Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review: More Happy Than Not

More Happy Than Not More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So this guy Adam Silvera's an up-and-coming debut writer? If so, he's definitely one to watch out for.

Contemporary YA is usually natural anathema to geekboys like me, and like Aaron Soto. Of course, when it's a Darker and Edgier contemporary with a sci-fi twist, packed with glorious pop-culture references, that's the exception to the rule. That's this book.

But it's not all about the glorious pop-culture references, from X-Men to Harry Potter (sorry, Scorpius Hawthorne) to Spider-Man. That's mostly in the first half of the book, while the second half delves into Winger territory with its serious feels levels. Between the increasingly sad memories of Aaron's past, which also serve to clarify some seeming inconsistencies and missing details from the present (like, the first half makes it seem as if Aaron's an inexperienced dude seriously questioning his sexuality a la Grasshopper Jungle, but the second half reveals that it's not the case), another side to his dad's suicide that made it even harsher in hindsight (and made him far less sympathetic, I'm sorry to say) and his decision to go for a memory-erasing Leteo procedure, I found myself more unhappy than not. I mean, as much as Aaron's got so many traumatic memories to deal with, is turning to an experimental procedure with potential nasty side effects (oh God, the side effects) the right way to solve the problem? I mean, especially when they use the word "unwound" as part of the description of the procedure - have they not read Neal Shusterman? The point is, Aaron, like most geekboys, should have asked himself: What would Scorpius do? What would Spidey do?

Well, someone in the fictional multiverse has to take that risk. And Jesus H. Christ, the results are devastating. Thankfully, though, there's a spark of hope right at the very end. But until then, to go from the happy side of an Andrew Smith book to something almost straight out of the "Take Me To Church" video...

Yeah, some books just aren't all sunshine and rainbows. Five stars to this one for feels alone.

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