Goodreads: History Is All You Left Me
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Griffin has lost his best friend, ex-boyfriend, first love, and first everything, to a tragic drowning accident. Now not only does he have to cope with a giant Theo shaped hole in his life, he also has to deal with his worsening OCD, and probably worst of all, Jackson—Theo’s new boyfriend from California. The story shifts as Griffin recounts the “History” of his friendship/relationship with Theo and Wade, to “Today”, as he processes living a life without Theo, and deals with a growing, albeit reluctant, bond with Jackson. Griffin must learn to forgive and accept the past, in order to move on and embrace his present and future.
Firstly, let me say: I love a good book that can make me cry, and Adam Silvera had me bursting out in crying jags throughout this whole novel. This was a heartbreaking and touching story that explores friendship, love, loss, and grief between four boys. The writing is infused with such deep sadness and longing that it’s almost tangible, but there are enough humorous and lighthearted moments between the characters that it doesn’t bog you down.
“I’m sorry, but please don’t be mad at me for reliving all of it. History is all you left me.”
I think what made this book so enjoyable was how real the characters and situations were. Everyone has had a first love and a heartbreak that completely shatters you. It’s not easy being friends with an ex, and it’s even harder to see them moving on with someone new, especially when you’re not there yet. This book shows how fragile first love often is and illustrates how painful it can be to realize and accept that, especially as the person going through the breakup. Reading about Griffin’s struggle to be happy for Theo moving on with Jackson was so painful because it was relatable. I mean, ouch, I could definitely feel the residual sting in my heart over my own first love, and that happened years ago! I think it also shows how certain people will never leave your heart, even if they’re no longer in your life.
“Even if I only got to spend that first drive to the planetarium with Theo, he broke me in a way everyone should be lucky to be cracked open at least once. I had the privilege of being destroyed by him until we found a better, real me inside of the person I was pretending to be.”
As much as this was a love story, it was also about dealing with loss and coping with grief, and how for better or worse, everybody reacts differently to these moments in life. Silvera does a beautiful job illustrating how raw it can be to go through the stages of grief, especially for four young boys who’ve lost someone that played such a central and anchoring role in their lives. I really appreciated how these characters, and their emotions, and interactions were depicted so genuinely.
”There’s nothing wrong with someone saving my life, I’ve realized, especially when I can’t trust myself to get the job done right. People need people. That’s that.”
This was such a beautiful and touching read. While there was a lot of sadness and pain in the writing, the story ended on an uplifting and hopeful note, leaving you to believe that everything that’s going to work out, will work out right in the end. This is the second Adam Silvera book that I’ve read and with it, I think he has solidified his position on my list of authors that can make me feel all the feels, and cry a good cry.
Have you read History Is All You Left Me?
If you haven’t, is it already in your TBR or will you add it in?