More Happy Than Not
Author: Adam Silvera
Publisher: Soho Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Release Date: June 2nd 2015
Page Count: 293
More Happy Than Not has recently been gaining a lot of hype in the book blogging community. It is also no secret that I love the contemporary genre, especially those revolving around mental health and LGBTQ rights. I was recently making a purchase on the Chapters/Indigo website and in order to receive free shipping I needed to add another item to my cart. At first I was unsure of what that item should be, but then I saw More Happy Than Not in the “recommended for you” section. I decided to add it to my cart and I can gladly tell you that I am extremely happy with my decision.
Goodreads synopsis: In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely. When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is. Why does happiness have to be so hard?
More Happy Than Not was an amazing debut novel by author Adam Silvera! This novel was everything from heartbreaking and mind blowing to inspirational and educational all wrapped up together in one fantastically written novel. The moment you start reading More Happy Than Not, you can tell that this story is one that comes from the heart of Adam Silvera. It felt incredibly real and relatable and every detail felt genuine. Stories like More Happy Than Not remind us that not all coming of age stories are sunshine and rainbows and that sometimes you may have to deal with unfortunate consequences in order to find and accept yourself. In some cases, it may be too late.
Throughout the entire time I was reading this novel, all I wanted to do was give every single character a hug and tell them that everything was going to be okay. Yes, even Me-Crazy. The characters within More Happy Than Not unfortunately live in a less fortunate part of the city and in turn are very rebellious in nature. The situations in which these teens have to live through each day force them to grow up faster than they should.
More Happy Than Not is a very LGBTQ oriented novel. What differentiates it from other LGBTQ focused books I have read is that it deals with the troubling idea that someone can “cure” themselves of being gay by going through a certain procedure or taking certain medications. This is something that I think definitely needs to be talked about more, especially within the world of YA novels. Although the Leteo institute within the novel is fictional, I know that there are very similar organizations that are very real that claim they can “cure” people of being gay and it shocks and upsets me that things like this still exist. I think that stories like this need to be made more accessible to kids, youth and teens in order to help prevent situations like those similar to what happened within More Happy Than Not from happening in reality.
There were moments within More Happy Than Not which were completely shocking and kept me on the edge of my seat page after page. I feel as though I could have easily read this in one sitting if I had the time, not because of its length or difficulty level, but because I literally could not put it down.
I highly recommend More Happy Than Not to those who enjoy LGBTQ contemporary stories and more specifically to those who loved Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda or Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Just a warning…you may want to have a tissue box in close proximity while reading this beautiful novel.