A story about the interrupted lives we leave behind, History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera chronicles the painful journey of grief, anger, and forgiveness after a devastating loss.
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 really adored Adam’s debut novel, More Happy Than Not, and his sophomore book, History is All You Left Me is even better.
First things first. The characters are so wonderful. History is All You Left Me is populated with truly delightful people, and Silvera’s writing really brings them all to life. You can relate to them, laugh with them, even feel like you are a part of their lives. I loved spending time with these individuals, both the main characters and even smaller characters who we only see for a few pages. They are all fully realized and just really great.
The story itself is heartbreaking, but so human. Grief is something we have all faced or will face in our lives, and Silvera tackles it head-on, without apology here. He shows the many ways grief manifests itself; he shows the ugliness and the sadness and the anger and the guilt and the myriad other emotions that bombard us following a loss. At times, the sadness of the book felt almost overwhelming — much like it does to someone who is grieving — and it did weigh down the book a bit, with a sluggish middle section. But overall, the portrayal was raw, honest, and deeply poignant.
I also loved the way Silvera used alternating chapters to slowly reveal the bigger picture of the story, going back and forth between past and present. The layered storytelling allowed for a slower and more natural progression and unveiling, like peeling back the petals of a closed flower bud. It all came together so beautifully.
A raw and heartfelt story, History is All You Left Me is in stores now.