Book Review: More Happy Than Not

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

5star

Title: More Happy Than Not

Author: Adam Silvera

Rating: 5/5 stars

Series? No

Goodreads

Book Depository


This movie is total bullshit. It’s supposed to be funny and the only thing I’m laughing at is how the studio managed to disguise an uncomfortably dark movie as a summer comedy.

Rashika recommended this book, because she is
feasts on the tears of innocents.  Do not let the title fool you, this book will eat your happiness for breakfast and you’ll be crawling back wanting more. This review is going to be really hard for me to write because I’m still a puddle of feels, so please excuse my belligerent ramblings.

Review-More-Happy-Than-Not

This chart is the work of a madman who wants his happy ending; I should imitate his insanity.

In a lot of ways, More Happy Than Not is focused on the pursuit of happiness in a devastatingly indifferent and cruel world. We meet Aaron Soto, a teenager living in the Bronx who’s struggling with the suicide of his father and his family’s poverty.  Though we get told that Aaron has had his own brush with suicidal thoughts, for the most parts, he tries to live his life positively.  He has a supportive and loving girlfriend in Genevieve, their relationship is wonderful and will make you smile.  He has a group of long time friends, and while they’re not entirely trustworthy, they are ready company. He also has his mother and brother, though their presence is peripheral for most of the book,  Aaron lives day by day, striving for contentment and mostly satisfies himself with thoughts of Genevieve.  Then comes Thomas, a bright spark of a boy who lives life on his own terms.  Their meeting turns this book and its plot on its head.

This is how Thomas lives his life, one misfired dream after the other. That journey may stretch for a lifetime, but even if he doesn’t discover that spark until he’s an old man, Thomas will die with wrinkles he earned and a smile on his face.

It’s little wonder that Aaron was drawn to Thomas from the get-go. For someone who’s been learning how to be happy, Thomas’s no-nonsense approach to life must have shone like one of those mating fireflies Genevieve spoke about.  Thomas tells thing as it is, and while he has a slightly flakey approach to life, he never compromises on his own satisfaction. Aaron, who struggles to please everyone and anyone around him, could have learned a few lessons from Thomas.  As the two begins to spend more time together, we see a beautiful friendship fleshing out.  I came to love both of these characters for their complexities and all the layers in their interactions.  I really enjoyed seeing Aaron slowly coming to terms with his feelings and facing decisions that would dictate his future happiness front on.  Is happiness achieved by pursuing your own desires? Or is it in playing out the perfect life as your family and friends have imagined it?  Why is happiness so damn difficult and elusive anyway? I love the questions that Aaron and Thomas’s relationship started to pose, I also loved the realistic portrayal of this relationship and the implications of Aaron’s sexuality.

“I’m the liar, not him. I lied to Genevieve, to my friends, to everyone. But I’ve pushed my limit and here’s the truth: this is the most painfully confusing time in life and he’s the first person who said all the right words to me and reminds me of the first days of summer where you leave home without jacket, and my favorite songs playing over and over.

Another thing the book confronts is the lies we tell each other and ourselves. The lies about how some things are not worth remembering. The lies about science overruling nature.  Adam Silvera ingeniously incorporated these themes into the book with a slight science fiction twist.  In this universe, you can undergo the Leteo procedure, a memory modification that could wipe out anything that could make a charmed and happy life difficult:  cheating partners, dead siblings, ex-lovers, lost children, and the heavy weight of guilt.  The book questions whether you can really escape your identity, and whether you’ll be truly better off without all the ‘rough edges’ in your life.  It never gives you a clear answer either way, but that’s what makes it so beautiful (AND FRUSTRATING, AND TEARS *SOBS*)


I apologise for this incredibly vague review, but I think it’s one of those books that’s best enjoyed with as little information as possible.  Just dive in blind, bring along some tissues, and come back to commiserate in misery and awe and love with me when you are done.

Seriously one of the best contemporary books I have read, ever. I am still thinking about it, an entire week after reading the last page.  It had amazing characters that makes you weep, beautiful writing, and it confronts oft-seen topics in a fresh and complex way.  READ IT.

49 thoughts on “Book Review: More Happy Than Not

  1. This sounds interesting. I don’t know why but this initially and immediately reminded me of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Do you think this book is somehow similar to that one? (If you’re read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have not read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao so I could not tell. However, the book is compared to Eternal Sunshine of A Spotless Mind a lot, if you’ve seen it? I do recommend reading it ❤

      Like

    • READ IT DIANA, AND SCREAM IN PAIN WITH ME 😄 This book left me crying in my bedroom, and my boyfriend shocked and horrified.

