how raw and real this felt. Amazing, memorable characters... I really don't even know what to say. I really enjoyed this and would love to read more by this author in the future!
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  • Lauren
    March 17, 2016
    A few days ago my good friend, and talented author, Adam Silvera posted this piece on his blog: Happiness Isn’t Just an Outside Thing. The blog post talks mainly about depression, which Adam has grappled with for some time now, and is a beautiful meditation on the failure of external validation to satisfy the holes that truly need filling. I’m so proud of him for sharing his hard journey with all his readers with the same incisive honesty that makes him such a fantastic writer.On that note, a fe A few days ago my good friend, and talented author, Adam Silvera posted this piece on his blog: Happiness Isn’t Just an Outside Thing. The blog post talks mainly about depression, which Adam has grappled with for some time now, and is a beautiful meditation on the failure of external validation to satisfy the holes that truly need filling. I’m so proud of him for sharing his hard journey with all his readers with the same incisive honesty that makes him such a fantastic writer.On that note, a few words about his beautiful book, More Happy Than Not,which tells the story of Aaron Soto, a high school student in the Bronx recovering from a recent suicide attempt. Aaron has a lot of reasons to feel sad. His father’s suicide, his overworked mother, and his confusing feelings for the new guy on the block. Aaron starts to wonder if the Leteo Institute, which promises revolutionary mind-alterations, might be a good solution to all his problems. With courage, clarity, and a unique voice, More Happy Than Not, is a must read for everyone.
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  • Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)
    May 24, 2015
    Oh, boy. I won't.More Happy Than Not didn't turn out to be what I expected, and let me tell you, it was so much better than I thought it would be. Messed-up when you think about it, this containing one of my biggest pet peeve make it plural : several of my biggest pet peeves - nah, I won't tell which ones, I can be annoying like that. But let's start at the beginning, shall we? There are books that make you feel like a voyeur, as the characters seem so real that you get the impression to spy on Oh, boy. I won't.More Happy Than Not didn't turn out to be what I expected, and let me tell you, it was so much better than I thought it would be. Messed-up when you think about it, this containing one of my biggest pet peeve make it plural : several of my biggest pet peeves - nah, I won't tell which ones, I can be annoying like that. But let's start at the beginning, shall we? There are books that make you feel like a voyeur, as the characters seem so real that you get the impression to spy on them, somehow. More Happy Than Not definitely belongs to that category, and hooked me from the very first sentence. "Sometimes your story is worth reading about because your life sucks," I say. "And I don't think your life sucks." How can I explain why? It just - spoke to me, because I found the characters weirdly relatable. Weirdly, because although my family always navigated on the artistic side of life (yeah, this is so the nice word for odd, sorry mum, love you) I never lived in such a hard way. Yet I can relate on so many levels that I couldn't help but feel drawn into their stories - to feel involved in every fucking event they live. This book is full of big issues - issues you better not drop in a book if you don't intend to HANDLE them (including suicide, depression, and homophobia). Well, the fact is, they all were correctly dealt with, and frankly, I'm, kind of, maybe, for sure in awe of Adam Silvera for that. Not that everything is perfect and gets its HEA, NO. It's not. It's messed-up and weird and flawed - yet it's incredible, because you know what? THAT'S HOW LIFE GOES. "Memories : some can be sucker punching, others carry you forward; some stay with you forever, others you forget on your own." TRIGGER WARNING : SuicideI know, I KNOW, my personal interludes appear pretty often lately, but I can't help myself when it comes to subjects that have a particular resonance for me and oh, well. Don't read it if you don't care. Anyway. Aaron, the main character, has to deal with the consequences of both his father's suicide and his own suicide attempt and expresses how difficult it is for people he loves to trust him again with his own life. In my opinion Adam Silvera captured perfectly how this kind of decisions can affect friendship and family relationships. The truth is, when I was 16 a person very close to me committed several suicidal attempts, and I'd want to say that I was supportive and understanding, I'd want to say that I understood why and how she could do this, I really want to. But sadly, I can't. Sadly, I didn't understand shit. Sadly, I was fucking pissed, because