Reviews

More Happy Than Not, by Adam Silvera

kimberly_blotevogel89's review against another edition

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5.0

Once I read the first chapter of this book I didn't want to stop. I flew through it and it was fantastic! Heartbreaking and hopeful all at once which is the best type of book to read! My love for this book is ginormous.❤

tragiclemons's review against another edition

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5.0

Goddamn it. It was so good 10/10 would recommend it. I love how things don't turn out to be what you think will happen.

againren's review against another edition

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2.0

i'm not really sure what happened here... the story was ok, but it made me feel weirdly depressed? and not in that post-masterpiece-depression, "i just finished crooked kingdom and i've never cried so much in my life" way; i felt kind of empty?? and weird? and it never happened again, so... idk

em_brebs's review against another edition

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5.0

I have been putting off reading this book for much longer than I should've. And I didn't even really like the beginning; but then it all turned around. There is a twist, which I didn't figure out, and from there on out it was basically brilliance. It is heartbreaking and terrible and if you are looking for a happy, or even mildly optimistic, book than I would recommend you steer very, very clear of this book. The main character is complex and intriguing and the relationships are complicated and when everything comes together it just works really well and is just so sad. It is really incredibly sad. And really incredibly brilliant. Spectacular debut novel.

This book is about Aaron who has a great girlfriend and a great group of friends and then he meets this guy. And starts to maybe fall for him. Hovering in the background, he is aware of a company, Leteo Institute, which can make his memories disappear (or suppress them, technically.)

SPOILERSSSSSSSS DISCUSSION!!!!!!!!!!

So I totally didn't guess that he had already had the procedure. I had literally no idea. And then I realized. And then I realized why his dad killed himself. And then who Dr. Castle was. And then that Collin was that guy in the comic book store. And it all came together and UGH JUST SO GOOD!

The end is both super hopeful and terribly sad. He is finally able to find happiness in moments that don't immediately seem happy. But, his memory is slowly deteriorating. He will not remember much in the years to come. He won't be able to have a relationship. His life will probably be unhappy. At least now he knows how to find the happiness in the unhappiness, but still. It is not a hopeful existence. It makes me close to tears just thinking about it.

It is really curious to me that we never really know Thomas's sexuality. Is he lying or is Aaron searching for things that were never truly there? And should we just, on principle, accept what Thomas identifies as and not even question it? The dynamic between Aaron and Thomas's possible sexualities is really interesting. Like, how much does Aaron depend on Thomas? How much does Aaron depend on his conception of Thomas?

And, speaking of mysteries, did Thomas and Genevieve hook up? Did they start dating? And like, if so, WTF? Like, let's be real, Aaron cheated on Genevieve an unconscionable amount of times (not that even one time is conscionable, but you know what I mean.) He betrayed her. But, if they started to date too, that also feels like a deep betrayal. I don't know.

So the twist really worked for me. Before I read it, I was like, "WTF is this gay guy? He just magically turns gay over night? That seems super entirely unrealistic. Like, you can realize that you're gay in one moment, but, like, that doesn't seem like an accurate way to portray the general experience." It should have been portrayed, in my opinion, with crushes on guys before and a fairly certain reasoning that girls just were not right (at least, if he was going to identify as gay. Not as bi or pan or heteroflexible etc etc.) So, what I'm saying, is that it was portrayed really, really, well after we understand everything. I was going to fault this book for acting like homosexuality, or any kind of sexuality, is turned on overnight. But, it turns out, that was kind of actually the case here: it took one event to start the unwinding: to bring back all of those old memories and feelings (which, had, in fact, not just appeared magically overnight but had really started with a crush on Brendan and more from years previous.) I thought that this book just had bad writing and plotting, not that it was actually going to come together and make perfect sense and be beautiful. I should've had more trust.

Another thing that I really didn't like at the beginning of the book but that I began to have more appreciation for as the book continued was these games and the Trade Date and stuff like that. It felt inauthentic to me. Like, we get it, these people are close and have made up games. I don't know, it just felt kind of juvenile to me. But then, once we realize where the Trade Date was coming from (i.e. Gen being like, "oh our relationship needs serious help") it gains value. And once the games begin to offer a setting and context for these character interactions, it gains more value (though I'm still not the hugest fan of them.)

One small note about this book and its depiction of being gay. Being gay and having a different gender identity from the one assigned to you at birth are two different things. Like, wanting to play the female character in a video game does not indicate either of them, necessarily, but seems like it would lean towards identifying with the female character (as evidenced by the choice to play as the female character.) This is different from playing the Sims and creating a male character, and then having that male character have relationships with other males.

The violence was so heartbreaking. From the two times that Aaron is a victim of hate crimes (and I love that they say that word in the book. Hate crimes. It makes it realer.) to also his violence towards himself and his father's suicide. It was a perfect amount to communicate the rawness and harshness that gave this book an edge, without being so much that it became gratuitous.

