Before I start the review I want to add a TRIGGER WARNING on this book. It deals with topics like depression, suicide, self harm, and homophobia. Please read at your own caution and stay safe.
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera is a story about our main character, Aaron Soto, who's having a rough time because his father recently committed suicide. Aaron has a supportive girlfriend and a group of friends who he's known for a good chunk of his life so with them being with him and making his life feel a bit normal again he's starting to heal and try to find the happiness he lost. However, the smile shaped scar on his wrist isn't letting him fully forget what happened.
This story is set in our world, but the biggest difference is a procedure has been invented by a company named Leteo to provide people a chance to forget specific memories or experiences. You go in, have a consultation and then you're either approved or denied to undergo the procedure where a specific memory of your choosing fades away.
"Memories: some can be sucker punching, others carry you forward; some stay with you forever, others you forget on your own. You can't really know which ones you'll survive if you don't stay on the battlefield, bad times shooting at you like bullets. But if you're lucky, you'll have plenty of good times to shield you."
I don't want to give away more than that, so if you haven't read this book yet, I'll give a quick review and say that I really loved this book. It had me hooked pretty early on and the characters are what pulled me into the story. There are so many pieces to his story, and you're not entirely sure how they fit or how it'll all end up, but once it all comes together it's worth it.
"I've become this happiness scavenger who picks away at the ugliness of the world, because if there's happiness tucked away in my tragedies, I'll find it no matter what."
I didn't know what to expect going into this book so I started reading not knowing what it was going to be about, and I think I am happy I ended up doing that. I assumed it was going to be a normal contemporary love story that involved mental health and maybe gay characters but instead I got this raw and very emotional story about pain and how it determines the way you deal with the hardships of life. It discuses the topic of how pain helps you become a better version of yourself because without it you cannot have happiness. I really enjoyed the conversation I was having with myself, would I choose to forget a bad part in my life if I could have the procedure? If so, what memory? It's such an interesting topic because the things that stay with you never really leave. Which is shown with Aaron's smile scar. It's a constant reminder of what happened. I haven't felt heartbroken while reading a book in so long. This is definitely a book that is going to make you feel so many things, but not in a manipulative pull at your heartstrings way. It's an important read about mental health, acceptance, and dealing with rejection. If you suffer with depression, this may be a good book to read if you want to feel not so alone, but like I said earlier, it tackles heavy themes, so be careful if you may be affected by these topics.
"Sometimes pain is so unmanageable that the idea of spending another day with it seems impossible. Other times pain acts as a compass to help you get through the messier tunnels of growing up. But the pain can only help you find happiness if you can remember it."
Adam Silvera's writing is amazing. He writes emotional moments and humor really well and if I wasn't teary eyed because of laughter, it was because he had broken my heart. Also, it must take some serious skill to get everything to click so seamlessly by the end of the story. Once I started to realize what was happening I out loud gasped, "no way." Because I wasn't ready for it and I was so caught up with the story, all the clues laid out for me were overlooked and I could have easily been confused but I wasn't. I love when the ending surprises me versus me guessing what is going to happen, it's so much more fun that way. Another great thing about this book is that every single character in this story is flawed. Deeply flawed. In my opinion it made the themes of this story more relatable and the themes and character arcs hit home even harder.
"We all make mistakes...but it's also a step in the right direction. If nothing else it's a step away from the wrong one."
Overall, I highly recommend this story. I am in awe at Silvera for producing this amazing book as a debut novel! I cannot wait to read his newest release, History is All You Left Me which came out only a handful of days ago. I am excited to jump into another world that he has created, even if it seems like that book is another one that's going to break me.