      Like

    • Omg, that ending still haunts me. I REFUSE TO BELIEVE T&G got together. Aaron totally found a cure and lived happily ever after with some lovely boy *cries*

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this book for a while now. I always seem to gravitate towards contemporary books that pack an emotional punch. I feel like this will be one intense, emotional read. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You definitely need to read this book, Lois, if you’re partial to contemporary books that sucker punches you where it hurts the most. Hope you enjoy it 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay but I did a tag for MHTN and had it thrown at me by twenty different bloggers and I had NO CLUE about the memory thing? Like HOW? BECAUSE THAT SOUNDS SO COOL. And friendships that become romances? And all the diversity? And also what sounds like a crazy wonderful boyfriend and an equally wonderful ex girlfriend? LIKE TOO AWESOME FOR WORDS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The memory thing is such a clever way for the book to address so many of its issues! All the characters are both wonderful and infuriating all at once, just like real people. IT IS AWESOME. ALSO HEARTBREAKING. I hope you’ll check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve heard about this one before but I never really knew what it was about, I was kinda just like ‘whatever’. But after reading your review, I really want to read it! I’ve been on a contemporary kick for awhile so I’ll definitely pick this up soon 🙂 It sounds so good, great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would definitely recommend it if you like hard hitting contemporary books, this book dealt with a lot of issues on happiness and sexuality in a complex, realistic way! I hope you’ll enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a great book because it wasn’t emotionally manipulative like a lot of ‘sad’ books are – I felt the emotions came from a real place I could sympathise with. I hope you’ll give it a go 😀

      Like

  5. Vague or not, now I want to read this. The pursuit of happiness really interests me. In my last year of university, I wrote a research paper on how happiness can be an ideological trap that can (but not always) promote ignorance and complacency, especially when people cling onto this ideal of happiness when it isn’t the appropriate emotion for every circumstance or situation. (Tbh I really enjoyed writing the essay, haha!)

    This book sounds like its right up my alley. I’ll have to check this out; thanks Aentee!

    Like

    • That sounds like one beautiful research paper, knowing how beautiful your writing is, I am so curious to read it. Happiness is a tough thing to figure out, and doubly so for the characters in this book! I think you’ll like it, hope you have the chance to check it out sometimes, as I would love to hear your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was wonderful and eye-opening. 🙂 If you want to read it, I wouldn’t mind sharing it with you!

        I think I will too. Hoping my ARC request gets approved for this book! *crosses fingers*

        Like

  6. That quote at the beginning made me laugh for some reason haha I like whoever said it already. I LOVE when books ask questions but don’t answer them clearly! Raises good discussion and doesn’t force opinions down your throat. Your review was nicely detailed enough for me haha but yeah I think I’ll never understand how great this book is until I read it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You should 100% check this out Ju, it’s a quick read and totally worth the tears and pain 😀 I will be here to hold your hands!

      Like

  7. This book looks so pwerful and I’ve been meaning to read it for a long time now. I should probably give it a go soon. Fantastic review, Aentee. I bet the book is more happy than not for eating your joy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s definitely very powerful and moving! I hope you’ll get a chance to read it, Vane, even though I know your schedule is incredibly packed right now. And yes, I bet the friendly looking Adam Silvera is cackling with glee every time a reader cries 😄

      Like

  8. Oh wow, absolutely beautiful review Aentee. I’ve seen reviews for this one, most have absolutely adored this book for it’s brutality on your feelings and being left an emotional mess, but this is one of the few times I’ve found myself desperate to read something, like life depending on it. I love a complexity within characters, and this sounds as though it truly hits home hard how difficult life truly is when you’re trying to find your feet. I need this book in my life Aentee. Thank you for a phenomenal review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • EEEP thank you Kells *blushes* I think if you loved ATBP you would absolutely love this book – it’s painful but important and 100% worth the tears and tantrum. I still can’t make my peace with the book, an entire week after I finished reading.

      Like

  9. I still haven’t read this one and I feel so guilty for that especially since from what I picked up from your review, I will relate to Adam SO, SO, SO WELL. I’ve always lived my life like that – compromising what I want so I can cater to what my mom wants, too. This wedding planning is already an example of that, having to pick certain things over the stuff that I REALLY want because my family and friends liked the other one better. I know it’s a shallow example, but it’s just one of many. I can’t wait to try this one out and then relate and have my heart crushed, too </3

    Faye at The Social Potato

    Liked by 1 person

    • *hugs you* Remember that it’s YOUR wedding Faye, don’t let other people make your decisions for you – they can do that on their own day. Don’t stress out too much though, I’m sure everyone in your life will be incredibly supportive no matter what your choices. Just concentrate on being the beautiful bride comes 2016 ❤

      Like

  10. I really should pick this up already, shouldn’t I? I definitely have high expectations, having heard infinitely wonderful things about Adam Silvera’s debut but mostly I’m really excited to get to know the author’s writing, having met him personally at an event awhile back. I do love thoughtful and complex books so I think I’ll really enjoy this one. So glad to hear you loved it, Aentee!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Adam Silvera may look nice and funny and affable, but his book will cut you up on the inside. IN A GOOD WAY. I hope you’ll enjoy it Hazel and sufgashks thanks so much for stopping by, I ADORE YOUR BLOG ❤

      Like

  11. UGH Aentee, whyyy? I have been resisting this book because I know it’ll make me ugly cry, but you make it sound so good I can’t help but want to read it! The whole question of why happiness is so difficult/elusive is something that impacts everyone at some point – I’m curious to see how it all shakes up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Adam Silvera totally stomped on my heart and feelings, HOW CAN YOU DO THAT TO AARON? But I am totally keen to check out his new book when he’s finished writing it!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. So glad to hear you loved this, so far I’ve only heard rave reviews! I pre-ordered a copy and went to read it a few months back, but put it down because I don’t think I was prepared for how dark it was going to be. I know I’ll revisit again in the future though! Fabulous review.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s