I wish that we had a little bit more guilt, on Aaron's side, about cheating on Gen. It seemed like it was almost skipped over, or made to seem okay because he was protecting himself, and maybe she figured it out with time. But still. Cheating is not okay. Don't cheat. And it's not okay even if you think it leads to a positive outcome. You are destroying someone's trust. I don't think that should ever be brushed over.

This book is murky. My opinions are murky about it. And his relationships are so complicated and the decisions that he makes tend to not be great ones. I feel so, so bad for him.

The four chapters where he's saying goodbye to everyone are really, really good. And heartbreaking and brilliant and poignant. And just so good.

I will have to check out anything that Mr. Silvera comes up with from here on out.

FFFFIIIIINNNNNNN!!!!!!!!

As was stated about ten million times in the review above, this book is brilliant and heartbreaking: 95%

katsbooks's review against another edition

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challenging emotional tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

“It’s okay how some stories leave off without an ending. Life doesn’t always deliver the one you would expect.” 

“I’m more happy than not. Don’t forget me.” 

“Happiness shouldn’t be this hard.” 

This book was a complete roller coaster. One of my students recommended it so, of course, I had to follow through and let them know how I felt about it. I'll be real, I thought I was going to get an angsty teen novel, and it was that, but it was also so much more than that. It was fast-paced and angsty, like I said, but it also included so much more about relationships and trauma. So definite trigger warnings for suicide (attempted and successful), emotional abuse, grief, death of a parent, hate crimes and medical trauma. There are probably more that I'm forgetting but those are just the rapid fire ones I could think of off the top of my head. I enjoyed the time I spent with this book and I am definitely going to give Adam Silvera's other work a try. This was his debut novel and, again, it was good, it just felt a little lacking to me. There were times when the writing felt a little clunky and awkward. There were some points where I feel like it dragged on just a bit too much because of all the different elements. But for a debut, it's pretty solid. I may even put my copy in my classroom for my other students to enjoy.

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jennapowell19's review against another edition

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5.0

Best book I've read this year! This book broke me

burnt_milk's review against another edition

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4.0

This hit me in ways I wasn’t expecting.
First of all I wasn’t a fan of some aspects of the writing (over expositional and awkwardly worded at points, descriptions that could’ve been more effective if shown rather than told, though that can be a stylistic choice) however the further into the book, the better the writing got and the more engaged I became in this world.
The premise was interesting but what Silvera actually used it for in the end was remarkable and hit really close to home. I understand this is Silvera’s debut novel, so I’ll be interested to read other works by him.
3.5/5

dxtrjames's review against another edition

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5.0

"If the blind can find joy in music, and the deaf can discover it with colors, I will do my best to always find the sun in the darkness because my life isn't one sad ending - it's a series of endless happy beginnings."

This is one hell of an emotional ride.

The book, despite the title, is a dark, distressing, and depressing novel. And I can't believe myself that I took this long to read it.

More Happy Than Not deals with homophobia, depression, mental health, and suicide among other things. It is written with so much pathos and poignancy, which made it all the more sad and bleak.

It is a story of science vs. nature, where the main character, Aaron, struggles to come to terms with who he is,
Spoiler mainly because he thought that him being gay was what drove his father into taking his own life, and drove himself into almost committing suicide,
that he wanted to forget. And he did, with the help of Leteo, an institute that helps their patient forget a tragic event in their past. He was happy living his pretend life until he met the person that leads to him remembering.

More Happy Than Not is a story about how we can't always live the life we want to live. It is a story of self-reflection; of how we're all like Aaron. How we all want to forget the bad and tragic memories from our past; how we all have insecurities we wish to change; and how we all want to start our life all over again. It is a book of second chances. A second chance at life and a chance to not fuck it up again. But all the bleakness aside, it is also a book about friendship, family, love, and self-acceptance. It taught me to always find happiness even in all the unhappiness that surrounds me. But most importantly, it is a book that tells us to always remember our past, all of it, for it is what made us us, and no matter how hard we try, we cannot really forget and change who we are.

Adam Silvera wrote an unrelentingly and painfully honest story that will leave you bawling your eyes out but, at the same time, will fill your hearts with hope and love. It was hauntingly beautiful.

This made me more happy than not.

claudiastaggs's review against another edition

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emotional sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

vanybooks's review against another edition

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4.0

Like any other Adam Silvera book: Perfect.
The only reason that I'm not rating it 5 stars is that while I've read all his other books this one was my least favorite.
I just couldn't really connect with the characters as well as with Rufus and Matheo etc.
Also it might be because of the ending but who knows.
Still definitely worth reading! I loved every second of it.