Author: Adam Silvera
Synopsis: The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto — miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor or how his friends aren’t always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough.
Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he’s can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.
Huge thank you to Soho Teen and Edelweiss for this ARC!
First off, Adam, man, I wasn’t ready for those damn feels. You promised them over Twitter for months. Adam and I have had many conversations back and forth, so colour me tickled when I got the Edelweiss approval to read his debut.
He ripped my heart out. No seriously, it hurt. More Happy Than Not is a powerful book about identity, acceptance, and finding one’s “happiness”. Aaron is a character who will be unforgettable for many readers, as he’s someone so honest, yet so lost. His narrative is raw, uncomfortable, and heavy in terms of his emotional imbalances and the turmoil that he blames himself for. He feels by getting a Leteo Procedure that all the sadness and emptiness that he feels will be completely removed and he will feel the happiness that has been missing from his life. If only it were that simple.
First off, I really need to praise Silvera for his secondary characters. Genevieve, Eric, Thomas, his mother, there are so many well fleshed out secondary characters in this novel, all of fulfil a purpose and beyond. They don’t let Aaron get away with anything, often forcing him to come to terms with reality whether he wants to or not. I thought Aaron and Gen’s relationship by far was one of the most sad, yet interesting of the entire novel. I won’t spoil anything, but the back and forth that the two have it’s very powerful throughout.
Second, watching Aaron come undone in this novel is part of why its so beautiful. Aaron has so much to hide, yet he’s so honest to the reader. Watching him feel torn a part will make your heart hurt, and yet there is a sense of helplessness on the reader’s end because you know how it’s going to go and, if you’re like me, you’ll be screaming at the book, trying to deter Aaron from going forward in what he feels is the “ultimate solution.” His value and self-worth are always being questioned, and it’s heartbreaking because there are so many young people out there who should not be questioning that — you are always worthy and no one can ell you otherwise.
Lastly, this book just emotional wrecked me in so many ways and for that, I both curse and give my utter love to Adam Silvera. Aaron’s journey is such an important one to work through. It’s you thinking, and the emotional investment that More Happy Than Not takes you through is just so challenging and hard to look away from. This book is beautiful, smart, and believe me, Aaron is so easy to fall for.