More Happy Than Not Review

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Summary of More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera


In the months after his father's suicide, it's been tough for sixteen-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?



Review

I made it my goal to read more diverse books in 2017, especially own voices authors. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera fits the bill on both accounts. It's a book which promotes the idea that we as humans need to remember the good and bad in life because it makes us who we are.

What I like most about this book are the relationships between the main character Aaron and his love interests. The fact that both relationships are flawed makes them all the more real. The relationship Aaron has with his girlfriend Genevieve is comfortable and easy but not fulfilling and he knows he's letting her down too. His relationship with Thomas is exciting but heartbreaking for Aaron. As a reader, I want Aaron to find happiness in at least one of his relationships, but Silvera does a good job of giving a realistic portrayal of the trials and tribulations of love in a contemporary romance.

Because More Happy Than Not is a contemporary romance, I was thrown off by the science fiction turn the book takes with the presence of the Letero Institute which can erase specific memories. Other than the Letero Institute, there is no other indication of science fiction in the setting. The setting is basically present day but with the ability to change people's memories. This felt wonky to me, especially in a contemporary romance. I know authors like to blend/twist/reshape genres together. Personally, when I pick up a contemporary romance that's all I want. I don't want random science fiction mixed into it. Maybe Silvera was going for magical realism (which I don't particularly care for), but in any case it wasn't my cup of tea. Either put the entire story into a science fiction setting or keep it all contemporary romance.

All in all, I like the message of acceptance that the book promotes and am glad to have read a book with a diverse LGBTQ narrator. I would give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

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