Book Review: MORE HAPPY THAN NOT by Adam Silvera

more happy

Soho Teen

I feel obligated to preface this review by saying that in no way did I allow the awesomeness of the author to influence my thoughts on his book. And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. Adam Silvera is an all around cool dude (seriously, follow him on twitter @adamsilvera) and it’s just so turns out that he’s an amazing writer as well.

If you have yet to hear about this book, that needs to change immediately – here is the Goodreads Summary:

The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto — miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor or how his friends aren’t always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron 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 has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he’s can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.

Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut novel offers a unique confrontation of race, class and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

I didn’t quite know what to expect going into this book. I’d heard comparisons to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and thought “Well, that’s a lot to live up to.” I’d like to say right now – this book is absolutely on the same level as that masterpiece.

The plot starts out following Aaron after a very traumatic experience. Alhough he has his flaws, Aaron is a main character you find yourself immediately rooting for. There were points during the book that I just wanted to walk into the pages and give our protagonist a hug. Because, boy, did he need one.

As the story progresses, we experience this terrifyingly realistic exploration of sexuality in an environment that is hostile to such emotional complexity. And that was one of the things I loved so much about this book. It portrayed life in an unbelievably realistic manner. The writing is so descriptive that you can literally imagine the emptiness in a character’s eyes, the internal turmoil reflected on his face.

To put it simply, Aaron’s life is a beautiful disaster. And yet, there are always these subtle bright spots, even in the deepest spirals of despair.  It’s in the words of support his girlfriend provides; it’s the fact that his mother stays by his side, even in the most difficult of times.

And, if at any point while reading, you think you know where the plot is headed, let me clear things up for you: you’re wrong. Adam weaves in concepts so subtly you won’t see plot points coming until they ‘one hit K.O.’ you in the feels.

More Happy is a spectacular entry into the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement that is going on. It is a powerhouse of a young adult book that succeeds on all possible levels. The plot never ceases to hold your interest and the cast of characters range from being lovable to so despicable that you would enjoy nothing more than punching them in the face. (I’m looking at all of you, Aaron’s so called “friends.”)

And while it is as much of an emotional roller coaster as I’m making it out to be, it is never too much. The writing is almost overwhelmingly great and the ending, oh the ending.

It gives you the strength to continue no matter how unbearable life gets, and I would like to thank Adam for giving that to me, to the readers.

You are sincerely missing out if you don’t pick up this book when it is released June 2, 2015.

Rating: 9.5/10 (if only for doing too much to my poor feels)

Michael is a booktuber (the Youtube community for books) who dreams of one day being an author. Until then he is stuck in New Jersey attending college and juggling a multitude of majors and minors in an attempt to figure out the future. He’s got a sometimes frightening to-be-read pile of books and is a full time fan of the CW; vampires, superheroes, and space people, oh my. If he’s not working or attending classes, he can be found listening to alternative music on the beach (curse Jersey weather.) You can contact him via email at - Twitter: @mikebooklion