I can’t say I liked this book, but I’m so glad I read it and I want everyone in the world to read More Happy Than Not. I read the entire thing in one night: it was wholly engrossing, and then the plot kicked me upside the head and I learned a new kind of desperation for MUST READ. This is not a feel-good book, but it might leave you feeling….no I can’t do the cheesy “more happy than not” line. Because honestly, I closed the book feeling more UNhappy than not. I tend to expect my YA books to have happily ever after endings, and this one was serious is a wonderful but disconcerting way.
There have been a lot of great books about LGBT issues lately, but More Happy Than Not takes the intersectional route, telling the story of young gay teenagers who live in poverty as people of color. I really appreciated Silvera opening my eyes to the stories of men like Aaron…even though this is also, technically science fiction.
And isn’t that so cool?? That I would wait until the end of the second paragraph to mention that there’s a sci-fi element, the Leteo Institute, which can alter and erase people’s memories. Silvera masterfully creates a not-too-distant future that, for once, is far more about the things that are similar to our time than about the differences. I found it really refreshing to read a book that wasn’t up in my face about Cool New Ideas and Technologies. It made the sci-fi elements more believable, because if they were normal….people wouldn’t insist on talking about them 24/7.
Anyway, this book will break your heart, and make you think, and blow your mind. So obviously–go read it!
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. Aaron could never forget how he’s grown up poor, how his friends aren’t there for him, or how 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 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.
Release Date: June 2015