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?
Author: Adam Silvera
Format: Trade Paperback
Part of a Series: No. Standalone.
Release Date: June 2, 2o15
Publisher: Soho Teen
No. of Pages: 293 pages
Genre: Young Adult, LGBTQIA, Romance, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Queer, Contemporary Fiction, Mental Illness
Ever since it came out, I’ve been on the lookout for a copy of Adam Silvera’s debut novel, More Happy Than Not. It gathered tons of good praises not only from the New York Times, and Kirkus Reviews, but also from the many book bloggers / reviewers and booktubers that I came to know. Not only does it fall under the LGBTQIA genre, but it also tackles Mental Health and Depression, and seeing that those genres are certainly my cup of tea, I knew that I needed to get my hands on that book one way or another. A year after it’s release, I got the chance to pick up a paperback copy this title. Thank you, Fully Booked!
The story revolves on the depressed, yet hopeful Aaron Soto. Adam Silvera created this character with whom lots of people can relate to. Not just those who are gay. Not just those who are depressed. Young Adults can relate to Aaron’s story because everyone undergoes their own depressing phases, and his story is something that readers can relate to because of the emotional roller coaster that he went through in 293 pages. I didn’t just relate to Aaron. I also felt for him. I felt raw emotions toward him and his story, and I just can’t help but shed tears as my reading of this book came to a painful end.
Another thing that impressed me was how unpredictable the story line was. One minute, you think you have everything figured out, and the next, Adam gives you a major “sucker punch”, and it makes you realize just how wrong you were. I love how every scene contributed to the wholeness of the story, leading to a very shocking plot twist towards the end. This is the reason why I couldn’t put the book down, even though every page was so devastating to read. (Yeah, that’s how heart-shattering it was to read this debut novel.) I wanted to make sure that I had a firm grip on the story and where it was going, but I was proven wrong with every shocking twist.
I also loved how brutally honest Adam was in portraying the message of homosexuality through Aaron’s thoughts. Our main character was just like every normal teenager undergoing a lot of firsts. He was reckless, but he was hopeful, just like many teens today. We hope for a better world where Homophobia is no longer a thing, and we hope to live in a community that we are accepted, if not respected. It’s hard to talk about sexuality in conjunction with depression when it comes to writing Young Adult novels, but I’m glad Adam did, and he absolutely pulled it off!
And lastly, what I loved most about More Happy Than Not, was that it gave me a tremendous amount of hope. Hope that even if life in general can sometimes give you multiple sucker punches at a time, we still have the choice as to how to react. We can choose to forget. We can choose to get depressed. And we can choose to move past it, grieve about it, and move on. In the end, we always have a choice.
All in all, More Happy Than Not gave me a heartbrekingly fantastic reading experience. From start to finish, Adam Silvera proved how great he is at telling a story that millions of readers could not just relate to, but also to produce raw emotions for. And I’m looking forward to reading more of what Adam has to offer to his readers.
“More Happy Than Not is Adam Silvera’s brilliant attempt in communicating and reaching out to his readers about depression and homosexuality. Every page will leave you breathless, and in tears and yet it is, in every way, absolutely unputdownable.”
Characters – 4.50
Plot – 4.50
Writing Style – 5.00
Pacing – 4.50
Ending – 4.00
TOTAL – 4.5 / 5 Stars
“Everyone plays a purpose, even fathers who lie to you or leave you behind. Time takes care of all that pain so if someone derails you, it’ll be okay eventually.” – Thomas Reyes
“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 through the messier tunnels of growing up. But pain can only help you find happiness if you remember it.” – Aaron Soto
“We all make mistakes… but it’s also a step in the right direction. If nothing else it’s a step away from the wrong one.”
“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.”
“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.”
About the Author:
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.