Author: Adam Silvera
Publisher: Soho Teen
Synopsis: 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? Via Amazon
Overall Rating: 4.5 stars
Trigger Warning for: Homophobia, abuse, violence, drugs, alcohol, sex, microaggressions, suicide, self-harm
- Amazing characters
- Adorable romance
- Cleverly crafted plot
- Powerful themes
- Own Voices
- More happy than not?
- MAJOR TRIGGER WARNING
- Some typos?
In-Depth Review: Warning: May contain spoilers.
This is a book that gave me a lot of emotions, so much so that I wasn’t even sure it was fair to write this review immediately after reading it. As a reader, I’m not usually triggered by books, but this one really did get to me. There are a lot of dark themes and a lot of mentions of things relating to suicide and self-harm, which made me need to stop and take a break partway through. However, the portrayal of these themes was handled respectfully, and while I did feel the need to put some distance between myself and the book, I needed the distance because these elements rung so true, not because of any mishandling, and that in and of itself was impressive.
I don’t want to give away the details of this story because you deserve to experience them first hand, but I just want to give a little something for anyone unsure of whether or not to pick this one up. Adam Silvera is an openly gay author, one I’ve been meaning to pick up a book from for a long while. If you’re looking for a story to balance out the heartache you’ve felt after taking in so much tragic gay media, I’m afraid this isn’t the book for you. However, if you’re looking for a book with well-rounded, true-to-life queer characters that doesn’t resort to the “Kill Your Gays” trope and creates heart-wrenching, mind-spinning story lines, you’ve found it.
Final Verdict: Possibly my favorite LGBT+ centered book.
“This is how Thomas lives his life, one misfired dream after the other. That journey may stretch for a lifetime, but even if he doesn’t discover that spark until he’s an old man, Thomas will die with wrinkles he earned and a smile on his face.”
“Maybe he thinks Back Then was a better time to be born. I personally think Much Later would’ve been a better time instead of Right Now.”