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History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera - Review

Friday, December 15, 2017

Where did I get it? I bought it in February

What's it about? The novel is told from Griffin's point of view and it has a dual narrative. At the beginning of the book, we learn that Theo, Griffin's ex boyfriend, is dead, and Griffin is talking to him on the day of his funeral. He's clearly quite unhappy with Theo, and with Theo's boyfriend Jackson. 

We then flash back in time a couple of years and see the beginning of Griffin and Theo's relationship, from when they tell each other they like each other, to when they have sex, to when they tell their families and the third member of their 'squad', Wade. Through the novel we see what happened between Griffin and Theo that led to Griffin being quite so angry with Theo even when he's dead. In the present day, we see Griffin begin to come to terms with Theo's death. 

I'd heard so much great stuff about this book which is why I bought it for myself, but I didn't feel like it lived up to the hype. Yes, the queer representation was good, and it deserves all the props. The two boys had to come out a number of times and each time it was met positively and with love, which I liked. The sex scenes are done sensitively and protection was mentioned a lot, both of which are things I like to see in YA novels. 

But I just felt like basically everyone in the book acted like a dickhead most of the time. I didn't like it, I didn't like the actions of a lot of the characters. If that was the point of the book - that teenagers are messy and stupid and selfish - then case accomplished, definitely. But that wasn't the hype I'd heard and so I felt very much like I was missing something. There were lovely parts, for sure, but for most of the book I was just thinking "Oh no, don't do that". I felt like the only person who acted with anything like a lot of integrity was Wade, who we don't see much of until near the end of the book. I wanted to love this... But I just didn't. 

What age range is it for? 14+ 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes, as I say above there's a lot of nice comings out and a lot of good discussion about sexuality (although I did feel there was a couple of fleeting bits of biphobia coming from Griffin). 

Are any main characters people of colour? Wade is black, although it's barely mentioned 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Griffin has OCD and it's something he struggles with throughout the novel. I felt like this part was well done. 

Is there any sex stuff? Yes, as I've said it is nicely done; it isn't explicit but I liked each scene (even when I thought the characters were making the wrong decision in having sex then, if that makes sense!) 

Are drugs mentioned or used? No 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, Theo has died and there is some graphic scenes around how he died. 

Are there swear words? A few, not many. 

What criticisms do I have? I think I've said them all above. 

Would I recommend the book? Honestly, I'm about 50/50 on this one. I have two more of Adam Silvera's book and I don't really feel like picking either of them up because of how I didn't like this one. I probably will give him another chance, but I can't say it will be soon. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I was just browsing my shelves and picked it up. I do love the cover! 

What other books is it like? Ummmm, I don't know! A lot of LGBTQ+ literature, especially for teens, tends to be really angsty and to focus on coming out and stuff, so I was glad this book didn't do that. 

How many stars? Three out of five. 

Where is the book going now? Oh I'll definitely keep it, on my LGBTQ+ shelf! 

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