More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Release Date: June 2nd 2015 by Soho Teen
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, LGBT
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’s 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.
“I don’t want this happiness, but blind happiness is better than inhabitable unhappiness.”
I should warn you right now that this review is probably going to be all over the place like my emotions are right now. It’s funny: my reaction for this book is not what I expected. I’ve read more than enough stories that are along the same vein as this one, but I guess this is the first to elicit such a visceral feeling from me.
More Happy Than Not is like a sunny rainstorm. The rain makes you feel all these emotions such as sadness, remorse, and unhappiness. But because the sun’s still shining over these rain clouds, there’s something off about the whole situation. There’s beauty in this blue feeling. You can’t help but be happy because there’s a ray of light in the storm.
That’s what this book is like for me. Most of the time – especially the latter part of the book – I felt like crying. Really. The truth of Aaron’s miserable state is like a punch to the gut. It’s painful as all heck. But I held back those tears because I was waiting for that ray of light. Or, that happiness in the end.
I don’t think I’ll bother commenting on the technicalities of this book. I won’t say Adam Silvera’s words are so damn beautiful. I won’t say the characters are so freaking realistic and so freaking relatable (especially Thomas, for me). I won’t say how I much I loved this book and it’s definitely going in my Best of 2015 list.
I’ll let More Happy Than Not say all the words for me.
“I’m more happy than not. Don’t forget me.”
Aside: This book is such a wrecking ball of force to the heart. This book is a wake-up call to the cruelty of society. This book is everything we never realized until now.
When I saw the staggering amount of five-star reviews this book has, I had my doubts. I almost felt like this getting way too much hype. But I was proven wrong. And I am more happy than that I am.
The Bronx Squad Theme // We Are Golden by Mika. I can imagine this song playing during Family Day or whenever Aaron and his friends are playing manhunt.
Thomas // Teenage Dream by Darren Criss. This is soooo Aaron’s song for Thomas. Plus, the piano arrangement makes it even more heartfelt and honest.
Stay Alive // Truce by Twenty One Pilots. I think this song represents Aaron’s character best.
More Happy Than Not // The Kids Aren’t Alright by Fall Out Boy. The whole time I was reading this book, I was playing this song in my head over and over.