Title: More Happy Than Not
Author: Adam Silvera
Published: June, 2015 by Soho Teen
Purchase: The Book Depository
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?
It’s hard to decide which camp I’m in on this one. The first hundred pages seemed to drag on with so much set up. And the characters, I just didn’t feel connected to them. Each time I’d put the book down, it left me with no desire to continue. However, I kept going, and once I got past a certain point things just clicked and I raced through the rest of the book. I felt like I was running on minimal sleep so that I could fit in as much reading time as possible. With a twist that gripped me, I ended up loving the book, but with the wringer it put me through, I’m torn over whether I’m in a better mindset for having read it.
A lot of the earlier chapters were spent showing us where main character, Aaron, lives, reminding us that his family is struggling financially. It seemed to be such a heavy focus, never letting us forget that he didn’t have much money to buy, well…anything. While he hung out on the street with the guys in the neighbourhood, I felt, bored, I guess. We got introduced to his girlfriend, Genevieve, and it wasn’t long before sex was on the table. It’s awkward, but handled with a bit of humour to it. That felt like the key to keeping the deeper things easier to deal with.The budding friendship between Aaron and new guy, Thomas, made this book for me. It’s a slow build with lots of intricacies woven in to really let us get to know each of them.
There are a lot of dark topics dealt with, like depression, suicide and physically violent homophobic attacks. The writing it very effective, wreaking havoc with your emotions. Still, the book managed to insert the lighter, geeky moments and keep you from having a mental breakdown reading it. And his family, I loved how they were portrayed. But, it is a sad book with characters realising that things don’t always work out that way you want. In saying that, though, it’s ushers forth the importance of choosing to look for whatever happiness you can. I felt the realism, left a vivid picture of this sad world Aaron found himself in, but sometimes you just want a sweet, happy book to hug and make you squee. This wasn’t that book.
It’s good, and worth the time, but keep some tissues handy.