Summary and book reviews of History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

History Is All You Left Me

by Adam Silvera

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera X
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2017, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2018, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Bradley Sides

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About this Book

Book Summary

From the New York Times bestselling author of More Happy Than Not comes an explosive examination of grief, mental illness, and the devastating consequences of refusing to let go of the past.

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.

TODAY

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20TH, 2016

You're still alive in alternate universes, Theo, but I live in the real world, where this morning you're having an open-casket funeral. I know you're out there, listening. And you should know I'm really pissed because you swore you would never die and yet here we are. It hurts even more because this isn't the first promise you've broken.

I'll break down the details of this promise again. You made it last August. Trust me when I say I'm not talking down to you as I recall this memory, and many others, in great detail. I doubt it'll even surprise you since we always joked about how your brain worked in funny ways. You knew enough meaningless trivia to fill notebooks, but you occasionally slipped on the bigger things, like my birthday this year (May 17th, not the 18th), and you never kept your night classes straight even though I got you a cool planner with zombies on the cover (which you-know-who probably ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Why do you think Griffin and Jackson are so immediately drawn to each other? Would they be friends—much less more than friends—if Theo hadn't died?
  2. When a break up occurs, what's the best way to move on? Reliving the history, as Griffin does, or forgetting the past? Is the latter possible for Griffin? For anyone?
  3. How does Griffin's OCD manifest, and what are the misconceptions that surround that condition? Were you surprised at how this played out in the book?
  4. Griffin says "I'm not a big fan of secrets. Secrets can turn people into liars..." Do you agree? Or are secrets more often a way of keeping safe the ones we love? What are some examples of each kind in the book?
  5. Liking flowers: manly or not ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

There are unexpected twists and surprises along the way, which add to the believability of the story. Silvera more than proves himself here as a writer who can work wonders with his pen. While it has so many successes, the highlight of History is All You Left Me is Griffin’s characterization. From the opening pages, I felt like I knew him, and I was always rooting for him.   (Reviewed by Bradley Sides).

Full Review (747 words).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Though Griffin's vision is clouded by grief, passion, and guilt, readers will have no trouble understanding how unmoored Griffin has become: Silvera (More Happy Than Not) excels at capturing the confusion and pain he feels.Age 14 and up.

Booklist
Starred Review. Beautifully realized, character-driven work of literary fiction ... In those questions, they will find an unsparing honesty that brings closure to the novel and to Griffin's quest to let go of the past and embrace the future.

School Library Journal
Starred Review. Silvera offers a gem of a story about first love and great loss ... Profound ... It is so easy to idolize a first love, and even easier to idolize someone who has died. Griffin's gradual awareness of Theo's flaws is the true heart of this standout title.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. The conversational yet profound tone of the book highlights the author's ear for the musicality of language and his ability to convey deep emotion through attention to its cadence and flow. A novel to savor long after it ends.

Author Blurb Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything
This book will make you cry, think, and then cry some more.

Author Blurb Patrick Ness, New York Times bestselling author of The Rest of Us Just Live Here and A Monster Calls
History Is All You Left Me overflows with tenderness and heartache. Even when its hero is screwing up royally, maybe especially then, Silvera's humanity and compassion carve out a space where it's not the falling that's important, it's how you pick yourself back up. There isn't a teenager alive who won't find their heart described perfectly on these pages.

Author Blurb Becky Albertalli, National Book Award nominee and award-winning author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Sweetly devastating, passionately honest, and breathtakingly human. Only Adam Silvera could have written this story.

Author Blurb Angela Frederick, librarian, YALSA member, and 2015 Printz Committee member
Adam Silvera's characters grab your heart and do not let go. This beautifully sad book will captivate teen readers.

Reader Reviews

Jordan Corrier

Amazzing Read
I thought it was going to be a cliché, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Everyone deserves a good love story.

Gale Greenleaf

no title
OK, I like that y'all have excerpts from the books...so I read the snippet from History is All You Left Me and came to a screeching halt at the words "meaningless trivia." OK: reading, to me, is part of learning - how to read, how to write,...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

OCD in Young Adult Literature

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) impacts the lives of many Americans, including young adults and children. According to a 2013 article in American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, OCD "is seen in as many as 1 in 200 children and adolescents." Labeling exact characteristics of the disorder is difficult because, as the Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes, the disorder "appears in different ways, and not every person has the same symptoms; many people have combinations of various OCD symptoms." The organization does offer a generalized summary of the disorder, though, stating, "Those who have OCD suffer from unwanted and intrusive thoughts that they can't seem to get out of their heads (obsessions), often ...

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