Book Review: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

More Happy Than Not by Adam SilveraAuthor:  Adam Silvera

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

ARC Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Becky Albertalli’s debut novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a wonderful, real, and epically beautiful book. It deserves to be read.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens AgendaAuthor:  Becky Albertalli

Genre: Young adult, contemporary

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: April 7, 2015

320 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

When one of Simon’s emails to Blue – an anonymous and not openly gay (like Simon) boy from his school – gets into the wrong hands, he’s blackmailed into helping this bully get the girl or his sexual identity will be out in the open for everyone. Even worse to Simon, Blue’s identity could be exposed to the school. Basically, Simon’s junior year is turning into a complicated disaster. Simon hates change but he has to find a way to adapt before he’s pushed out of his comfort zone.

I loved Simon. So much. He’s my kind of person – nerdy, funny, smart, sweet, and he’s got this brilliant dry sense of humor that had my “giggles keep escaping around the edges (ARC 237).” What a great quote, right? He doesn’t understand why white and straight are the defaults in our society. Why shouldn’t everyone have to come out – straight, gay, asexual, whatever. He just wants to be happy. I was rooting for him so hard the entire time. I wanted Simon and Blue to live happily ever after. I know nothing is that easy, but I wanted it for him. That’s how real he felt. A favorite quote from Simon:

I fall a little bit in love with everyone. (ARC 32)

Blue and Simon have been getting to know each other through emails for most of the school year. They don’t know who the other is, just that they are gay and not out. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about how much I love books with letters or emails or other forms of communication before, so you can imagine how much I adored Blue and Simon’s emails. They get steadily more flirtatious as the book goes on and it was so cute to see how much they liked each other. Then when we finally get the big reveal and they meet each other? SWOON. I had been hoping most of the book that Blue was who I thought he was. I was SO HAPPY about it.

Other things I loved: realistic friendships that were supportive even through issues and change, Simon (yeah, I already mentioned him but I had to again), Simon’s parents, Simon’s outlook on life, Blue.

One thing I didn’t like: I wish we’d had more time with Blue and Simon after they meet in real life. I want to swoon over them some more.

The bottom line: Everyone needs to meet Simon. He’s so human that I feel like everyone would be more human after having met him. I don’t even know if that makes sense, but, basically, this book deserves to be read. It’s such a wonderful love story and it’ll make you feel all melty on the inside. I honestly can’t believe this is a debut.

Rating:  9 – practically perfect

Want to learn more about Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda? Come back tomorrow when I’ll be kicking off the excerpt tour!