Book: History is All You Left Me
Author: Adam Silvera
Release Date: January 17, 2016
Publisher: Soho Teen
My Rating: ★★★★ (more like 4.25)
Synopsis: OCD-afflicted Griffin has just lost his first love, Theo, in a drowning accident. In an attempt to hold onto every piece of the past, he forges a friendship with Theo's last boyfriend, Jackson. When Jackson begins to exhibit signs of guilt, Griffin suspects he's hiding something, and will stop at nothing to get to the truth about Theo's 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 means.
First of all, I would like to thank Soho Teen for granting my request for an ARC. It meant the world to me to have this request approved and I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this book. Also, Adam Silvera tweeted me, so I was pretty head over heels for that.
@nerdgirl_review I take no responsibilities for failing grades, only sad feelings.— ADAM SILVERA (@AdamSilvera) July 8, 2016
One thing that I really want to talk about is how despite the fact that the main character was gay, that wasn't the focus of the book, and I think that is important. In a lot of LGBTQIA+ literature, the sexual orientation is a key driving force of the plot, and that was not the case with this. This scenario could happen to anyone regardless of their sexual orientation, and I think that's kind of the point. LGBTQIA+ people are just like everyone else. We live the same lives, we are a part of the same world, and thus have the same troubles. Yes our orientation adds a bunch of hurdles and shit we would love to live without, but we are normal people too.
Our main character Griffin... Boy I could write an essay on him. I liked him, but I could also punch him in the face. In the beginning, I really liked him, but the more I read, the more I realize that he is low-key a terrible person, but that's okay because it shows that he is human. He is not a perfect young adult main character and he doesn't have those flaws that young adult books seem to think are okay. He has some serious issues and is definitely selfish asshole, but he realizes that, which is great because most assholes think they are perfect. (Seriously though, he started doing some shady fucked up shit, and I'm so glad he's got a therapist, cause he needs some help.)
Besides being gay, our main character also suffered from a mental issue, OCD. I'm still not exactly sure how I feel about how the OCD was portrayed. There were times where I really liked how it was portrayed and I felt like it was doing the illness justice. But then there were other times, more towards the end of the book, where I felt like the compulsions were not being taken seriously. Griffin is able to start getting over his compulsions relatively quickly, and honestly that just didn't sit well with me. Like it's great that he is on a path to get rid of some of them, but there are just some things that I don't think he could start getting over so easily.
Personally, I suffer a compulsion for multiples of three. I blame my father. He showed me "School House of Rock" when I was young and drilled the idea that "Three is a Magic Number". Well because of that, multiples of three kinda control my life. Thankfully, my compulsions don't control me as much as Griffin's, but just the way he is able to shake them towards the end after clearly suffering a lot just felt kind of off to me. I've been trying to get "three is the magic number" out of my head for years, and I know it's going to literally take years for me to get that idea out of me head and for that compulsion to go away.
That note aside, the plot.... I liked it a lot in the beginning, but it reached like the last third of the book and it started digressing. The last third of the book was a little disconnected from the rest of the book and headed in a direction I wasn't expecting, though I suppose the latter is probably a good thing. There were aspects of the plot that really just got to me and others that I felt were unnecessary or had me cringing a lot. Actually, I'm pretty sure I was cringing the last third of the book.
Nevertheless, I really did like the story. I'd never read anything like it before, and I don't think you guys realize how much I really appreciate that. I enjoyed the writing style and it's almost lyric like nature. I enjoyed it so much, that I thought I would share some quotes with you (keep in mind these quotes might have changed between this ARC and the actual publication)
"It's been one month since you died. It's been one month since you lived."
"Puzzles are sort of like life because you can mess up and rebuild later, and you're likely smarter the next time around."Those are the only quotes from my favorites I can share without spoiling you. Now for the last little bit of my review... the relationships. Herm de herm. I liked them yet disliked them at the same time. Is that weird? I felt like literally all of the relationships were extremely unhealthy, but I guess because they are dumbass teenage boys, that's to be expected. There were some cute moments, but there were some other moments that were extremely fucked up beyond belief .
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It had me feeling some type of way and I love that. I just hope that you guys will catch the feels too when you read this.