I’d heard a lot of mixed reviews about Adam Silvera’s novels. Teen readers LOVED him, but some of my friends had felt a little lukewarm about his stories. But History Is All You Left Me sounded appealing from the moment I read the blurb about it, and after meeting and shaking hands with Silvera at BookExpo, I felt it was necessary that I check out his novels. And I was really pleased with how wonderful I found this story to be.
First of all, this is such an emotionally intense novel. You live in the sadness. It permeates the pages and dwells in you like very few other YA novels I’ve read. The emotional atmosphere’s strength reminds me a lot of Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay. It’s just super powerful and absolutely stunning.
I loved how we jumped back and forth in time. Likewise, the slow reveal of secrets really worked in this novel. The characters felt super real, especially in how they conversed with each other. I loved the New York City backdrop. All the pieces that make up this novel are really lovely. Bonus points: The design of the book is absolutely stunning.
My biggest complaint with this novel is that all of the teen boys this story focuses on are gay and have sex with each other. It felt a little unrealistic to me. Plus, it pushes this idea that gay guys can’t have straight male friends without putting moves on them. I’d really love to see some gay and straight guys maintain a typical friendship. I’d also love to see gay guys who don’t have sex with every other gay guy they meet. These elements seemed to hold up some stereotypes that I don’t think a lot of people want represented as they aren’t true.
Overall, this was a really lovely novel and I definitely plan on reading all of Silvera’s other novels.
Title(s): History Is All You Left Me
Author(s): Adam Silvera
Overall Rating: 4/5
Format Accessed: Hardcover
Imprint: Soho Teen
Publisher: Soho Press