I’ve been really in the contemporary mood recently and have been reaching for them even more than other genres. I think it’s because I read mainly fantasy throughout the last year and have been looking for some simpler, cute stories than intense, high fantasy ones.
I ordered More Happy Than Not online for two reasons, one because I had a $10 credit I could spend and this was only about $9, and two because I had heard of it through Sasha Alsberg’s (abookutopia) BEA vlogs. So, I decided to buy it!
Title: More Happy Than Not
Author: Adam Silvera
My Rating: ✦✦✦✦✧
In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-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?
Review: (this will be spoiler free)
Once I saw this book be compared to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, I knew I had to read it. I adored A&D and all the little life lessons and hardships it discusses. This book does not shy away when going through some of life’s hardest decisions, especially for young adults. It touches all the emotions you can feel when reading a book, you get the giddiness of a possible romance, it hits you hard with sadness in many many parts, confuses you with character decisions, and then allows you to relate to the thoughts of the main character, Aaron.
There was also the aspect in this novel with diversity, and it does it very well. It discusses sexuality without making it seem like the big obvious part of the novel and have it weigh down the rest of the story, it is touched on when it works and when it makes sense with what is going on at the time in the story. Silvera brings his own touch and beautiful writing into the highly complex problems and emotions that Aaron has with his sexuality. It goes through all of Aaron’s thoughts, actions and issues with accepting himself, and learning he can find help in the darkest of times. You really do feel like you are growing up with Aaron as you see him learn and grow throughout probably the most difficult point of his life. Silvera brings in many different themes, without them all feeling lost or being overshadowed by another, they all work well together.
“The boy with no direction taught me something unforgettable: happiness comes again if you let it.”
More Happy Than Not also brought a very real feeling dystopian aspect in a sense to a very real world story. With the memory loss treatment to help forget traumatic experiences, there was that choice, to forget it all. Aaron struggles through his options to take the treatment because he feels he can be a better person with it. His arguments trying to convince himself are so emotional and you really can’t help but want him to realize that he does not need it, that he can get through what he is dealing with.
“Memories: some can be sucker punching, others carry you forward; some stay with you forever, others you forget on your own. You can’t really know which ones you’ll survive if you don’t stay on the battlefield, bad times shooting at you like bullets. But if you’re lucky, you’ll have plenty of good times to shield you.”
This novel deals with relationships amazingly, both romantic and not. The friendships, loss of friends, loss of a loved one, the ending of a relationship, Silvera wrote it all beautifully.
My only negative was that I sometimes found myself getting lost, as some parts were a bunch of disheveled scenes that you have to put together. Because of this, I was sometimes confused with what was going on, but I did end up with a good knowledge of what was by the time it all came together.
All in all, a great story that I would definitely recommend, and I hope to read some more by Adam Silvera in the near future!