I love her and I couldn't forgive her to give up on us - yes, because I couldn't deal with the Guilt. This fucking guilt you feel when you realize that people you love and live with can suffer without even you noticing. I couldn't deal with the guilt, so I was pissed, furious, mad, everything but what I should have been. But you know what? That's how people react in real life. They aren't perfect. They don't always understand. It took us years to rebuild our relationship after that - it took me years to stop being a fucking brat and accept what she did. Although I'm not proud of it, that's how it is, and I often have a hard time reading stories where characters try to commit suicide because to me, everything is way more complicated and fucked-up that it's portrayed most of the time. All of that is to say that in my modest opinion, the way the author handled this subject here is realistic and really great.END OF THE PERSONAL INTERLUDEThis book? This book caused the weirdest reaction to me : Indeed the day after starting it, I found myself thinking about Aaron, Thomas, Genevieve... like they were real. Like they were friends of mine. And this? This is the best thing I can say about a book. Truth be told, every one of them is realistic and many of them are unlikeable. Despite the fact that I hated several of them first of all Brendan. Talk about a joke of a friend, of course I LOVED how real and complex they were! To be frank, I can't say that they didn't bring memories of actual people I know or used to know, and this is fantastic. Moreover, the writing is perfect because in addition to giving to Aaron a believable, original and oh so endearing voice, it captured perfectly how confusing teenage can be, how difficult it is to resist peer pressure and speak for yourself and for people you love and admire. To fight for who you are and who you want to be. Growing up often goes hand in hand with fucking up (badly). Well, let's be frank, adulthood too. Now, nothing is set in stone. Stand up and deal with it. So, yeah. It was cringe-worthy, crude or even annoying at times, but I wouldn't have changed one sentence. Most of all I absolutely adored their interactions - sometimes heartbreaking, often smile-inducing, always realistic - they made me so happy, I can't even. (Later I learn that there's even an abandoned musical in his closet about a robot that time-travels back to the Mesozoic era to study dinosaurs while singing about surviving without technology.) To sum up : There is porn. There is swearing. There is weed. There is despair. There is fear. There is love. There are comics and YES, cute geeks. There is sex. There are a lot of random stupid games they play to. There are fucking mistakes and maddening decisions. There is LIFE. This sounds true to me.In a word, this book was a page-turner for me and guys, GUYS! MY FEELS ALL OVER THE PLACE. Seriously - some parts punched me in the guts and made me sob, others made me want to hit something, yet I smiled so big I can't even express how much love and attachment I feel for Aaron - despite his flaws, his wanderings through life reached out to my heart. That's all I can say.Oh well, I'll say it. He fucking broke my heart. "I don't want you too either. Just remember that I love the hell out of you, okay?" PS : More Happy Than Not is shelved as Science-Fiction and you might wonder why I didn't address this subject. Actually, even if there are definitely scifi vibes going on at times, and some unexpected twists (HOLY COW), I mostly read it as a contemporary, because it's where lies its strength in my opinion. But I have to admit that it scares me shitless. Trust me, you'll get what I mean. Anyway, I can see why readers could find it unsettling and weird - Promise you'll keep your mind open, okay? For more of my reviews, please visit:
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  • Anastasia
    July 12, 2015
    5/5 stars Trigger Warning: self harm and depression Sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto is struggling to find happiness after a family tragedy leaves him reeling. He's slowly remembering what happiness might feel like this summer with the support of his girlfriend Genevieve, but it's his new best friend, Thomas, who really gets Aaron to open up about his past and confront his future. As Thomas and Aaron get closer, Aaron discovers things about himself that threaten to shatter his newfound contentme 5/5 stars Trigger Warning: self harm and depression Sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto is struggling to find happiness after a family tragedy leaves him reeling. He's slowly remembering what happiness might feel like this summer with the support of his girlfriend Genevieve, but it's his new best friend, Thomas, who really gets Aaron to open up about his past and confront his future. As Thomas and Aaron get closer, Aaron discovers things about himself that threaten to shatter his newfound contentment. A revolutionary memory-alteration procedure, courtesy of the Leteo Institute, might