RELEASED: January 17, 2017
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
GENRE: YA Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
GOODREADS RATING: 4.12
TRIGGERS: Grief, OCD, death of a friend, emotional abuse, homophobia
You’re still alive in alternate universes, Theo, but I live in the real world where this morning you’re having an open casket funeral. I know you’re out there, listening. And you should know I’m really pissed because you swore you would never die and yet here we are. It hurts even more because this isn’t the first promise you’ve broken.
OCD-afflicted seventeen-year-old, Griffin, has just lost his first love – his best friend, ex-boyfriend and the boy he believed to be his ultimate life partner – in a drowning accident. In a desperate attempt to hold onto every last piece of the past, a broken Griffin forges a friendship with Theo’s new college boyfriend, Jackson. And Griffin will stop at nothing to learn every detail of Theo’s new college life, and ultimate 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 ultimately means…
Today’s Tuesday, I know! But I’m simply not feeling today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic at all so I decided to give you guys a review instead!
I went into History Is All You Left Me firmly believing I was going to cry. I’ve heard of Silvera’s reputation, I know people claiming they were in tears when they read this book, I remember being completely and utterly broken when I read They Both Die At The End. Safe to say, I expected to be as broken as I was then, but… That didn’t happen.. Like, at all.
The thing that definitely didn’t change was my love for Silvera’s writing. It’s honest, raw and so in-your-face you simply know the characters are true to who they are. In other novels, I often feel like the male’s POV is, in a way, feminized. They take on these characteristics that sometimes make me think it might as well be a woman, while it’s clear there’s a straight, male character. That’s something I definitely didn’t have with Griffin’s voice, with the way he communicates.
Being told by Griffin, to Theo, the story itself keeps switching between his history and present. We’re a part of how he’s dealing with his grief, how he’s trying to fit everything together, finding ways to build himself back up. Seeing someone deal with grief always is something heart-breaking because we know it isn’t easy. It’s hard to see memories of that person everywhere you go; it’s even harder in Griffin’s case since he has to do that while being confronted with Theo’s boyfriend, Jackson.
I’ll never understand how time can make a moment feel as close as yesterday and as far as years.
I was surprised to find myself connecting with Jackson way more than Griffin. I pitied Jackson for how lost he seemed, for how he was treated by others, for his struggle to say goodbye to someone people. He was my favorite character, by far.
The incorporation of OCD is something I really enjoyed – which sounds weird to say in a way, but hey. I’ve simply never dealt with people who have OCD so this was something new to me. It showed me how this illness can have a lot of different forms, sometimes even ones that aren’t noticeable if you don’t know about them.
Oh boy. Here we go. I expected to love this novel and for it to break me, but that didn’t happen. Instead I got mad – a lot. I found Griffin to be an absolute, egocentric ass. The only thing that mattered to him was his grief as if others weren’t entitled to grieve as well. That hurt me so much because the way he treated certain people was.. simply put.. absolutely horrible. This made me enjoy this novel way, way less than I would’ve had he not been that way, but unfortunately he was. And that ruined pretty much the entire book for me. I’d love to go into detail on this, because it had such a major influence on my reading experience. But since that’d be ridiculously spoiler-y, I’m not going to do that. Just know that this impacted my reading a lot.
Overall, I do say the theme of this novel and the OCD-representation was something I was happy about. Jackson is a character I’ll remember for a while but… Unfortunately Griffin ruined it. I never expected to give a novel of Adam Silvera this low of a rating, but it happened…
What’s a book you expected to love, but ended up disappointing you big time?
Was it also an issue you had with one of the characters, or maybe the writing?