- my rating: 5 stars
- published by: Simon & Schuster
- genres: contemporary, lgbt+
- diversity: gay mc, bisexual li, gay li, OCD representation (mc), black side character, minor character in wheelchair
- content warnings: drowning, anxiety, OCD
- where to purchase: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
OCD-afflicted seventeen-year-old, Griffin, has just lost his first love – his best friend, ex-boyfriend and the boy he believed to be his ultimate life partner – in a drowning accident. In a desperate attempt to hold onto every last piece of the past, a broken Griffin forges a friendship with Theo’s new college boyfriend, Jackson. And Griffin will stop at nothing to learn every detail of Theo’s new college life, and ultimate death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin’s own version of the truth – both in terms of what he’s willing to hide, and what true love ultimately means…
You know that line in Harry Potter … “you’re gonna suffer, but you’re gonna be happy about it” ? That is what reading this book feels like
This book absolutely destroyed me, and that’s in big part to Adam Silvera’s amazing ability to write human emotions and reactions. What I love about this book is almost every character is messy and does things that are, kind of awful, but it’s realistic. I think the way that trauma and grief was explored was incredible. This book is totally gut-wrenching and that is what is so good about it, it does dive into these issues but it does it full on and honestly and I really loved that about it.
This book primarily follows Griffin, the main character, as he relives the memories of his ex-boyfriend Theo who recently died due to a drowning accident. One thing I loved about this book was the utilisation of the unreliable narrator. Due to his grief, and his rose-tainted memories of Theo not everything we hear about him is entirely accurate. Griffin conceals or distorts the truth from himself and I loved watching that self-deception unravel.
Adam Silvera also explored sexuality, relationships and mental illness masterfully, neatly tying them all together and exploring their intersections. One thing I liked about the discussions around sexuality was the coming out scenes, and also the scenes of the boys going to buy condoms. I think putting safe sex practices into books is a really good thing.
“But I’m a human too, with my own human feelings. You used our intimite history to create a future with someone else. You used our love against me. Now I’m using your love against you.”
The story flips between chapters set in the present, and set in the past, and I enjoyed both timeframes equally. As the past and the present time frames got closer and closer, I got sadder and sadder, and I was definitely beyond upset when the climax hit. The character development was beyond good, it really blew me away and I adored everything about Griffins growth and realisations.
This book is achingly sad at times, but I also found it really happy and beautiful. There are moments where you laugh and smile, and even though that made it harder it also made it better.
This book is OwnVoices for the gay representation and OCD representation. This representation isn’t mine to talk about, however I will say I was disappointed with the bisexual representation in this book. Griffin says some biphobic thing to Theo and I didn’t like how they were never truly addressed or countered. At the time reading it it quite hurt and even though I love this book that one paragraph was very off-putting.
“I love you, but I can’t stay longer. It may be a while before I speak to you again, I’m so happy you were my first, Theo, and you were worth all the heartache. I hope I wasn’t living in some alternate universe where I wasn’t actually your first love, too. But this universe is the only one that matters and I have one last question for you: I didn’t get our history wrong, did I?”
I adored this book because I just think it was so clever, so raw and so honest. I want to reread it eventually because it just meant so much to me and I just was so impacted by it. I enjoy many books, but not all of them make me feel on a deep – this is more then just a book way. But History is All You Left Me definitely did. I don’t have enough words to really describe how much this book moved me, but it did and I love it.
Thankyou for reading my review of History is All You Left Me. Let me know what you think of this book in the comments! I just need to read More Happy Then Not now and I would have read all his books.
Until next time!