be the way to straighten himself out. But what if it means forgetting who he truly is? “I trace the smiling scar, left to right and right to left, happy to have it as a reminder not to be such a dumbass again.” This was my first time reading a book written by Adam Silvera, and it definitely won’t be my last. Not only was this book a masterpiece it was also Mr. Silvera’s debut novel, and I can tell that he has a lot more to come. More Happy Than Not is a heart wrenching book that leaves you with tears in your eyes, a whisper of a smile on your lips, and a pit in your stomach. It brings out every emotion you could ever feel, one after another. You become so full with emotion that by the end of it you just feel empty...ironic. “I would do my damn best to be more happy than not. You've already experienced so much bullshit so you can always look back on how things could be worse. That's my two cents.” Our main character, Aaron Soto, was the kind of character that you scream at but also want to just crush in a hug. He has just been through so much, from his father dying to self-harm. Aaron knows the true meaning of grief and sadness, he has battled with his demons and knows that it feels like when they win out. He is dating, Genevieve, a wonderful girl that was his rock when his life seemed like it was falling apart. And when he convinces her to go to an art camp over the summer he has to figure out how to continue his life without her smiling face in it everyday. With her gone Aaron turns to a new and comforting friend, Thomas. Thomas grounds Aaron, but he also throws Aaron into another raging storm of new emotions. “Some dudes make their minds a prison. I like living outside of bars.” Thomas is such a complex and unique character. He isn’t the cliché unique and special snowflake . He just has a powerful aura around him, he’s the kind of person that has an air about him that just radiates happiness and strength. Thomas played such a crucial role in this book. He wasn't just the one to have Aaron began questioning his sexuality, he was also such a strong friend for Aaron. They became such good friends in what seems like an instant. It was as if they were long lost friends, they already knew each other and just jumped right back into their relationship. “She doesn’t really understand Want versus Need like we do at home; just because you can afford something doesn't mean you have to have it.” If we are going to talk about relationships we should probably start with Genevieve and Aaron. They are the first “couple” that we see in this story. When you begin the book Genevieve and Aaron have already been dating for quite some time. They definitely have a familiarity between them but they don’t seem completely comfortable around each other. There were certain small scenes that took place that might have been small and insignificant but left me questioning the state of their relationship. Aaron comes from a low-income household, he knows what it means to sacrifice wants for needs, and he usually puts himself last when it comes to his family. Genevieve however comes from a better off family, not completely financially secure but better off than Aaron’s family. There are a couple times in the story where either she wants to give him something that is a “want” for him and she won't listen to him, or where he wants to go out/do something special for her but doesn’t have enough money to live up to her standards . I feel like throughout their relationship Aaron thinks that Genevieve wont think or care about the time and effort behind his acts, just the outwards appearance. I’m not trying to take away from their relationship. They kept each other afloat during hard times and leaned on each other when they honestly couldn't stand anymore. They were amazing friends to each other, but I feel like friends is where the relationship should have stayed. “Please tell me you have a superpower, like you're actually a descendant from aliens or something. I've always wanted to be the best friend in a superhero movie who keeps the superhero’s secret.” Which brings me to Thomas and Aaron. The two lost puzzle pieces that somehow fit together perfectly. They just immediately become best friends and have amazing adventures that honestly makes me jealous. They sneak into movies, watch movies on the roof, run through sprinklers on hot days, and play manhunt. They met while Aaron was trying to hide from him friends during a game of man hunt, Thomas helped him hide behind something in an alleyway. You could say that they found each other during manhunt. Dang, this book is just filled to the prim with ironies, I love it. “She holds my hand and sobs some more while tracing the raised smile on my wrist. ‘We’re scarred enough, okay?’” Aaron doesn’t have the best home life. He doesn’t really talk to his brother or his mother after what happened to his father. His father died, and the way that he died left a permanent scar on the family. Aaron doesn’t want to move anything of his fathers but after a couple months