I had heard so many good things about this book, which is why I didn’t hesitate when purchasing it. Apparently it was heart-breaking, funny and would make me cry, which is what I love in a YA novel. However, once I stared reading the book, my opinions of the story veered towards the unpopular, and here’s why.
Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:
About The Book
‘History Is All You Left Me’ by Adam Silvera
You’re still alive in alternate universes, Theo, but I live in the real world where this morning you’re having an open casket funeral. I know you’re out there, listening. And you should know I’m really pissed because you swore you would never die and yet here we are. It hurts even more because this isn’t the first promise you’ve broken.
OCD-afflicted seventeen-year-old, Griffin, has just lost his first love – his best friend, ex-boyfriend and the boy he believed to be his ultimate life partner – in a drowning accident. In a desperate attempt to hold onto every last piece of the past, a broken Griffin forges a friendship with Theo’s new college boyfriend, Jackson. And Griffin will stop at nothing to learn every detail of Theo’s new college life, and ultimate death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin’s own version of the truth – both in terms of what he’s willing to hide, and what true love ultimately means…
History Is All You Left Me is young adult contemporary fiction about boys and their relationships with one another. The only thing is, one of them is dead. Organised in alternating chapters between past and present events, the story is told by our narrator Griffin, who was Theo’s first love. When Theo moves away to California, he meets Jackson, and Griffin hangs on to a friendship with Wade. Whilst in Cali, Theo meets his end when he drowns in the sea, which destroys Griffin and Jackson, and their joint love for him. Set in chilly New York winter, and sunny California, Jackson and Griffin come together to support each other during this difficult time in their lives, and truths are uncovered about the day Theo died. We also learn about the history, when Griffin and Theo first fell in love, and the time leading up to him moving away.
Even though the story is set in two different times, it is all written as present tense, which is an interesting way to structure the narrative, but it works quite well. As a reader, we are able to fully put ourselves in both time zones, rather than living in one and imagining another. While the story was quite unique, having never read anything similar before, the storyline was semi-predictable. There were some parts that I didn’t see coming, but when they did, they weren’t necessarily shocking. The plot line as a whole just seemed a little flat to me, possibly because there were no dramatic plot twists that hadn’t already crossed my mind, and nothing really seemed to develop much. Due to this, the story was quite slow paced, however everything had clearly be planned out and Silvera was logical in his approach to the story.
Griffin was probably the character with the most life in him, because we saw things from his perspective. His character had some depth, allowing us to empathise with him, and learn more about the struggles with his OCD. Theo also had personality, which was impressive considering he was dead, but Jackson and Wade seemed to lack the depth which they had so much potential to have. All of the side characters I found extremely flat with no personalities whatsoever, and they were just there in case they were needed.
I wasn’t really left hanging doing the book, and didn’t spend every waking moment wondering how it would end. I had guessed from early on in the plot what might happen in the end, so, as I mentioned before, it wasn’t shocking enough for me. There wasn’t any major plot twists are big events that made this book really stand out.
If I had to choose a favourite part of the book, it would have to be when Theo and Griffin confessed their love for each other on the train in the early pages of the book. This lightened my spirits, and gave me hope for the rest of the book which unfortunately failed to live up to expectations. However, had I not been walking home when reading the last two chapters of the book, I probably would have shed a tear, because the last moments were quite touching, but everything in between those two points seemed to flop for me. There were a few giggles along the way, but nothing revolutionary that completely changed my feeling towards the plot. I wasn’t hooked on this story, I’m sorry to say, and it’s not very often it takes me over a week to read a book, let along one that is under 300 pages!
I wouldn’t recommend this book, especially if you are going in with the same expectations I did; hoping to laugh out loud and sob until you can’t breath. Unless you are a massive fan of Silvera’s writing and can’t bare the thought of missing this, I don’t suggest picking it up. But hey, we all have to read these stories to appreciate the good ones, and sometimes it’s okay to not enjoy an overhyped book, and have your own opinions, so if you are desperate to read this book, then who am I to stop you? I just hope you enjoy it more than I did.
My Rating: 3 Muffins out of 5
Where To Buy
If you wanna give this book a try, here is where you can buy it (including, but not limited to):
Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)