Book Review: 'More happy than not'

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Adam Silvera. Soho Teen, 293 pp. $18.99

Aaron Soto is 16 years old -- hardly the most balanced time of anyone's life -- struggling with living in the Bronx projects, the likely PTSD of finding his father after he committed suicide in the family's bathtub, and getting over his friend's violent, and unfortunate passing. It's enough for anyone to want to forget, but for Aaron, what he wants most to forget is the fact that he's gay.

In his community, being gay is dangerous. But more than that, Aaron wants to forget because the guy he's fallen for can't be with him. The only way to get over this, he feels, is to get his mind erased by the local Leteo Institute, a program with a "revolutionary memory-relief procedure." In many ways, "More Happy Than Not" reflects the movie "Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind."

I was surprised how relatable Aaron is, especially to someone that can relate to nothing in his situation. But I think this is where Adam Silvero shines the most. Aaron is searching for something nearly every 16-year-old reader is searching for (or nearly every reader who can remember being 16-years-old), an identity and enough evidence to believe that everything will be okay.

On top of the fact that "More Happy Than Not" is a great young adult novel and a great debut novel, this is just a good book. It's heartbreaking, funny and hopeful, and I don't think I'll be able to forget it.

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