Summary and book reviews of More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

More Happy Than Not

by Adam Silvera

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera X
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2015, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2016, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Bradley Sides

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About this Book

Book Summary

Adam Silvera's extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Adam Silvera's extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

The Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto - miracle cure-alls don't tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can't forget how he's grown up poor or how his friends aren't always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it's not enough. 

Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn't mind Aaron's obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn't mind talking about Aaron's past. But Aaron's newfound happiness isn't welcome on his block. Since he's can't stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.

Excerpt
More Happy Than Not

It turns out the Leteo procedure isn't bullshit.

The first time I saw a poster on the subway promoting the institute that could make you forget things, I thought it was a marketing campaign for some new science fiction movie. And when I saw the headline "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow!" on the cover of a newspaper, I mistook it as something boring, like the cure for some new flu—I didn't think they were talking about memories. It rained that weekend, so I hung out with my friends at the Laundromat, chilling in front of the security guard's old TV. Every single news station was interviewing different representatives of the Leteo Institute to find out more about the "revolutionary science of memory alteration and suppression."

I called bullshit at the end of each one.

Except now we know the procedure is 100 percent real and 0 percent bullshit because one of our own has gone through it.

That's what Brendan, my sort of best friend, ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Aaron Soto is a 16-year-old Puerto Rican living in the South Bronx and is falling in love with a boy, but Aaron feels threatened by pursuing this attraction because of his friends. A lot of teen literature where characters are coming out often features violence against the teen for being gay. Did you find the violence in this book to be realistic because of the book's setting or unnecessary?
  2. The Leteo Institute offers a groundbreaking service where they can alter memories for those suffering psychologically and emotionally. There is controversy within the book surrounding the ethics of this procedure. Do you forgive Kyle Lake for forgetting his twin brother's existence after being responsible for his murder? Or should everyone - ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Silvera writes in a YA voice that is so true - so near perfect. Aaron wants to fit in; he wants to be like everyone else. His words are so believable as a young man who is vulnerable yet determined. Genevieve and Thomas are rendered quite nicely, too, as young characters emerging into their own identities.   (Reviewed by Bradley Sides).

Full Review (829 words).

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Media Reviews

TeenVogue.com

Poignant ... So engrossing that once you start it, you won't be able to put it down. Don't say we didn't warn you.

VOYA

Many readers will identify with Aaron, whether or not they are dealing with issues of orientation ... Silvera draws wonderfully complex characters and deftly portrays the relationships among them. The true beauty of this book is the way Silvera subtly reveals the plot - readers find Aaron coming out to them in a gradual way.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Vividly written and intricately plotted: a well-executed twist will cause readers to reassess what they thought knew about Aaron's life... beyond gritty... Silvera pulls no punches.

Booklist

Starred Review. A fresh spin on what begins as a fairly standard, if well executed, story of a teen experiencing firsts - first love, first sex, first loss - and struggling with his identity and sexuality . . . ingenious.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. A multifaceted look at some of the more unsettling aspects of human relationships. A brilliantly conceived page-turner

Bustle

Silvera, like [Benjamin Alire Sáenz], is a beautiful writer. Aaron's story is heart-wrenching, funny, inspirational, and eye-opening. This is a really special novel from an extremely gifted new writer.

Author Blurb John Corey Whaley, author of Where Things Come Back and Noggin
Adam Silvera explores the inner workings of a painful world and he delivers this with heartfelt honesty and a courageous, confident hand. Combine these with a one-of-a-kind voice and a genius idea, and what you have is a mesmerizing, unforgettable tour de force.

Author Blurb Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of Counting by 7s and I'll Be There
Adam Silvera is a voice missing in YA fiction. The honesty of his words and his ability to tell a story make you realize that we've been waiting for him. I'm blown away.

Author Blurb Alex London, author of Proxy and Guardian
An important new voice in YA literature, in More Happy Than Not Adam Silvera has created a passionate, searing narrative with characters who feel unique and totally familiar. I found myself rooting for Aaron Soto and his family from page one. More Happy Than Not is an unforgettable read.

Author Blurb Adele Griffin, author of The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone
A debut as deft as it is sharp, as honest as it is assured, and, above all, extremely moving. Silvera pulls his punches with an energy, daring, and intensity that left me spellbound - and reminded me why I love to read.

Author Blurb Aaron Hartzler, author of Rapture Practice
Inventive and daring, Silvera's gritty debut kept me turning pages until 2 A.M. His writing crackles with challenging questions, searing and timely.

Author Blurb Becky Albertalli, author of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Aaron is one of the most interesting, authentic teen narrators I've met, and his story is told with incredible courage and unflinching honesty. Silvera managed to leave me smiling after totally breaking my heart. Unforgettable.

Author Blurb Jasmine Warga, author of My Heart and Other Black Holes
Adam Silvera's More Happy Than Not is a fantastic magic trick I haven't stopped thinking about since I finished reading and suspect will stay with me for some time to come.

Author Blurb David Arnold, author of Mosquitoland
Adam Silvera harnesses a certain reckless energy and unleashes it through the voice of Aaron Soto ... High on story, character, and some perfectly-executed twists, I loved this book.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Forgetting the Past?

Memory ErasureIn Adam Silvera's YA debut, More Happy Than Not, Aaron Soto, a poor Hispanic teenager, goes through a lot of difficult situations. His dad committed suicide when Aaron was younger. He doesn't really love the girl he thought he once loved. His best friend, Thomas, is his complicated love interest. Yeah, life is tough for our protagonist. Aaron tries to deal with his situation in the best way that he can, but his dilemma haunts him - so much so that he is constantly sad and anxious. Aaron thinks he finds the answer to his problems when he discovers the Leteo Institute, a company that erases unwanted memories.

The concept of erasing selected past events sounds like something out of a science fiction story (and it is - ...

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