Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.
Sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto is struggling to find happiness after a family tragedy leaves him reeling. He’s slowly remembering what happiness might feel like this summer with the support of his girlfriend Genevieve, but it’s his new best friend, Thomas, who really gets Aaron to open up about his past and confront his future.
As Thomas and Aaron get closer, Aaron discovers things about himself that threaten to shatter his newfound contentment. A revolutionary memory-alteration procedure, courtesy of the Leteo Institute, might be the way to straighten himself out. But what if it means forgetting who he truly is?
I can’t say I liked this book, but I’m so glad I read it and I want everyone in the world to read More Happy Than Not. I read the entire thing in one night: it was wholly engrossing, and then the plot kicked me upside the head and I learned a new kind of desperation for MUST READ. This is not a feel-good book, but it might leave you feeling….no I can’t do the cheesy “more happy than not” line. Because honestly, I closed the book feeling more UNhappy than not. I tend to expect my YA books to have happily ever after endings, and this one was serious is a wonderful but disconcerting way.
More Happy Than Not is an intersectional LGBTQ+ novel, telling the story of young gay teenagers who live in poverty as people of color. I really appreciated Silvera opening my eyes to the stories of men like Aaron…even though this is also, technically science fiction.
And isn’t that so cool?? That I would wait until the end of the second paragraph to mention that there’s a sci-fi element, the Leteo Institute, which can alter and erase people’s memories. Silvera masterfully creates a not-too-distant future that, for once, is far more about the things that are similar to our time than about the differences. I found it really refreshing to read a book that wasn’t up in my face about Cool New Ideas and Technologies. It made the sci-fi elements more believable, because if they were normal….people wouldn’t insist on talking about them 24/7.
Anyway, this book will break your heart, make you think, and blow your mind. So obviously–go read it!
Originally posted on my blog www.itistrish.com.
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