More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
I’ve had this book on my Kindle for quite some time and so I decided to FINALLY pick it up. I have heard NOTHING but rave reviews for it and one of my reading goals for 2017 was to read more diversely, which meant that this fit the bill! I was in the mood for a contemporary after a pretty heavy read and I learned very quickly that this was not going to be your average contemporary.
This was a very heavy hitting novel addressing homophobia, depression and suicide, with some very relatable characters and not glorifying any of the struggles the characters experience. This was an incredibly diverse novel, in sexuality and race, which was also wonderful to see. Once I finished it, I definitely found myself continuously reflecting on what I had just read and feeling incredibly thankful for Adam Silvera. I am incredibly grateful that he has written this beautiful novel for young adult readers and hopefully, any reader can find some kind of peace and community from this book. Now to get into the spoiler part of my review, so please pick this book up and come join me later! 🙂
I don’t even know where to start… I guess I’ll start with why I rated this at 4-stars if I loved it so much because believe me, I DID!! I rated it at 4-stars because I had a difficult time initially getting into the book. The context building happened a bit too slowly for me, which gave me a difficult time initially engaging with the book. However, once the book started to pick up, that feeling went away and I found myself completely engrossed in the novel.
I absolutely LOVED the diversity that was present in this book and what I loved even more, was how subtle it was. I know that sounds kind of odd. But sometimes, when an author is trying to be more diverse in their work, I find that the diversity is in your face and the author makes it a point to almost say, “HEY! LOOK! I DID THE DIVERSITY THING!” This usually is a pretty quick turn off for me and so I can be rather critical with how diverse identities are presented, particularly in YA novels. But, way to be Adam Silvera! Not only is this an ownvoice novel, but the diversity of the characters was just a part of the story as it should have been. It wasn’t something that felt like was on display, he was just portraying the characters as you would encounter people in real life, which was refreshing.
The first part of the book definitely kept me guessing and I started to assume that some twist was going to arrive at some point, and then…we finally get to Leteo. I was surprised that a book based on this new memory altering procedure hardly talked about it throughout the book, until it started clicking.
The major plot twist in the book which was that Aaron already had had the procedure done once before and the procedure was starting to fall apart…this was the most heartbreaking part of the book. When his memories of his dad start to come back, his memories of his relationship with Colin start to come back and with all of these memories, comes all of his pain that he had originally set out to alter/erase. And then, of course…he ends up not being able to form new long-term memories which is what really did it in for me, in terms of the feelings.
This plot twist was an incredible way to create commentary on the idea of wanting to alter/erase a part of yourself…how we really are born just the way we are and when we try to deny our true nature, that is where real sadness can come from. We live in a society that forces us to suppress the identities that are deemed “different”, which is not only heartbreaking…but it’s wrong. It’s wrong to force people to deny who they are, rather than celebrating who they are. If Aarons’ father, his friends and even his mother had worked to embrace who he was as he was learning to love himself…he could’ve been so much happier. He is such a brave soul – with his coming out all the way to his relationships and he’s genuinely authentic…if only the people around him had embraced his authenticity…he wouldn’t have had to undergo the procedure.
Again…a beautifully written book and a real hard look at our society today. Like I said, EVERYONE should read this book!!