his mother out of the blue throws all of his stuff away. His family wants to suppress all of the horrible thoughts and forget about that time in their lives where they lost a loved one and almost lost another. Everyone deals with grief in different ways. “Sometimes pain is so unmanageable that the idea of spending another day with it seems impossible. Other times pain acts as a compass to help you get through the messier tunnels of growing up. But the pain can only help you find happiness if you can remember it.” More Happy Than Not dealt with many social issues, life changes, and emotions, especially grief. Adam Silvera explored the many types of grief and grieving processes throughout the book. I find that Aaron is the kind of person to want to find comfort and understanding in others during his grief. While his brother and mother are more of the introverted grievers, they keep to themselves and absorb themselves into daily tasks to keep themselves centered. Mr. Silvera also incorporated the grief where you don't necessarily miss the person but you miss what you could have had with them. You miss the fights that ended with screaming or the moments where you could have bonded and gotten to know each other better. There was also the understanding that the natural process isn't to forget the person or grief but to learn to live with it every day. There will be bad days when the grief and memories hit you like a ton of bricks, and other days that you feel as light as a feather. But, they will always be apart of your life, even if they aren't physically with you at the moment. “From the shapes cast by the green paper lantern, you would never know that there were two boys sitting closely to one another trying to find themselves. You would only see shadows hugging, indiscriminate.” I absolutely loved this book and all of its diversity. This book covered everything from ethnicity to sexuality. The LGBTQ+ community was definitely a major aspect in this book. Right on the back of the book it states that sexuality would be explored and boy was it explored . Our main character Aaron is dealing with the internal struggle of realizing that he is gay. His community isn’t very open to homosexuals so naturally his survival instincts kick in and he tries to suppress his feelings. His situation was just one of many, he isn’t the only one to feel as though he can’t truly be himself or come out into a safe environment. This fact is so sad and emotional for me. 42% of LGBTQ+ people say that the community they live in would not be accepting of them. LGBTQ+ youth are two times as likely to be physically assaulted, kicked or shoved at by their peers. These statistics are harsh but they are the reality that many people live in. It is our responsibility to change this world for the better, to make it more accepting, and to have people feel safe in their communities. No matter how old you are, you can still make a difference and alter our world. Make it safe to people like Aaron can feel safe coming out to his peers or even walking down the street holding hands with his boyfriend. If you would like to read more about the LGBTQ+ community, issues, statistics, or donate to HCR please go to http://www.hrc.org/ “The operation is scary-sounding and pretty extreme-it is experimental brain work, after all-and the doctors are cautious about administering it to those under the age of twenty-one. But I’m a danger to myself so they're letting me shake the old ways and days out of my head. So, to fully understand this book you have to understand what the Leteo Procedure is. The Leteo Procedure is a brain operation that makes you forget things. This procedure is very high risk, and even after getting the procedure you can have complications like forgetting who you are or slowly gain your memories back. This procedure is usually performed on people that have gone through a horrible trauma and want relief, one of Aaron’s friends got it because his brother was murdered and he was the cause if it. They try to give it to patients that truly need it and have no other place to turn to. With that being said, Aaron wanted to get this procedure to turn him straight. He had tried so hard to stay away from Thomas, the person that challenged his sexuality, and just stop being gay , and since nothing has helped he is turning towards Leteo. Being homosexual is not something that you can just change about yourself, it is apart of who you are. Society puts such a bad connotation on it that Aaron was willing to risk his life to be straight. ”’No homo, Stretch.’‘I know.’ I smile, and squeeze his hand back. ‘Hell of a happy ending, right?’” I know this one aspect of the book wasn’t super important but it just kept popping up! Adam Silvera added in the line “no homo” throughout the book. Which I get how people could see it as irritating or over kill, but for me it was just so...perfect. I have so many male friends that will compliment one of their friends and always, and I mean always end it with “No homo”. For me this line meant so much. It meant that: a) Thomas and Aaron were getting closer. They were comfortable enough to compliment and play around with each other b) It also cemented the idea that Aaron wasn’t very positive and concrete in his sexuality. He had noticed something about Thomas that could come off as romantic, and not only noticed but also had the urge to share his discovery. I just thought that incorporating that common phrase used by young people made this relationship very genuine. “This chart is the work of a madman who wants his happy ending, I should imitate his insanity.” Adam Silvera’s writing style is perfection. I am already blown away and this is only his debut novel. If he is this talented and powerful what will his other books be like? His writing seemed effortless and his plot was carefully thought out and planned. There weren't any moments that seemed rushed or just shoved in for emphasis or a meaningless cliché moment. Mr. Silvera but his heart and soul onto paper and then published it so we could share in his journey. “I can’t believe I was once that guy who carved a smile into his wrist because he couldn't find happiness, that guy who thought he would find it in death.” All in all this book was amazing and blew me away. I literally read it in one sitting. I started it on a seven hour road trip home during Winter Break. I decided that I finally needed to sit down and read this book that I had been anticipating since it’s release. Once I picked it up, there was no way I was setting it down. Adam Silvera is an amazing author and you can tell he put his all into this book. If you are looking for a book jam packed with diversity, heart break, adventure, teens coming of age, and romance this is the book for you! Adam Silvera will definitely take his rightful place on my favorite authors and auto-buy authors lists. I cannot wait to see what he does next!
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  • Theresa
    July 7, 2015
    UPDATE: I had originally given "More Happy Than Not" by Adam Silvera 4 stars but compared to all the various YA novels I've read in the last year, I'm going to go ahead and bump my rating to 5 stars. This novel is so unique. I can't get it out of my head. Heartbreaking to the max! Ugh. Original review below:Whew! This book was intense! I liked it but I didn't love it. I thought some of the dialogue seemed forced, and the first 150 pages were too draggy. I'm still giving it 4 stars because the pl UPDATE: I had originally given "More Happy Than Not" by Adam Silvera 4 stars but compared to all the various YA novels I've read in the last year, I'm going to go ahead and bump my rating to 5 stars. This novel is so unique. I can't get it out of my head. Heartbreaking to the max! Ugh. Original review below:Whew! This book was intense! I liked it but I didn't love it. I thought some of the dialogue seemed forced, and the first 150 pages were too draggy. I'm still giving it 4 stars because the plot was interesting and I liked the protagonist, Aaron even though he was a bit selfish and impulsive. This book dealt with a lot of heavy topics like suicide, homosexuality, love, rejection, betrayal, self-loathing, domestic violence, etc. Even though it was depressing at times, overall I thought it was a beautiful and unique coming-of-age story. Love is a bitch at any age.
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  • Kenchiin
    April 14, 2016
    I think I need a hug.
  • Spencer
    September 23, 2014
    “The boy with no direction taught me something unforgettable: happiness comes again if you let it.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Some books give me that single tear; Some books give me a few tears but not a lot; Some books give me enough tears to fill up a river. More Happy Than Not made me cry a book river. Despite the smiley face on the cover, this isn't a happy book. I have never cried so hard in a book as I did reading this book. I have copious amounts of respect and adoration for Adam Silvera, the auth “The boy with no direction taught me something unforgettable: happiness comes again if you let it.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Some books give me that single tear; Some books give me a few tears but not a lot; Some books give me enough tears to fill up a river. More Happy Than Not made me cry a book river. Despite the smiley face on the cover, this isn't a happy book. I have never cried so hard in a book as I did reading this book. I have copious amounts of respect and adoration for Adam Silvera, the author. a) For tackling a book like thisb) For bringing diversityc) For representing the people who are never represented in YAd) For being so honest about it and reliving past experiencese) For publishing itf) Lastly, for writing itIt was so ballsy of him to publish it, and I can't ever thank him enough for publishing it. It was amazing, honest, funny, dark, breathtaking, so sad, but also hopeful. It was a beautiful story that will stick with me for a long time. 1) The Plot This book revolves around our main character Aaron as he wants to undergo a procedure to forget the fact that he's gay. That right there is what drew me in to this story. