Review: More Happy than Not

Book Review: More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera
more_happy_cover Book title More Happy than Not
Series No
Author Adam Silvera
Pages 293
Year published 2015
Category | Genre Young Adult | Contemporary
Rating 4 stars

Official Summary

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-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?

“Adam Silvera’s More Happy than Not is a realistic portrayal of a teenager’s life with just enough twist to keep you on your toe and huge emphasis of finding yourself in the crowd.”

I read this book because it was #FBCYA March book of the month. Actually, I’ve been planning to read it since forever but me being me it didn’t quite happen until I had the incentive to. I am so glad I read it when I did because the timing couldn’t even be more right. At that time, there was an LGBT issue (which shouldn’t have been an issue at all) that gained a lot of momentum in my country and I lost a little faith in humanity throughout the process. Thankfully reading this book somehow restored it quite a bit, although I believe we still have a long long way to go. SO thank you #FBCYA and Adam Silvera for this book.

This is a non-spoiler review apart from those mentioned in the official summary, but there will be a lot of feels mentioned throughout the review so be ready for that.

Review

Characters

Character-wise, More Happy than Not is a total win. Silvera made his characters flawed and realistic. The teens act like teens, the parents act like the parents, but they all very distinct that even now, a month after I read this book (it took me that long to collect my thought-feel free to judge), I still remember each and every character. And yes even the minor ones were given enough personality to stand out. The point is they felt like real people.

The narrator, Aaron Soto, is a compelling character in the sense he made you actually care about what’s going to happen to him. You will worry about him, you will smile for him, you might sometimes want to yell at him, but most of all you will feel for him.

Plot and narrative

More Happy than Not is about journey to find happiness, among others. We follow Aaron’s quest to get back on track and find happiness after a traumatic incident. He had the most amazing girlfriend, his friends whom he could hang out with, and his family. In short, he seemed to be just your regular teenager. The thing was, there is no such thing as being a regular teenager, isn’t there? Everyone has their own issues, and Aaron’s came in the form of Thomas, the boy from the neighborhood who made Aaron questions things about himself. Thomas made him happier, but the feelings he discovered about the new boy was mostly unwelcome considering his circumstances.

There are a lot of issues touched on in More Happy than Not, issues of sexuality, mental health, friendship, racial, and many others. So many that More Happy than Not should have felt overly cramped with messages, but thankfully it didn’t.

There are a lot of things happening in the book, and some very nice surprises I didn’t know will be there. Then there are the twists. You think you figured them out, but then Silvera threw another one at you. Some books are only as good as their twists, but More Happy than Not is that good, it’ll still work without them. However, the twists were added bonus because they did evoke very strong emotional responses from the readers.

Verdict

At its core, More Happy than Not is a book about being human. It worked wonderfully well because the masterful execution made you truly care about the characters. So, make sure to prepare a box of tissues prior to reading this book. Oh, and try not to read it in public if you can.

Final score

4 stars
4 stars (out of 5 stars)


Let me know, have you read More Happy than Not or is it on your TBR? If you have read it, what do you think about the book?


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Windie
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2 thoughts on “Review: More Happy than Not

  1. Great review! I totally agree with you that at the heart of this book is humanity – I too loved the characters and felt like they were very unique and distinct to one another. AND THE FEELS!

    Which issue were you talking about? I can think of some that gained momentum recently… but one that comes to mind immediately is when they banned the LGBT emojis from Line/Whatsapp, but that feels like a while ago. I’m so out of touch, haha.

    1. ALL THE FEELS!! I was basically: ☺😊😍😱😨😭😭😱😕😊💙💛

      Oh my, the emoji banning was one of them. Then there was this:
      http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/02/15/kalla-requests-undp-not-fund-lgbt-groups.html

      and this:
      http://thinkprogress.org/world/2016/03/03/3756204/indonesia-anti-lgbt/

      I know it’s unlikely to have same sex marriage legalized in here anytime soon, but the fact that people calling LGBT a disease, or even worse, a threat, is quite disturbing. And this is a real thing, I even got a couple of very alarming (broadcast) messages through social media encouraging us to join anti-LGBT campaign.

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