This is likely to be quite a short review, as I read History Is All You Left Me (henceforth to be known as HIAYLM because life’s too short to be typing that title out in full!) a little while ago now, and have read a number of books since then, so the chances of me remembering what I wanted to say are small. *g*
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.
I’d been hearing a lot of buzz about HIAYLM, by Adam Silvera, for a while so I was excited when I saw an early copy out in the wild and picked it up immediately. I think it might have been a little too hyped for me though, as it didn’t quite live up to everything I’d heard.
That said, it really is beautifully written. There’s a lyrical quality to the writing and the entire book is suffused with grief – you can practically feel it coming off the pages, and I ached for what Griffin (and Jackson) had lost. I also keep catching myself thinking about the story and the characters, and it was that that pushed the rating up. I think my main problem was that I didn’t particularly like Griffin. The way he treated the people around him was terrible, and only so much can be excused by grief and his OCD. But there was good character growth, and I loved the sections set in the past as we see Griffin, Theo and Wade’s friendship progress and become something more. I also loved the families – Theo’s, trying desperately to deal with losing him; Griffin’s, trying desperately to understand what he’s going through and both of them in the history sections being open and understanding about Griffin and Theo’s burgeoning relationship. I liked the structure too, although I found myself looking forward to reading about the past more than the present.
HIAYLM is a very good book, but I do think it’s been spoiled slightly by the hype. I wanted to love it, and I didn’t (and it also took me a relatively long time to read), and I’m quite interested to know if I’d have felt differently if I’d gone into it blind.
Have you read HIAYLM? If so, what did you think?