History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera is a compelling narrative of love and loss in which the reader follows Griffin, a high school senior, as he struggles to face his new reality, a reality in which Theo – his best friend, first love, and ex-boyfriend – has tragically died. And the only person who could truly understand Griffin’s pain is the one person Griffin never wanted to befriend: Jackson, Theo’s college boyfriend. But grief has a strange way of bringing people together…just as easily as it can tear people apart.
Silvera’s almost lyrical prose drew me in from the beginning, taking me on a wild ride as my heart broke and pieced itself back together chapter after chapter. The story alternates between past and present as Griffin holds a very one-sided conversation with Theo, both reminding Theo of their history together and letting him know what’s happened since his death.
All of the central characters are uniquely flawed, in a very real way. And as the story unfolds, mistakes are made, feelings are hurt, and it becomes clear that history often reflects a revised truth. But, I think the true brilliance of Silvera’s sophomore novel is that there is no true villain. There isn’t one character you can point to and label as the “bad guy.” It’s just a group of boys doing what they think is best given their situation. However, sometimes the best intentions have tragic consequences.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, History Is All You Left Me is not an emotionally easy read. There were actually moments when I had to put the book down and walk away for a few minutes. So, if you’re looking for a story full of rainbows and unicorns, this is not the book for you. But if you want to read a well-written story that brilliantly captures the imperfections of human nature, I would highly recommend this book.
4.5 out of 5 flowers!