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've wished that I could just be straight. Whenever I came out three years ago, it was like every bad thing that could happen did. It caused me an ongoing battle with depression, a loss of friends, paranoia, bulimia, and I have so many nightmares now to this day. It caused me to self-harm myself, I would go home and cut my forearm with words that I had been called or words that I had been feeling. It caused me three failed suicide attempts, and Aaron had also had a failed suicide attempt. That's why it resonated with me so much, because even though it's fiction, I can relate so much. (Sorry for the life story) With gay marriage being legalized and being gay something that's widely accepted, it's interesting to see what happens when it's not accepted. This book will break your heart, break it again, and give you hope at the same time. 2) The Writing The writing was FANTASTIC. The writing would be like if Ellen Hopkins, Benjamin Alire Saenz, David Levithan, and John Corey Whaley decided to write a book. If you mix it all together, you get Adam Silvera's writing. It's amazing. 3) The Characters They're so amazing, so diverse. I love Aaron, he's my type of guy. I also loved Thomas, Genevieve, the mom, and Eric. 4) Overall Thoughts Grab some tissues, read it, and love it.It's my favorite book of this year. 5 Stars!!
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  • Clau R.
    June 7, 2015
    I don't know what to think about this book. I just know it broke me. And that it is definitely NOT more happy than not. It is more like "More depressing than not". Ugh, I ended up so distraught :(.I kind of liked it, but I could never really connect with the characters, although I really liked a bunch of them (Aaron, Gen, Aaron's mom, Eric, Evangeline and Thomas, specially Thomas). I didn't care about them as much as I feel I should, and I was surprised when I started crying towards the end! So I don't know what to think about this book. I just know it broke me. And that it is definitely NOT more happy than not. It is more like "More depressing than not". Ugh, I ended up so distraught :(.I kind of liked it, but I could never really connect with the characters, although I really liked a bunch of them (Aaron, Gen, Aaron's mom, Eric, Evangeline and Thomas, specially Thomas). I didn't care about them as much as I feel I should, and I was surprised when I started crying towards the end! So I warn you: THIS BOOK WILL WRECK YOU. It's a sad, sad book with little glints of happiness. And I have nothing against sad or tragic books, I love them! It's just that this one didn't really do it for me, but it isn't a book I wouldn't recommend.ALSO, I LOVED the plot twist! I wasn't expecting it and it blew my mind, had me reading until 4 AM and I had to work the next day!OH... and before I end this review I just want to said that I HATED Aaron's "friends". UGH, they were just horrible to him all the time and what they did was unforgivable. I wanted to kick them all. They were a gang of stupid and homophobic teenagers!
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  • Neil (or bleed)
    June 23, 2014
    "I'm more happy than not. Don't forget me." More Happy Than Not tore my heart into million little pieces; that it has been used as confetti in a musical variety show.But seriously, More Happy Than Not is a dark, depressing novel. I didn't expect it to be this sad. I thought this book will be kind of a light read but I guessed I was wrong. I should have known. I got surprised on how much I've been emotional reading this beautiful, precious novel. It was a punch-in-a-gut, a pierce-in-a-heart kind "I'm more happy than not. Don't forget me." More Happy Than Not tore my heart into million little pieces; that it has been used as confetti in a musical variety show.But seriously, More Happy Than Not is a dark, depressing novel. I didn't expect it to be this sad. I thought this book will be kind of a light read but I guessed I was wrong. I should have known. I got surprised on how much I've been emotional reading this beautiful, precious novel. It was a punch-in-a-gut, a pierce-in-a-heart kind of book. It was heartbreaking and... hopeful which is I really liked about this. I think it matters that even there is no assurance to anything, it is a good thing to flash a light of hope to something.More Happy Than Not deals with homophobia, suicide, poverty and depression and I'm sure as hell, the author portrayed it well. He didn't romanticize anything about this book but rather revealed or showed something real and something important. This kind of novel should be read by many people, not just the young adults but adults, too, because these issues happened and are happening in real life.I loved this powerful and profound novel and from now on, I will anticipate to read anything from Adam Silvera.
