Well, this book tore my heart in half and then stomped on it, but before we get into that, here’s some background: Theo, Griffin’s ex-boyfriend, first love, and favorite person in the whole world dies, leaving Griffin in shambles. Griffin narrates in alternating timelines, recounting his life after Theo’s death, as well as their shared earlier history. The first story, set 2 years ago, relates how the two came out to each other, with Griffin also sharing his growing struggle with his compulsions, later diagnosed as OCD. When Griffin switches to the present day, he begins to talk to Theo, sharing his struggles in daily life as he tries to come to terms with his grief. Part of this process begins to include Jackson, Theo’s last boyfriend, whom he meets at the funeral. At first the two are (understandably) aggressive towards each other but are soon drawn together because they are the only two people who can understand what particular pain the other is going through. One quote describing this stands out, “I look up, and Jackson's eyes find mine. For a second, it almost feels like we're about to race into the hole to join you. Being buried alive has got to be better than whatever comes next.”
First, let me say that the writing is beautiful. Adam Silvera’s ability to not only enable a detailed visualization of a story, but to portray the distinct love and the loss that Griffin goes through is stunning and makes for an excellent read. Similarly, his expertly pieced timeline that continually switches between history and present makes the book that much more heartbreaking. One aspect to History that definitely cements my admiration of this author is his portrayal of teenage romance. I’ve noticed a lot of the YA novels out right now have a very rosy view of love, and don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for those kinds of stories, but in this instance, I think a real and raw portrayal of love, and a blatant distortion of history after a loss is what this book deserved.
While reading some about History online, I saw some comments concerning Griffin’s mental illness. People writing them said it was as if the compulsions took a backseat to the rest of the story. I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to have OCD, but I do think that the way it was written shows the creeping nature of his illness. It builds from a little impulse into something as all consuming as a panic attack. It definitely added another level to the book and all of its characters.
All-in-all, I would absolutely recommend this book. Adam Silvera’s books are definitely some I am looking forward to reading more.
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Buy History Is All You Left Me HERE