Review: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

More Happy Than Not

Summary:
The Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto -- miracle cure-alls don't tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can't forget how he's grown up poor or how his friends aren't always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it's not enough. 

Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn't mind Aaron's obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn't mind talking about Aaron's past. But Aaron's newfound happiness isn't welcome on his block. Since he can't stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.

Adam Silvera's extraordinary debut novel offers a unique confrontation of race, class and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

(cover image and summary lifted from Goodreads)

Series: Standalone
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publication date: June 2, 2015
Source/Format: ARC/Won from Dianne of Oops! I Read a Book Again (Check out her review of MHTN here)
Purchase links: Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Books of Wonder
Parental Guidance: cuss words, drugs, suicide, teenage sex, vandalism, violence

My Thoughts:
Calling all advocates of diverse YA reads for some virtual toast and cheers and happy dance for the success of this Adam Silvera’s debut novel! This book has done some pretty impressive work in representing a poor, gay Latino in YA. Bravo!

I will tell you straight-out, this one deals with some deep, heavy stuff. Lots of thought-provoking questions were swimming my brain while reading. Questions like: What if you are someone but you can’t be that someone because the people around you, the things that happened to you and the circumstances that you are in won’t allow it? What if the people whom you care for and love makes you feel unworthy? How can you find happiness if you’re not happy of who you are? If there’s a way to wipe out the things about yourself that you are ashamed of and makes you unhappy, will you take it? Will you choose blind happiness over an insufferable unhappiness?

All these questions were answered/resolved by the time I turn the last page. I love it when a story comes together like this. For me, the twist and the ending are both perfect. And it goes without saying that I am soaked with all the feels after I finished reading.

Soaked with all the feels.
Photo: Giphy

The book is divided into five parts. I am grateful to authors who put markers on their work by dividing them into parts and putting witty chapter titles. I know it’s mainly our responsibility as readers to figure out the book by ourselves but chapter titles are very helpful in seeing the book in a big picture. For example in MHTN, just by looking on the titles of each part, you can easily tell that this is the main character’s quest for happiness.

For the most part, I can relate to Aaron’s quest for happiness (and him not knowing how to ride a bike 'coz I can't, too). Sometimes, it cannot be helped but to be unhappy because you CANNOT EMBRACE some side of yourself that seems less agreeable with the society. It’s easy to say, “have courage” or “love yourself” but nah, we all know it's not that easy in real life.

Aside from Aaron, a lot of other characters are also relatable. Even Eric, the almost absentee brother. Because sometimes we assume that our loved ones are strong and they don’t need our help. Even Brendan, the ignorant friend. Because sometimes when we care for a person and thinks that they are doing life wrong, we resort to shoving our opinions down their throats unaware that we are harming more than helping. Thomas is my favorite because of the irony that he says the wisest things in the book but he hasn't figure out what he wants with his own life yet. And lastly, my heart bleeds with Genevieve for falling in love with the person who will never love her in return.

I love how the sci-fi vibe is so subtle. The subtlety makes it all too real and believable. At first Aaron even thought that Leteo is a scam until one childhood friend of his has successfully undergone the procedure. Leteo is always just this looming presence until it became Aaron’s only option from his misery. Now you have to read the book to find out what happens between Aaron and Leteo. Check back with me after you read the book, okay? Or if you've already read it, come by the comments section and let's discuss it further, shall we?

For now, let me end this post by sharing with you these two life lessons that Aaron learned (and that I learned as well):
  1. Aaron learned that he should not place the responsibility of his happiness on others. He does not need someone, like a dead father, to teach him how to be happy or how to ride a bike.
  2. Aaron learned that no one is worth compromising his happiness for and it's okay to call it quits with people who hurt him just because they can’t accept him for who he is.

Ahhh, thank you bookish gods for beautiful books with life lessons!

I told you guys, deep, heavy stuff, right? So HAVE COURAGE and LOVE YOURSELF everyone!!!

My Rating:


4 comments:

  1. Wow this one sounds wonderful. I love how diverse this one seems to be, and I think the thought-provoking elements really bring this book to the next level. Lovely review!

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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    1. It is really a next-level read. Will take you in some serious pensive mood. :)

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  2. I agree with all of this! Even the bike-riding, for I cannot either ;) But seriously, this book was SO well done, how is this Adam's debut!? I was worried about the Leteo stuff at first, thinking it would seem unrealistic, but it wasn't at all! And I did not see the twists coming at all! Maybe like, ONE page before and I was in shock. Such a fabulous book that brings up SO many topics that people, not even just teen boys, are dealing with everywhere! Fabulous review!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    Replies
    1. Oh Shannon, you are making me blush by commenting here AGAIN! I am pleased to know that you love MHTN, too! Well who wouldn't? YES, YES, this book shall wring out the hearts of a lot of people, not only teens, boys or gays. I heard that Adam is working on another book, so I'm excited for that one now. :)

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