Title: More Happy Than Not
Author: Adam Silvera
Release Date: June 2nd, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Near Future, Science Fiction
Potential Triggers: Suicide, Homophobia, Homophobic Slurs, Ableist Language
My Rating: ★★★★★
In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for sixteen-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?
“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 get through the messier tunnels of growing up. But the pain can only help you find happiness if you can remember it.”
More Happy Than Not has been collecting dust, for several months now because I avoid books that I know are going to wreck me emotionally. I finally mustered up the courage to read it. As predicted, it destroyed me. More Happy Than Not was real, raw, and personal to the point where I’m even crying trying to write this introduction. Hell, I’ve never cried this much over a book. I do not see anything ever topping it emotionally. Please enjoy my mess of a review, as I only finished the book earlier today and am still a crying mess.
I loved the setting. Near Future/books with a touch of Science Fiction are my favorite setup. The importance of past experiences & people is a theme I really like in fiction (and has played a great deal of importance in my own life), so I loved that it was tackled head on through the Leteo Institute because it brought up such an amazing dialogue. The Leteo Institute felt real and believable. At one point, we see one of their pamphlets, and I loved the background and worldbuilding for it. Adam Silvera himself grew up in the Bronx, so it was interesting to read about the setting from someone who actually lived there. Everything about the setting felt so real from the neighborhood Aaron lived in to Comic Book Asylum.
Aaron Soto… I love this boy SO MUCH. He means the world to me. I saw so much of myself in his struggles with his sexuality and situation. The journey he goes on was so inspiring, and perfectly crafted by Silvera. I loved how his relationships with other people changed as his journey towards happiness progressed. His parting words were beautiful…
I loved the ending. I am a staunch supporter of the Bitter Sweet Ending trope. I find it incredibly powerful and realistic (In fact, all three of my favorite series have Bitter Sweet Endings). Aaron’s storyline matched up with it perfectly. I cried the ENTIRE time reading the “More Happy Than Not” part (and I’m still crying).
I truly loved every character, relationship, and thing about More Happy Than Not. It was all complex and beautiful. I’ve been known to say the “I don’t believe in having a favorite book” line, but this my favorite book. I can’t wait to cry in front of Adam at The History Is All You Left Me Tour.
If you are a living breathing human being, I would recommend More Happy Than Not to you. I will say that if Homophobia is triggering for you, then I would proceed with caution because it definitely comes up a lot.
“They’re my history. But I slept okay last night knowing I chose the person who agrees with the happy ending I’m building toward, not the ones who would punch in a face to demolish it.”
“Maybe one day I’ll move away and send a postcard saying, ‘Hey, I like guys. Don’t worry, I never liked any of you because you all suck.”
“Would you ever do it? The procedure?”
“I have nothing to forget, and I wouldn’t if I did,” Thomas says. “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.”
“So who are you?”
“I don’t know. I’m sort of two people who want very different things, but even with all this confusion, I’m still pretty sure who you are and it kills me that you’re not.”
“The boy with no direction taught me something unforgettable: happiness comes again if you let it.”
“Happiness exists where I can get it. In these notebooks, where worlds of memories greet me, almost like a childhood friend who moved away for years and finally came back home.
I’m more happy than not.
Don’t forget me.”