Friday 13 January 2017

History is All You Left Me, Adam Silvera

Pages: 292
Publisher: S&S
Release Date: 9th February 2017
Edition: UK proof, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: More Happy Than Not

You’re still alive in alternate universes, Theo, but I live in the real world where this morning you’re having an open casket funeral. I know you’re out there, listening. And you should know I’m really pissed because you swore you would never die and yet here we are. It hurts even more because this isn’t the first promise you’ve broken.

OCD-afflicted seventeen-year-old, Griffin, has just lost his first love – his best friend, ex-boyfriend and the boy he believed to be his ultimate life partner – in a drowning accident. In a desperate attempt to hold onto every last piece of the past, a broken Griffin forges a friendship with Theo’s new college boyfriend, Jackson. And Griffin will stop at nothing to learn every detail of Theo’s new college life, and ultimate death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin's own version of the truth – both in terms of what he’s willing to hide, and what true love ultimately means...

I fell head over heels for Adam Silvera’s heartbreaking debut More Happy Than Not so I genuinely squealed with delight when History is All You Left Me arrived. It definitely lived up to my expectations.

History is All You Left Me is rich in grief from the very first line. Addressing the whole book to Theo is super powerful - it’s such a punch in the gut. Griffin’s grief is visceral. The narrative switches between their relationship - from beginning to end - that started two years ago and the morning of Theo’s funeral through to the one month anniversary of his death. There’s never a moment where it gets confusing or too much - it’s effortless.

As we follow Griffin and Theo’s relationship through it becomes obvious the inequality there, the secrets and the issues that arise when friendship turns into a relationship. The portrayal of sex in History is All You Left Me was brilliant. I’ve not read a book where it has such a strong presence between LGBT characters for a long time and it was done perfectly. I fully believed in the intensity of their feelings for each other and I really enjoyed how Griffin’s perspective of Theo and what they had together evolved as he got closer to Jackson and learned about Theo’s life in LA. He began to see their time together more clearly.

As well as grief, this novel explores mental health issues. Griffin has OCD, or quirks as he calls them. As he gets trapped further in his grief and determination to ease his guilt to Theo, his compulsions become stronger and more prominent in his life. I loved the way it was explored with sensitivity and honesty - and really positive about living with mental health issues. There was no judgement about therapy or medication and a real sense of encouragement in looking for and accepting help when you're struggling.

Adam Silvera’s second novel is a vivid, heart-breaking and empowering exploration of love, loss and friendship. I am beyond happy that we’re getting a second book from Adam in 2017. Bring. It. On.

Thanks to S&S for the review copy.


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