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.
A couple months ago, I saw a show on Broadway called “Dear Evan Hansen”. It had me bawling the entire time. Now, me a sobbing mess is not a new occurrence. I cry at a lot of things. But it physically HURT me…I ached deep in my heart…as I watched this because, well, it was just so intimately personal. It was like looking in a mirror reflecting parts of myself I didn’t want to see. And it left me raw like few things ever had.
“History Is All You Left Me” had a very similar effect (and by the way, should TOTALLY be made into a Broadway show, in my opinion). It had such an HONESTY to the characters and the story, much like in the Broadway show, that when I was done, I knew…I knew I had just experienced something special. The marketing for “Dear Evan Hansen” includes a hashtagged line: #youwillbefound. Found…that’s how I felt after reading this book.
Griffin’s best friend and first love is Theo. And through Griffin’s eyes, Theo is everything. He is charming and quirky and smart and romantic and loyal. And as Griffin loved Theo, so did I. God, did my heart expand for this kid.
As the blurb will tell you, Theo tragically dies way too young and with way too many questions for Griffin, for me. He also dies with a new boyfriend, Jackson, who is not Griffin, but who is also left to mourn him just as Griffin is, as I am. And as Griff and Jackson help each other heal, they also uncover truths about Theo that only the other knows. And those truths, many times, hurt. Damn, was I hurt.
Most of this book I read as an exploration about a boy named Theo through the eyes of the boys who loved him.
But then I realized, actually, this book was about a boy named Griffin. A boy who loves with all his heart, who is loyal to a fault, who wants the happiness of his heart’s affection more than his own, who sacrifices himself time and again for someone else, who hurts deeply, who’s hurt causes him to want to hurt in return, who’s confusion and grief and loss were felt long before his first love died.
And jesus, did the revelations of Griffin’s deepest parts hit my deepest parts, struck those tenderest of nerves, left me feeling exposed. I identified so much with Griffin, it frightened me. And as Griffin had to fight towards a journey of healing and growing, I was fighting right along side him.
I felt like I had a lump in my throat the whole time I was reading this book. And ultimately, in the very best ways, it started to answer a lot of questions about myself. Or at least, forced me to stop hiding some of my deep, dark thoughts and feelings…and face them.
Adam Silvera is a master at telling a story that is real, that is unafraid. His characters are imperfect and at times will tear you apart with disappointment. But in this honesty, you find yourself loving them anyway…and hoping for that light at the end of the tunnel of their often difficult journies.
I’m obsessed with this book. It will remain with me for a very long time. I feel changed for having read it. And for that, I am so grateful.
I don’t always love flashbacks in a book…but it worked here. Alternating chapters from past to present and back again kept me so engaged and dying to know WHAT HAPPENED in the past that made WHAT HAPPENED in the present possible.
Good lawd can Adam Silvera tell a story. He’s a master storyteller. It’s pretty much impossible not to get totally entangled in the messiness of these characters lives. Sympathetic even in (or maybe especially in) their faults. Really powerful.
I know there are some people who are VERY PARTICULAR about sexual content in YA books. So just in case, there is on page sexual interaction, but not in detail. And I found those scenes so crucial to the story.
Honestly…I’d recommend this book to anyone and EVERYONE.
TITLE: History Is All You Left Me
AUTHOR: Adam Silvera
PUBLISHER: Soho Teen
RELEASE DATE: January 17, 2017
BUY LINKS: Amazon