While waiting for They Both Die at the End to come out (and it DID this week!! *squeal*) I decided to read one of Adam Silvera’s other books. I’ve heard SO many amazing things about History is All You Left Me and Adam Silvera. This book did not disappoint 🙂
“One night we argued for a solid hour over who would win in a duel between Lord Voldemort and Darth Vader. I’m surprised we’re still friends.”
― Adam Silvera,
When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.
To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.
If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.
Young Adult / Contemporary / LGBT / 320 pages
Disclaimer: This is a review of the audiobook. I did not read the print edition.
Love the diversity in this book. First of all, there are LGBT characters (Griffin and Jackson, who are gay, and Theo, who is bisexual.) Second of all, our main character Griffin has a mental illness (obsessive-compulsive disorder).
I feel that OCD is misunderstood at times. People often joke that they have OCD, because they are overly organized or perfectionistic, but I think it is more than that. In this book we get a sense of what having OCD could be like, though I can’t comment about the accuracy of this representation. I like that although OCD plays a role in Griffin’s life and in his story, it is not the focus of this book. Just like how I imagine that a person can have mental illness without it being the focus of his or her life. I also like that his OCD is not “cured” in the end, which is realistic, given that mental illness is something that people live with.
In this book, we get up close and personal with Griffin, who is caught between the past and the present. I love that the writing shifts between Griffin’s memories with Theo, and the present day, when he is coming to terms with his loss. It is touching to read about how Griffin and Theo fell in love and the firsts that they experienced together. As the story progresses, the present and the past converge, and Griffin’s feelings about Theo and his relationships with the other characters change.
Although the story is written in Griffin’s point of view, the author uses the second person (“you”) to refer to Theo. It is almost as if Griffin is writing a letter or having a one-sided conversation with Theo in his head.
I like how the supporting characters, Wayne (Griffin’s childhood friend) and Jackson, develop throughout the novel. I love how perceptions of both characters change in subtle ways as Griffin learns more about them. It captures perfectly how first impressions can change, and sometimes even friends that we’ve known for a while can surprise us. And even though Theo had passed away prior to the beginning of the novel, his presence is felt throughout the book, and he is a character in his own right.
The audiobook is narrated well. It took a short while for me to warm up to the narrator’s voice. At times it was difficult to distinguish between characters’ voices, and between dialogue versus Griffin’s inner thoughts. Overall, I did enjoy the audiobook.
The writing is absolutely beautiful. Despite this being a heavier read, it took almost no time for me to finish this book. It’s one of those books that I got addicted to very early on in the novel and just couldn’t wait to finish.
The Bottom Line:
History is All You Left Me is a beautifully written book about overcoming grief and living with mental illness.