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  • Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
    March 3, 2014
    Geez Adam Silvera, you sure know how to make a girl feel all the feels! I felt like I was sucker punched in the stomach, inflated with helium to rise high in the sky only to get popped back down to earth. I'm pretty much a mess of emotions right now. Excellent debut! Excuse me while I finish tearing because I'm probably incorrect as I type this.I heard nothing but praise about More Happy Than Not and I also knew the author from Twitter since he's also a Shelf Awareness reviewer. The pull that Geez Adam Silvera, you sure know how to make a girl feel all the feels! I felt like I was sucker punched in the stomach, inflated with helium to rise high in the sky only to get popped back down to earth. I'm pretty much a mess of emotions right now. Excellent debut! Excuse me while I finish tearing because I'm probably incorrect as I type this.I heard nothing but praise about More Happy Than Not and I also knew the author from Twitter since he's also a Shelf Awareness reviewer. The pull that made me want this book in my hands was the mere fact that it was pitched as the LGBT YA version of the movie The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind . Now if that doesn't make you want to pick up the book then here's hoping my review will.Aaron is trying to move on from the death of his father. Being with his girlfriend makes things better. Until his new found friend Thomas comes into his life. He realizes his own kind is hiding secrets and he wants nothing but to find out the truth. Aaron goes through so many ups and downs, that all I wanted to do was give him a hug. He does not have an easy life. Most of the characters in this book don't, but they're all there trying to get by. I loved how raw and real Aaron's feelings were. Even when he doesn't realize it himself. It's like he brings you on this journey of self-discovery and you're along for the majority of it. He's easily one of the memorable characters I have ever read. As for the other characters..I felt so bad for Genevieve when she really does love him. But the thing is she wants him to be happy and the way she supports him was just so kind and noble. Collin who is too scared but I understood his reasons. Brendan his "friend" whom I pretty much disliked the entire time.. All the characters brought a wonderfully developed plot to the spotlight. I didn't want this to end! What a wonderfully moving story. I'm sure this will bring you not only tears of sadness, butt tears of joy. I enjoyed every minute of it and I'm excited to see what else Mr. Silvera has in store.RATING 5/5QUOTES"I have to push ahead with the people who don't take the easy way out, who love me enough to stay alive even when life sucks. ""It's not like my heart is in running or anything like that, but at least I learned that you can't always choose who you're going to be." "Some friendships can never be as simple as sharing.""Just because you can afford something doesn't mean you have to have it.""Sometimes your story is worth reading about because your life sucks.""Sometimes you just have to push ahead to find what you're looking for.""The best liars are the ones who fool you by claiming they never lie at all.""When someone makes you happy, it's pretty impossible to cage the excitement." "I want to be so happy that bad memories aren't following me around like unwanted shadows." "I never chose anything. I just was. I just am." "Sometimes pain is so unimaginable that the idea of spending another day with it seems impossible." "It's ok how some stories leave off without an ending. Life doesn't always deliver the one you would expect.""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."
