Hey all, Dani here.
This is a special post because, while there will be a book review at the end, I’m first starting off by talking about the author event held at my local Barnes & Noble earlier today. Across the US, many B&N stores are holding events for their Teen Book Festival (B-Fest). Different authors and BookTubers and Bookstagrammars will be appearing at these events, so each Barnes & Noble is essentially having a unique experience.
I sort of have two local B&N stores, though saying local is a bit of a stretch; they are both about 45 minutes to an hour away from my house. The B&N I usually consider to be my store is located in Columbus, OH, at a big mall/shopping center called Polaris Fashion Center. For B-Fest, my store is hosting Adam Silvera and Jasmine Warga. Aside from hosting both authors, who signed copies of their books, for about an hour both authors also answered questions for those of us in attendance.
It was cool to get to hear about their processes with writing and editing, and their experiences as part of the writing community. Both Adam and Jasmine were so nice and the whole Q&A/conversation was very laid back and comfortable.
The store also had a table covered in ARCs and samplers that we were allowed to just take, and there wasn’t a limit, so that was super nice. I picked up a few ARCs and a couple samplers, so I’ll talk about those in another post soon. Probably the coolest part for me was that in the middle of the book signing portion, one of the B&N employees comes walking over with a nice sized stack of Adam’s next book, History is All You Left Me. Seeing that and knowing that we were now going to get signed ARCs almost made me collapse in excitement.
I watched the videos on YouTube from jessethereader, katytastic, tashapolis, polandbananasBOOKS and more, and a lot of them talked about Adam and his next book, and I thought it sounded absolutely amazing. History is All You Left Me is set to be published in January 2017 and I have a copy in my hands today. It felt like book lover Christmas today. It’s like BEA and BookCon, but on a slightly smaller scale.
Okay, so now that I’ve had my little fangirl moment, I figured I should include a little review of Adam Silvera’s book More Happy Than Not.
In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving New York Times bestselling-debut—also called “mandatory reading” and selected as an Editors’ Choice by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.
In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for sixteen-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?
The last line of the summary gets repeated and twisted around several times throughout the book, and I think that line of “happiness shouldn’t be this hard” really resonates with a lot of people; I know it did with me. I know I’ve had many times where I’m working to improve my life and my future but the more setbacks and detours and roadblocks I hit, the more I wonder if it is just supposed to be this difficult.
I ended up giving this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
The only reason I ended up docking the rating by a half point was because the first 40-50 pages felt a little slow to me and I had to adjust to the genre and the characters, but I still greatly enjoyed the book.
I’m not usually much of a contemporary reader. Every now and again if a book sounds interesting, or if a book is written by an author I like, I’ll pick up a contemporary, but lately I’ve been reading more books outside of my usual fantasy and science fiction corner of the world. What’s really fun about reading outside my favorite genres is that with those I basically know what to expect and I have a general idea of what’s likely going to happen. Not so with contemporary.
What I like about contemporaries (mostly) is that they feel like watching rom-coms or a guilty pleasure show or movie. But More Happy Than Not is actually more of a speculative contemporary (kind-of). Technically the book is set in the near future, though a year isn’t given, but we know it’s slightly futuristic because there is this Leteo Institute, which has created a memory-alteration procedure.
In this book Aaron is thinking about going to Leteo for the procedure so he can forget that he is gay. He believes that life will be easier if he can be a straight young man. I won’t say more on that because you should read it to find out what Aaron decides to do and what happens after he makes his decision.
This book impressed me. I was drawn into the lives of the characters and wanted to know more, and the more I read, the more I wanted to keep reading. There were a few times where something would be revealed or something would happen and I would just sit there, gaping at the page in surprise.
It was a powerful story, and I really enjoyed how the segment breaks changed throughout the book. Sometimes there were four smiley faces, sometimes frowney faces, sometimes a mix of the two. It was cute and sort of a clever way to symbolize Aaron’s emotional state at that particular part of the story.
I am so incredibly glad that I heard the glowing reviews of BookTubers online and decided to pick up this book. After reading More Happy Than Not and then meeting Adam Silvera, I can definitely say I am a fan.
–Oh, and I’ve already read the first chapter of History is All You Left Me, and I don’t think I’m going to be able to put this book down either. It’s so good already, so I can imagine that I’ll probably be putting together a review for it here in a couple months…maybe I’ll try to do a vlog review for it.