TRIGGER WARNING (HIGHLIGHT BELOW):
SUICIDE. DEPRESSION. HOMOPHOBIA. CHEATING.
MORE HAPPY THAN NOT
Genre: Young Adult, LGBTQ+
Publisher: Soho Teen
Release date: June 2nd 2015
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?
“This is still an ugly world.”
More Happy Than Not is a heartbreaking tale about friendship, sexuality, memory, and trying your hardest to find happiness in life. This novel is a rollercoaster of emotions in the best and worst ways possible. It’s diverse, with complex and developed characters, and it’s engrossing, with a plot filled with twists and turns.
Adam Silvera captives with his debut novel and great writing. The concept of a procedure that alters people’s memories is super interesting, and Silvera explores that in an unique and emotional way. Aaron’s story is a page-turner, and so so so incredibly sad.
This book breaks your heart in a million pieces, oh my god. It captures your attention right from the beginning, and delivers a very important story about acceptance. Told from Aaron’s POV, readers will fall in love with his voice and cry for the things that have happened to him. Aaron’s life is full of ups and downs, and it shows us that sometimes things don’t do the way we want them to go.
Silvera deals with some pretty heavy themes in this book. He calls out homophobia, writes about depression and suicide, brings up hate crimes. Some passages are very hard to get through, because we know this is still the reality we live in. Coupled with the memory procedure, this makes Aaron’s story tragic and just… so so so sad.
I do have to say that this book isn’t all sadness. It is also an amazing story about friendship and acceptance. Aaron and Thomas have a beautiful bond shared between them which, despite being complicated and messy at times, brings some real sweetness to this book.
Aaron coming to terms with his sexuality is another highlight. There’s a lot of confusion and self-doubt from him, but as well as a lot of internalized homophobia. Going on this journey with him is painful and sad, but also a really important experience.
Overall, I’m so glad I read this book. More Happy Than Not breaks your heart, but also tells a very important story. Definitely recommend it to all YA fans, as well as people looking for diverse books to read. Now excuse me while I go cry into my pillow.