Monday, January 30, 2017

history is all you left me: stardust reviews

History is All You Left Me

Adam Silvera



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.

full review under the cut! 

Adam Silvera is now permanently relegated to the "make me cry so much the book is in danger of being ruined" shelf!!! Just wanna let you guys know that this dude writes some super sad books! But also they're so good that I don't even notice I'm crying until a chapter ends, so that is really awesome too. This was one of my most highly anticipated books of the entire year, and I was NOT disappointed by it! Absolutely loved this book, can't wait to read the other one that Adam Silvera has coming out this year, just all around floored by his stories.

This book centers around Griffin, who is a high school senior at the time of the surface action here. The story is told in alternating POV's, but not from two different characters. It is told, on the one hand, starting on the day of the funeral of Griffin's best friend/first love/ex-boyfriend Theo. On the other hand, it is told in flashback, starting on the day that Griffin and Theo got together and moving forward in time until Theo's death. I really was amazed by the narrative structure here. I thought it was so clever to tell two stories that are both moving forward at similar rates, but one is a flashback and one is the present day. I never got confused by the structure, and I liked both timelines equally, so I wasn't just skimming through the flashbacks to get back to the present or vice versa. I have never read a book with this structure, and I really really liked it!

What I really appreciated about this book is that these characters are super complicated. You think you understand them, but then there are layers that get revealed that cause you to rethink what you know. Like, at the beginning you're just feeling terrible for Griffin because he lost his best friend. Then you find out all of this stuff and then you're not just feeling bad for Griffin, you feel bad for Jackson, Wade, and Theo as well, but you're also thinking that they all made mistakes that hurt the others, and it's just so real. It hit me that I feel like I could know these characters, because Adam Silvera's portrayal of them is so unflinching, even when our "heroes" are making huge mistakes. I loved that.

I just want to point out that this book is SAD. I mean, you know that going in, because the synopsis TELLS you that Theo is dead. But usually with dead people, they're dead when the book starts and though we may get some flashbacks, they aren't alive to us. In this book, we open on the day of Theo's funeral, but we also get the two years ago until his death flashback story, and we get to know Theo when he was alive as well. I think this is what really hammers home the devastation of this book. Theo and Griffin's relationship is played out before our very eyes, and then each chapter switch, we're torn out of that mindset and reminded that he is dead. That's probably why you've seen everyone on your Goodreads or on the blogs you follow that has read this book talking about how they cried within the first couple chapters or that this book was so much sadder than anticipated. It's because you're prepared for one kind of sadness, but this book really mimics losing a loved one, because you get the happy memories and forget for a minute that the person is gone, but then you're slammed back into reality with each new chapter. It is a great narrative trick, but it makes for a super sad reader!!

Griffin is a great MC. Like I said before, he is complicated and he does stuff that makes you go "what the hell Griffin why are you being so dumb," but I loved that about his character. He makes mistakes and he's going through a horrible grieving process, and that is what makes his character feel so real to me. Also, I thought the protrayal of his OCD was really on point, especially with his friends kind of brushing it off but him really struggling to define it. I was totally on board with him throughout the story, even when he did dumb shit like sleep with someone he shouldn't or go to California without telling his parents. I also loved Theo, even though he was dumb sometimes too. Theo and Griffin's friendship, which I think was a friendship even above a relationship, make me think of how messed up I'd be if my best friend was gone, and that made the whole thing even more emotional. All of the characters were great, to be honest. I liked Jackson a lot, even when Griffin didn't. I liked Wade, and the plot twist with him was one that I honestly never saw coming. I loved Theo and Griffin's parents, they were all so cool. Basically there is like this love triangle (or square i guess) with one of the parts of it being dead, and these boys are all grieving and confused and making decisions in this state, and you can't help but love them because you want to protect them.

 Some favorite scenes that I had: the first scene where Griffin and Theo come out to each other/get together. Their first kiss at the trivia night. The funeral scene, which was good in a truly heartbreaking way. The Halloween scene where Theo is trying to finish his essay. The scene where Griffin and Jackson go to the park in New York. The scene where Jackson and Griffin go to the beach in California. The scene where the whole plot twist with Wade came to light. The scene where it's finally revealed to Theo's parents everything that led up to his death. The last scene. There were so many good ones that I couldn't really pick a favorite, and my happiness and sadness are all jumbled together, but I just have to saw how truly great this book was. A+ representation, a great plot, lovable characters, great prose. I love it and you should try it so you can love Adam Silvera's stories as much as I do.


1 comment:

  1. I'm super excited (and scared for my tear ducts) to read this book!! I've heard so many good things about it-- and I do love books that do the present day/flashback alternating chapters. Glad you thought it was as good as I think it sounds!!


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