Saturday, November 4, 2017

HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME BY ADAM SILVERA - BOOK REVIEW

Shockingly, this was my first novel by Adam Silvera, and now that I've read a book by him, I can definitely see why he is one of so many peoples' favourite authors! This book was one of those books that are so well written, they have a kind of quietly engrossing aspect to them.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another review, today it is History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera.


The story itself follows seventeen-year-old Griffin whose best friend and ex-boyfriend, Theo, has just passed away. Despite their break up when Theo moved away for school, Griffin always thought they'd be together in the end, even with Theo's new boyfriend, Jackson, in the picture. Griffin and Jackson meet at the funeral and, despite their general dislike for one another, they are really the only two that know what the other is going through. As the days after Theo's death pass, Griffin spirals deeper into his compulsions and feels buried under the secrets he's not sure he can keep holding.

Let's just jump right in here with the writing style of this book, because it is such a major aspect of the book. The story is told in alternating timelines, present day, after the funeral, etc. and the past, the history of Griffin and Theo's relationship and their lives, up until Theo dies. With these jumps in time, there are jumps in narrative perspective. In the present day chapters, the narration is in second-person, from Griffin's POV and he is narrating events to"you" or Theo. In the past chapters, Griffin narrates in a first-person POV. While it's a little harder to get into at first, the slight difference in narration signals both a timeline jump and an update on Griffin's mental health, a major aspect of this book as well.

As someone who is not intimately familiar with obsessive-compulsive disorder, but is personally familiar with the effects it has on others, I think Silvera did a great job incorporating mental illness into the story and portraying it well. So often, mental illness is used as a plot point to drive a story, but in this case, its a part of who Griffin is. His compulsions aren't randomly tacked on to make him seem unique, they are a genuine element of his character.

Another part of this book that was really well done for me was the grief and guilt associated with Theo's death. And also the idea of glorification in death. As both Griffin and Jackson come to know, Theo wasn't always a great person. He, just liked everyone, made some mistakes along the way. In death, I think it's easy to minimize the bad things about a person and only remember the good. While this isn't the worst thing in the world, it becomes an issue when you start to believe those bad things were a result of your actions. Silvera looks at the grief each of the boys, and even Theo's parents feel, playing what if? over and over again. The guilt they all feel is reflective not only of their grief but could also be because of how Theo was.

Like I mentioned, this is my first experience with Silvera, so I'm not sure if it is just how he writes, but I found this book felt like it came from a very personal place. The emotions, actions, and events all felt like they went deeper than just in this book. It could be Silvera's writing style or it could just be this story - I'm not sure. All I do know is that it has affected me in a profound way.

This book right here is why I read YA fiction. Because it shows that emotions like grief, guilt, exaltation, and love don't have age restrictions or requirements. With a caliber of writing above the rest, I know this is a book that everyone, not just teens, should read.