More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

morehappythannot

As of June 2015, I joined the wonderful OwlCrate subscription service. This is a YA based subscription service that sends 1 book a month, usually a new release for that month. Also included in the box are themed items that relate to the theme for that month. For example my first box was Diversity, so we all received a wall hanging that says “Albus Dumbledore Supports Gay Marriage” etc. That being said this is a wonderful subscription service that I highly recommend everyone join! The team at OwlCrate does such a wonderful job of picking the books and items that I look forward to it each month! I cannot say enough of how much this subscription service brightens my day; plus I get to rejoice in the knowledge that there a just as many crazy book nerds out there as me. If you love YA or have someone in your life who does, this is a service that you need to get or gift ASAP. 

With that being said, in my first month with this service, I received the book More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera , which was way back in June but I couldn’t be more excited to review this book. At first I could not decide if this book would appeal to me or if it would be worth reading but I am so glad that I gave it the chance that it deserves.

A brief synopsis of the book, without any spoilers (I hope)! This book centers around a 16 year-old boy, Aaron Soto, in the Bronx. He is your typical teenage boy, has a girlfriend, loves comic books, hangs out with friends, and plays in the neighborhood. He does however have a troubled history. His dad committed suicide and he is struggling to find his feet again after that, plus his mother and older brother do not want to talk about anything and life is not in any way easy for Adam. He struggles with making his relationships work and really just embodies what it feels like to be a teenager. Early on we are introduced to Thomas, a boy who recently moved in to the neighborhood. Thomas and Aaron hit it off right away, spending all of their time together, to the detriment of Aaron’s other relationships. As their friendship builds, Aaron realizes that he has become increasingly attracted to Thomas and no longer wants to be with his girlfriend. Aaron realizes that he is gay and struggles with what that means to his ever changing world. Some chaos ensues and it is revealed that Aaron underwent a procedure previously at the Leteo Clinic, a clinic that helps people to forget painful memories, to forget that he was gay. After he remembers, his forgotten memories of his time before the Leteo Clinic, Aaron struggles to make his way in his new found identity. With a big twist at the end, that had me crying and I won’t spoil it here, Aaron comes to terms with his identity and decides that it is better to be more happy than not (hence the title ;)).

This book overwhelmed me, made me at a loss for words, and completely changed my view on life. I commend Adam Silvera for being a debut author and really going for it with this novel. It is such a poignant work for this day and age, especially the younger generation who may or may not be struggling with their identity. The way Adam wrote the characters in this novel made them so believable and so true to life that it was a joy to read and experience these characters lives along with them. I think that Aaron’s struggle with his identity and his absolute belief that it would be better if he “forgot” that he was gay, is such a powerful story and one that needs to be told more and more every day. No one should feel like they have to hide themselves for who and what they are. Our society needs a serious attitude adjustment but Mr. Silvera does a wonderful job in putting his characters struggles out there for the world to see. I laughed with this book, I cried with this book, I cringed at this book, but in the end this book made me take a closer look at my life and my goals. It really made me see that, yes life is hard and yes there are times when I wish that I could forget things in my past or change how I look but in the end that is not worth it. It is better, truly better, to just be happy. Be happy with your life, be happy with your neighbor, friends, family, roommates etc. Life is only so long and we should not spend it worrying about what we can change in our past but what we can do to make change that makes us happier. Aaron’s struggles and then his eventual acceptance really brought that home for me and made me start up this blog again. Even if only reach 1 person, I will know that it made my life that much happier. So I challenge all of you, stop being so negative towards yourself. Love yourself, just as much as your love your friends. Your life will be better for it, I assure you.

Whew…that was a hefty review but I am still getting into the swing of things on here. I hope you all will read this book and subscribe to OwlCrate, it will be worth it!

Rating: 475 pages out of 500. 

Upcoming blogs:

  • Unboxing of my newest OwlCrate
  • A new book review-title to be decided soon
  • A life posting about my new bookseller role

I hope you all enjoyed this review and I look forward to connecting with you all in the future.

Love to all of you!

Tori

 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Signed Copy *gasp*

Since I read the Hunger Games Series I decided on a journey of reading into Young Adult Literature for the week. Stumbling upon, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green at my local Fred Meyer I decided to make that my next book to review. I have read John’s work before (Looking for Alaska) and fell in love with his with his superior wit and writing style. The Fault in Our Stars just reconfirmed his greatness.

The Fault in Our Stars is a portrayal of children’s cancer with the main character Hazel having cancer in her thyroid that has spread to her lungs. Hazel, a normal teenager, with cancer, whom her mother thinks is depressed. Her mother wants her to make new friends, get out of the house and live her life while she still can. Hazel, obviously, is reluctant, but to please her mother (her caregiver) she agrees to go to weekly support group. There she meets Augustus Waters, a 17-year-old with cancer who has been in remission for 14 months. Augustus is instantly attracted to Hazel and stares at her the whole time in group. Hazel, wary (as one would hope), does not know what to make of Augustus. She agrees to watch a movie with Augustus at his home and a bond forms between the two. They continue hanging out together, texting and talking on the phone, and overall enjoying each others company. As the book continues, these two fall in love and struggle with the fate of their love. Will they be remembered when they die? Is the love that they share ever lasting? Does having cancer change them or their views on the world? These are some of the questions these two try to answer together, all while the struggle with the battle with cancer.

I did not want to give any spoilers in the synopsis, so it might sound a little cliché and not very synopsisy (my new word), but it was worth it to not spoil the book for you. I feel in love with Augustus and Hazel, two of the most hilariously unique characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading. You know you have a great character whom you will remember always, when in the first two chapters Augustus is playfully attacking the support groups leader for incorrect use of “literally.” From that moment Augustus had me hooked (even more hooked when he coined this gem “existentially fraught free throws”). Hazel or Hazel Grace as Augustus calls her, is right up there in witty phrases or Venn diagram humor, but she really tugs at your heart through out the novel. I could not put this book down! Yes it deals with cancer, but cancer is not the main point of the novel. As Hazel states “cancer books suck” this book is a far cry from a “cancer book.” John delves deeper into the struggle of life, death, love and just the plain old struggle of being a teenager is at heart the point of the novel. Both Augustus and Hazel are wise beyond their years and create a wonderful story. John Green has a way with characters that completely change how you view life. Hazel and Augustus’ story made me laugh, cry, frown etc. I experienced every emotion and truly felt connected to them even though they are fictional. So pick up this book ASAP, you will not regret it.

Side note: Be for warned though, grab a box of tissues.

All hail John Green, as one of the most amazing writers of Young Adult Literature. I am deeply compelled to tell you, my readers, to get your hands on any book by John Green and read it as soon as you can.

Rating: 500 pages out of 500. This book is too good to pass up!

Doeg for now

Tori