Geek Book Review: History is All You Left Me

by Adam Silvera. SoHo Teen, 2017

Geek rate: Sky god worthy (5 out of 5 stars)

A story about grief and guilt and on making peace with the past. This is one of the books that will leave a mark long after you read it.

“You’re dead, and I’m the worst kind of alive.”

Author Adam Silvera packs a powerful emotional punch in this multilayered story told partly in flashbacks by Griffin, who’s mourning the sudden death of his best friend and first love, Theo. Griff’s trauma and heartbreak are compounded by his knowledge that Theo had developed a relationship with Jackson, another white boy, while he was away at college. Griff’s narrative, addressed to Theo, goes back and forth between the past and present, echoing the alternate universes that they used to ponder. -Kirkus Reviews.

There’s always a melancholic feel in Silvera’s writings. “History is All You Left Me” has alternating chapters of the past and present where Griffin was with Theo in the past and those chapters when Griffin just lost Theo in the present. While the style is not uncommon with YA novels, the effect here is that we get to know Griffin’s past with Theo and as a result, the readers became attached to Griffin more so that I developed a certain hatred towards Jackson, Theo’s boyfriend, when he was introduced later in the story. The chapters, especially those in the present, will take readers into a dark ride about loss, guilt, and hanging on to a memory. The depth in his writing will hook readers until the last page.

“We were something, but history isn’t enough to keep something alive forever.”

There’s a purpose for these alternating chapters of past and present, that is to established the relationship of Griffin and Theo and how Theo’s lost impact Griffin’s live. But “History is All You Left Me” tackles the uncharted issues of the boundaries between friendship and romance, something experienced in real life but are rarely discussed in books. This is further proof that Silvera is willing to stand beyond the norm and to discuss the issues which make other people uneasy.

As I mentioned, there’s this sadness in every chapter of the book that is not dragging but rather would make readers feel Griffin’s emotions and understand more of his struggles: his joy of being with Theo, his grief and guilt in losing him, his anger towards Jackson, his depression, as well as, his compulsive disorder.

zeus-512Geek Rate: Sky god Worthy (5 out of 5 stars). Beyond the story of Griffin and Theo, “History is All You Left Me,” is about making peace with the past. While people couldn’t have an awesome story that Griffin had with Theo, his musings towards making sense of what happened will guide readers experiencing, in one way or another, the same challenges he faced. With a hope that Griffin’s journey will help you along the way.

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