My rating in stars: 5 stars
My rating in words: New all-time favorite
What it’s about:
When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.
To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.
If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.
My thoughts (Spoiler-free):
“And if bringing up the past annoys you now […] know that I’m sorry, but please don’t be mad at me for reliving all of it. History is all you left me.”
How can I do this amazing book justice in a review? I can’t. I’m ill equiped to do this masterpiece the justice it deserves, but it’s my duty to try.
–> Know that I’ve read a few amazing books this year and that this book easily jumped to the TOP OF MY FAVORITES LIST.
–> Know that I don’t easily pick up books that I know will break my heart in a million pieces, BUT I WILL ALWAYS PICK UP ADAM SILVERA’S BOOKS, because he has a way with words that make you feel hopeful and optimistic, even if at the same time your heart is in pieces on the ground and your face is covered in tears.
–> Know that I ADORED More Happy Than Not and can’t recommend it enough AND YET I LOVED HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME SO MUCH MORE. I didn’t think it was possible, but it was.
–> Know that I practically read this in one sitting because I COULD NOT STOP.
Ok, so on to my attempt at a review. I adored this book. It was one of my most highly anticipated releases of the year and not only did it live up to every single one of my extremely high expectations, it outdid them. I felt pretty much every emotion on the spectrum while reading and I fell in love with every single one of these characters.
Going into this book, you know it’s going to deal with some tough issues as it deals with loss and grief. It’s a very character-driven story told from the POV of Griffin, whose first love Theo has just died. Told through alternating timelines: “Today” and “History”, we slowly gather the pieces to put together the story of not only Griffin and Theo, but also Jackson and Wade. The use of alternating timelines was genius, as it balanced out the grief and despair from the present with the glee and happiness of first dates and first kisses in the past. It also slowly but surely gave us so much insight in the story of these four boys.
Griffin is our main protagonist and the narrator of the story. You’ll see everything through his eyes and of course he’s not the most reliable narrator as he is grieving the loss of his first and only love. You’ll get to know the other characters through his eyes and that influences our view on them as well.You’ll fall head over heels with Theo along with him. You’ll both hate Jackson for taking Theo away from Griffin and come to appreciate him for being one of the only people who really understands how Griffin feels. You’ll be selfish and forgetting about Wade and his pain when Griffin does.
The characters in this are what really make the book. All four boys are so deeply flawed and messed up and REAL. Each of them is a fully developed character with multiple dimensions. They are nerds, they are friends, they are enemies, they are lovers, they are lovable, they make stupid mistakes, they are funny, they are selfish, they say the wrong things, they have good intentions. You will no doubt feel a certain way about each and every one of them in the beginning, and chances are your feelings will develop and change as the story unfolds and the pieces of the puzzle begin to click.
Also, major points for not only great LGBTQIA+ rep , but also for the great OCD rep! Griffin’s OCD is actually a big part of the story and though I can’t judge because I don’t have OCD myself (though Griffin’s ‘even-numbers-thing’ did hit close to home), it felt so incredibly accurate. It was something that affected his life so much and something he couldn’t just “turn off” when it was inconvenient. And the reactions from the other characters felt realistic as well, with some of them thinking of it as just funny ‘quirks’, some accommodating him and some pushing him to get better.
Overall, I just can’t recommend this book enough. It’s a sad book, but it balances it nicely with a lot of humor, lovable characters, nerdy references, happy memories and a hopeful outlook. Just like More Happy Than Not, it will stick with you for a long time after reading. It’s beautiful, it’s moving, it’s real and it’s raw and I will be singing its praises for a long time still.
“There’s nothing wrong with someone saving my life, I’ve realized, especially when I can’t trust myself to get the job done right. People need people. That’s that.”
“Time doesn’t heal all wounds. We both know that’s bullshit; it comes from people who have nothing comforting or original to say. But I wonder if others keep up with this lie because they don’t want to speak the harsh truth. The wound never closes and the pain remains, always piercing, always burning, always suffocating, always bleeding”
“Sometimes it’s okay to be surprised. It’s going to sound stupid, and I wouldn’t ever say this out loud, but the way Theo and I came out to each other was sort of like getting caught in a thunderstorm. Storms can suck when they’re knocking out power and ripping apart houses, no doubt. But other times, the thunder is a soundtrack to something unpredictable, something that gets our hearts racing and wakes us up.
I can’t predict what will happen this year, but I’m okay with more thunderstorms.”
“Jackson and I are broken, in desperate need of repair, but the only mechanic we’re interested in seeing is our favorite person – and you’re clocked out forever”
“People are complicated puzzles, always trying to piece together a complete picture, but sometimes we get it wrong and sometimes we’re left unfinished. Sometimes that’s for the best.”