Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
293 pages, hardcover
Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.
More Happy Than Not was one of my most-anticipated reads for the year, and I was not disappointed at all. It’s hard to review this one simply because it is one of those books you must read to experience. The synopsis doesn’t give much away, except this: The Leteo Institute has developed a procedure to alter and remove certain memories, and when Aaron (whose friends aren’t that great, whose mother is overworked and hardly ever there, whose brother is distant, and whose father committed suicide) meets Thomas and can think of no one but him, he decides to turn to Leteo to “straighten himself out” because being gay isn’t welcome where he lives. That’s not even half of the book though, but I honestly can’t tell you anything else without spoiling it or giving something away.
I can talk about Adam’s writing though, which is honest, heart-wrenching, sad, hopeful, and wonderful. Aaron’s voice is so well-done. Chapters can move from gut-wrenchingly sad to laugh-out-loud funny within a page, and it never once felt disjointed or stilted. I will say it was hard to connect with Aaron at first, mostly because he’s not really sure who he is, but I definitely wanted to keep reading. It’s practically impossible to not want to reach into the book and hug him, to want to be his best friend, to tell him to keep going, keep trying, keep living. He’s a brilliant character.
Remember how I said you can’t really talk about this book without giving anything away? Well, it’s true, because there are many twists and turns and surprises throughout this whole book. I never once knew what was going to happen next and I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see. My heart was broken and put back together and broken again. I cried and laughed and cried some more. This book is a rollercoaster in the best sense of the word.
More Happy Than Not is a book of self-discovery and acceptance. It’s about being okay with who you are and not caring what anyone else thinks of it. It’s also about heartbreak and pain and hope. A few quotes I especially liked:
“Sometimes you just have to push ahead to find what you’re looking for.” (Page 136)
“Sometimes pain is so unmanageable that the idea of spending another day with it seems impossible. Other times pain acts as a compass to help you get through the messier tunnels of growing up…” (Page 270)
The bottom line: There’s no way to summarize this book or how wonderful it is without simply saying, “Go read it.”
Rating: 8 – freaking fantastic