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  • Trina (Between Chapters)
    June 2, 2015
    3.5 starsThis is, undeniably, an important book. It's an amazing look into growing up gay in the Bronx where it makes you the victim of hate crimes. But what if there was a way to erase your past? To forget the bullying. Forget your sexuality. Can you really erase part of your identity without consequences?It's an age old 'be careful what you wish for' tale that shows you can't erase who you are. Silvera is sort of a genius with the way he unfolded some things. It's a very well crafted story. Ho 3.5 starsThis is, undeniably, an important book. It's an amazing look into growing up gay in the Bronx where it makes you the victim of hate crimes. But what if there was a way to erase your past? To forget the bullying. Forget your sexuality. Can you really erase part of your identity without consequences?It's an age old 'be careful what you wish for' tale that shows you can't erase who you are. Silvera is sort of a genius with the way he unfolded some things. It's a very well crafted story. However, I personally was attached to less than 50% of the book. I felt like so much time was spent detailing every neighborhood game that I knew the whole neighborhood better than I knew Aaron. It took about 150 pages for it to feel like there was a point to the story. I mean, once everything hit the fan I was REELING, and the book ties up with some very powerful messages. I don't mean to undermine the book's importance at all, but when a synopsis leads with 'memory erasing procedure' and 'gay protagonist' but the book doesn't develop either of those things until halfway in, I feel like I was promised apples and given oranges. I feel like a jerk for saying that though because I do respect Aaron's self discovery and I realize that this story is not written for me, the cis-het adult woman. So, you know, don't judge this book by my viewpoint, but that's my personal review.Time will have to tell where my rating ends up because I do think this might be one where in a few months the messages sticks out to me more than the pacing, so we'll see! But that's my immediate reaction.
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  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
    June 8, 2015
    This book was PHENOMENAL. What a great way to really show you the value of your life and the people you have in it. I adored this.
  • Kathe L
    July 25, 2015
    "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."I have so many things to say. I can say this book is perfection, that everyone should give this book a try. And you may believe me, like I believed when people told me this before I read it, but you won' "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."I have so many things to say. I can say this book is perfection, that everyone should give this book a try. And you may believe me, like I believed when people told me this before I read it, but you won't know it until you reach part zero. You won't know it, until you find yourself reaching the last page, the last line. How this book affected you! How it turned your world upside down. You're happy you read this. And you're very, very sad too.He was more happy than not.I am proud of myself for reading this. A couple years ago, I would have never read this. Or finished it. But sometimes, the best books aren't the ones where we live in a fantasy. No, there are books like this one, definitely one of the bests I've read this year, that are so real, so full of emotion, that you can't help trying to relate. Or being so engage in a story that it's already 6 A.M and you haven't slept yet, just thinking it over. There are all kinds of things involved: family, happiness, love. The way they talk, the environment, the people, their poverty. Everything means something.The main character, Aaron, was my favorite thing of this book. I always liked guys telling the story, but this one? I loved every aspect of it. The cussing, the feelings, the thoughts. Made him look human. While I couldn't relate 100%, I felt for him so much that it was almost as if I knew Aaron. Like we knew each other our whole lives. I was reading, and I was crying, and angry, and so, so sad at times, I couldn't even sleep. I am not going to say what this book is about, but it represents our lives. Choices, the people around us, and especially, the way we are. It teaches us a lesson I'll never forget: we can't change who we are. "Memories: some can be sucker punching, others carry you forward; some stay with you forever on your own. You can't really know which ones you'll survive if you don't stay on the battlefield, bad times shooting at you like bullets. But if you're lucky, you'll have plenty of good times to shield you."Do you see the quote? *cries* When I reached a certain part of this book, when everything turns around in the story and you think you know what is going on but you don't, I kept repeating myself 'no, no, no I can't believe this.' I was so, so, so sad because, jezz. And then hopeful, and sad, and teary-eyed, but then, so amazingly satisfied at how things worked out. I went to sleep sighing, you know? Today, I still think about it but as the fantastic, most wonderful and real book I've read in a while. The characters are all amazing, from Aaron's brother until his girlfriend. Thomas, Collin, his mom, his dad. Each one of them has a part in this. I've already said that, but really. This book may make you uncomfortable, or sad. Sometimes, I was clutching my heart and holding back tears and screams. But it is so, so, so worth it. I can't tell you guys enough about it, and I could go on and on. But you have to see for yourselves to understand what I'm talking about. I must say, though. This book is a masterpiece and this author is brilliant. Really, really brilliant. We have real characters and situations; we have love. And we have pain. But this quote next will describe it way better:"Sometimes pain is so unmanageable that the idea of spending another day with it seems impossible. Other times pain acts as a compass to help you get through the messier tunnels of growing up. But the pain can only help you find happiness if you can remember it."This book may stay in my heart forever. It's an unforgettable book.
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