Saturday, February 4, 2017

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Title: History Is All You Left Me
Author: Adam Silvera
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Simon & Schuster Australia

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...
Review by Nara

As the title promises, History Is All You Left Me is not really a happy book. I have to say, even the technically happy scenes leave you feeling quite conflicted as you attempt to enjoy the scenes for what they are, all the while knowing that the happiness is not going to last. It gives insight into the raw grief and confusion and anger that comes with losing a loved one, while also examining several other themes including mental illness, friendship and family, all the while with an LGBT protagonist. This does tick quite a few boxes in terms of how interesting the premise is, and I can happily say that the execution was rather good too. The novel was hovering between 4 and 5 stars out of 5 for the majority of the novel, but I ended up dropping the rating due to there being quite a lot of drama towards the end.

Griffin is an incredibly flawed character. He makes many poor choices, but I did feel like ultimately, as the reader I didn't judge him too much as it seemed that was simply his way of coping with his many issues. Griffin suffers from OCD, and I think this was portrayed quite realistically. From my understanding of OCD, everyone has their own set of obsessions and compulsions, and doesn't necessarily have to include washing your hands multiple times or being afraid of dirt/germs. It was interesting to see how the other characters viewed his OCD, particularly the contrasts between Theo, Jackson and Wade in terms of those who enabled vs those who realised it was a serious problem.

The major focus of the novel is of course on Griffin and Theo's relationship, how it was broken and how Griffin dies before the relationship is ever able to be fixed. Reading about their "History" was almost a feels overload as you became quite quickly invested in their relationship despite knowing how it all ends. I was basically shipping them after one chapter, at least as best friends, seeing their chemistry and general adorableness.

I can't really talk too much about why the novel drops that star as that dives straight into major spoiler territory, but basically it was a bit too much drama. I am fine with a bit of drama in a contemporary, because of course without conflict a contemporary would be extremely bland, but this was just a bit too much for me to handle. Overall, History Is All You Left Me was still quite a good book and a great follow up to More Happy Than Not. I expect that I'll be able to recommend all of Adam Silvera's books, including those he has not yet written.

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3/5