History Is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera
When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.
To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.
If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.
Review: Well, that was depressing. I guess you can say that about all of Adam Silvera’s books. Just look at the titles. They’ll tell you exactly what you’re getting into.
In History Is All You Left Me, Griffin’s ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident. At the funeral, Griffin meets Jackson, who had been dating Theo at the time of his death. The boys develop an unhealthy obsession with all things Theo. They want to walk where he walked, see what he saw, feel what he felt. But, if they want a future, they’ll have to learn how to leave the past behind.
I loved Silvera’s first book, More Happy Than Not. It’s beautifully written, unique, relatable. I had massive expectations for History Is All You Left Me. Did it live up to my expectations? Not really. It’s a good book, but I expected more.
The characters are realistic. They’re awkward, nerdy, and very messed up. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but they invent some terrible ways of coping with Theo’s death. Still, you can’t help but love them. They’re sweet and (somewhat) honest. (In messed-up ways.) I was rooting for them, but I also wanted to punch them in their faces. Hard. It’s an odd situation.
For me, the most interesting part of the story is what it says about relationships. We never completely leave old relationships behind. They always change us in some way. We bring those changes with us into our new relationships. That seems super obvious, but I had never really thought about it before. It’s hard to fully “get over” somebody because that person changed us. We can’t undo our history, but if we want a future, we can’t live in the past. Take the best parts of your history with you and keep moving forward.
“History is nothing. It can be recycled or thrown away completely. It isn’t this sacred treasure chest I mistook it to be. We were something, but history isn’t enough to keep something alive forever.” – History Is All You Left Me
“Time doesn’t heal all wounds. We both know that’s bullshit; it comes from people who have nothing comforting or original to say.” – History Is All You Left Me
As much as I love the characters, I got bored with the plot. I’ve said before that I’m not a romance fan. I couldn’t get interested in the never-ending Theo obsession. I understand that Griffin has an obsessive personality. I also understand that when people die, you obsess about them for a while. Still, the Theo drama grated on my nerves.
Theo is a nice kid (mostly). There’s nothing wrong with him (mostly). He’s (mostly) a good boyfriend to Griffon and Jackson. As a reader, I like Theo, but I don’t love him. Since I didn’t share the characters’ Theo obsession, I got bored reading about it. I badly wanted this book to have a subplot so I could get some time away from Theo.
I also think the writing got a little heavy-handed at times. For the most part, the writing is fabulous, but sometimes I felt like the author was trying really, really hard to make me sad. I don’t have emotions, so it didn’t work. That might just be my dysfunction. I know that other people found the book sad.
Griffin isn’t a reliable narrator, which is something I always appreciate in novels. The ending caught me off-guard (in a good way). I didn’t see that coming. All of my boredom vanished when Griffin started confessing his secrets. They’re very scandalous secrets.
I have mixed feelings about this book. It didn’t live up to the high expectations I had from More Happy Than Not. However, I liked it enough that I’m excited to read They Both Die At The End.
“One night we argued for a solid hour over who would win in a duel between Lord Voldemort and Darth Vader. I'm surprised we're still friends.” – History Is All You Left Me