REVIEW: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera


19542841AUTHOR:
 Adam Silver

PUBLISHER: Soho Teen

DATE PUBLISHED: June 2, 2015

RATING: 4-5-star-rating-md

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads): In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-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?

 

NOTE: I tried to make this review spoiler-free but to I can’t guarantee the absence thereof.

I actually don’t know how and where to start this review. It’s probably best if Baymax appears in front of me and assess if there’s something wrong in me – no surprises if he finds my emotional being in shatters. I need Baymax and his squishy tummy to hug me right now and tell me this is just a story. But the thing is, More Happy Than Not is practically fashioned out of reality that every state of pain and euphoria here is so palpable it’s hardly just any story. To think it’s nothing but a product of fiction is difficult. Adam Silvera’s writing lets you get immersed on it the moment you start it.

More Happy Than Not is that book that impeccably delivers diversity as it promised. It is an amalgam of various themes – depression, homosexuality, friendship, love, poverty, etc. – wherein each is given their own spotlight and handled finely. This kind of story happens in one out of a few individuals that it’s safe to say it’s a run-of-the-mill. However, despite it being common, it’s one of those that are unheard of either because people enduring such circumstance are reluctant to speak out or we just turn deaf from them and shrug these topics away. Adam Silvera just sucker-punched us with these truths.

In the novel, being a homosexual is regarded as a root cause of problems, a state that paves the way to a multitude of mishaps. Aaron was introduced as a straight guy enjoying a healthy relationship with her girlfriend. This was until he identified himself as someone attracted to the similar sex. A “twist” in the story also pinpointed homosexuality as a culprit to another stroke of bad luck, his dad’s death. Homosexuality is multifaceted; Adam Silvera chose that which scrutinized a delicate aspect and for me, he saw to it well. Aaron’s story in More Happy Than Not exemplified a fact that homosexuals are not only grappled with fear of denial from society but also from themselves. We thought the contemporary period, the age of social media and revolution brought forth gargantuan courage for the members of the LGBTQs in coming out. For them, it’s empowering. In fact, it wasn’t for everyone. For some, like Aaron, he was regarding his inclination to the similar sex as a jinx. For him, it was a phenomenon beyond his control and while he embraced it at first, he felt regretful over the course.

It’s not like my heart is in running or anything like that, but at least I learned that you can’t always choose who you’re going to be. Sometimes you’re fast enough to run track. Sometimes you’re not.

I found the concept of Leteo procedure – though very illusory – smart and interesting. This is sort of a medical/surgical method of eradicating a portion of one’s memory. I was mulling over whether Leteo is mankind’s savior or not. At first glance, the idea seemed egotistical. To have a memory makeover means forgetting faces and important exchange of interaction with them in exchange of a promised better life. It’s hardly fair for those who will be shut out of one’s memory. However, this is just coming from someone who haven’t been gone into a deep abyss of depression yet so I can’t say for certain. Depression isn’t simply synonymous to having the occasional blues but a condition that completely takes over one’s life. I couldn’t speak for those who experienced such.

More Happy Than Not is the kind of book that doesn’t implore pity but rather lets a reader instinctively empathize with the characters. Unrequited love, as manifested by Genevieve’s love for Aaron and Aaron’s to Thomas, is very eminent here. Friendships strengthened through years of playing in the streets are wrecked by one contemptible ideology from a friend who came out of the closet. Poverty drive an individual to have a brimful of embarrassed emotions to friends and pubescent angst to parents.

This is a coming-of-age, coming-out story that’s like no other. It gave diversity as it promised and spoke truth as harsh as it should be. I recommend this book to those who are sick of the typical YA plot and are looking for such that could deliver a message across on point.

 

If there’s happiness tucked away in my tragedies, I’ll find it no matter what. If the blind can find joy in music, and the deaf can discover it with colors, I will do my best to always find the sun in the darkness because my life isn’t one sad ending – it’s a series of endless happy beginnings.

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12 comments

  1. Sounds like I have to read this! If not for how well it explores themes, lets the reader engage with important issues, etc., then definitely for a Baymax to come an assess how I feel 😛
    Honestly though, this book has been on my TBR for ages – it sounds so good! 😀 So happy you loved it! 😀

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    • If only Baymax were real though. LOL

      I really recommend this book to you, Geraldine but I hope I’m not putting so much hype around it. I thought it was like Simon VS at first but each were beautiful in their own way. 😀

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  2. I’ve heard so many things about how powerful and emotional this book is, so I am so glad to hear you liked it too! Definitely going to have to give it a try.:) Thanks for sharing and fabulous review!❤

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  3. This is such a beautiful review, you did the book so much justice. I personally had issues conveying how much it touched me, but you did a wonderful job communicating the important message in the book. It literally wrecked me for a week or so. Definitely keeping Adam Silvera’s future works on my to-read list as well.

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    • Thank you, Aentee! I was in an emotional wreck for a while. It was a mini Me Before You (by Jojo Moyes) for me LOL. OMG Adam Silvera will have a new book next year! I’m not certain but I think he’s publishing 2 in 2017. 😀

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  4. Prior to release, I was so ready to read MHTN since Shelumiel at Bookish and Awesome was praising it to no end. Alas, I still haven’t picked up myself a copy (perhaps that is a good thing, too, since I spend way too much money on books anyway). Anyway, wonderful review, as always, Trisha! I’m glad to see yet another LGBTQ+ themed book done well.

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