Review: History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

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Genre: Young-Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Pages: 320
Series: None
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Publisher: Soho Teen

5 Stars

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Griffin just lost his best friend, Theo. His best friend who used to be his boyfriend until they broke up right before Theo left for college. His best friend who he was hoping would be his boyfriend once again, forever. Griffin devastated and feels like his entire world just shifted. On top of that, Jackson, Theo’s college boyfriend seems to be the only one who truly gets how he feels. So despite not liking the idea, maybe they can both help each other out?

And in between them trying to deal with their grief and working through their differences, we get to read about Griffin and Theo’s relationship and what happened between them via backstory chapters.

The format of the novel is one chapter in the present and one set in the past, and I’ll be honest with you, had I known about the backstory chapters, I might not have read the book anytime soon because, as you may know if you’ve been following my reviews, I hate those fucking things. I remember when I read Where She Went and skimmed over half of the backstory chapters because I just didn’t think they were necessary.

All that aside, I’m glad I didn’t know because I didn’t mind the backstory. It was helped by the fact that we needed those chapters to get to know things better, and to give more significance to current events. And that they were short and provided some relief from the heavy theme. Still, was one needed after every chapter?

As for the story, it was really good. I’ve heard many great things about Adam Silvera and now I get why. He’s written a wonderfully emotional novel with just enough moments of lightness to not turn it into a tear-fest. He’s also given us some beautifully flawed characters that are very likable and very human. They’re ones you can definitely relate to. You feel for them in their sadness and in their happiness. You understand their mistakes and you root for them.

If there’s one character that I’m a bit unhappy with, it’s Theo. Both Griffin and Jackson made mistakes, but I think Theo screwed up the worst, with both of them, and I’m not one to let him get away with it just because he’s dead. But at the same time, we only know about him from Griffin’s perspective and don’t know his side. Maybe he wanted to make things right. We’ll never know.

The other three characters, I loved. And yeah, there are three. There’s Wade as well. He was, I think, the most well-organised of them all and he was great. He was a friend of both Griffin and Theo.

Overall, I initially planned to give the novel 4 stars but since I can’t come up with a single reason as to why, I’m changing it to 5. This is a brilliant novel and I very much recommend it. In the end, I’ll leave you with a few lines from the last page, that I loved. They’re not spoilery, I promise (unless you count Griffin not dying a spoiler. Then… oops!).

There’s nothing wrong with someone’s saving my life, I’ve realized, especially when I can’t trust myself to get the job done right. People need people. That’s that.

“People need people”, it’s such a simple thing and yet realized by so few. Stop being ashamed of needing, or accepting, help. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness.

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