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More Happy Than Not

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Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Adam Silvera's extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

Sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto is struggling to find happiness after a family tragedy leaves him reeling. He's slowly remembering what happiness might feel like this summer with the support of his girlfriend Genevieve, but it's his new best friend, Thomas, who really gets Aaron to open up about his past and confront his future.

As Thomas and Aaron get closer, Aaron discovers things about himself that threaten to shatter his newfound contentment. A revolutionary memory-alteration procedure, courtesy of the Leteo Institute, might be the way to straighten himself out. But what if it means forgetting who he truly is?

293 pages, Hardcover

First published June 2, 2015

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About the author

Adam Silvera

26 books33k followers
Adam Silvera is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of They Both Die at the End and More Happy Than Not and History Is All You Left Me and Infinity Son and Infinity Reaper and with Becky Albertalli, What If It's Us and Here's to Us.

His next book The First to Die at the End releases October 4th, 2022, with the final Infinity Cycle book to follow soon after.

He was born in New York and now lives in Los Angeles where he writes full-time.

He is tall for no reason.

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5 stars
21,842 (35%)
4 stars
22,576 (36%)
3 stars
11,823 (19%)
2 stars
3,478 (5%)
1 star
1,617 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,958 reviews
Profile Image for Adam Silvera.
Author 26 books33k followers
January 18, 2022

MORE HAPPY THAN NOT is my debut novel, and there was a time where I believed this book was never going to be seen by others after rejections and nonsense. But it's here! And it's about a boy who is considering a memory-alteration procedure to forget he's gay because leading a life as a straight teen would probably be way easier for him. It's about science versus nature, friendship, sexuality, and a quest for happiness. I hope every book I put out into the universe feels as special and FAVORITE-y as this one does to me.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
June 5, 2015
“This is still an ugly world.”

I opened with that quote for a reason - while definitely entertaining, More Happy Than Not is a dark, sad book that deals with homophobia, depression and suicide. The quirky dialogue and nerdy references to comic books, Star Wars and action heroes are much needed to lighten up an otherwise very distressing novel.

Personally, I do not think the promised big twist is particularly hard to guess if you've read the description and , but I don't think much hangs on it anyway. Because this book is an overlapping of several stories and themes, each one as powerful as the last. It's about coming to terms with ones sexuality, it's about friendship, it's about memory and forgetting, it's a love story, and it's about choosing to be happy, despite the sad.

Oh, and it's also one of the most diverse books I've ever read. And, unlike other books that try to do many things at once, all the many themes are executed well.
"From the shapes cast by the green paper lantern, you would never know that there were two boys sitting closely to one another trying to find themselves. You would only see shadows hugging, indiscriminate."

The story is about Aaron, who is trying to pick himself up after both his father's suicide and his own attempted suicide. He can't turn to his family or guy friends, and his girlfriend tries to be supportive but Aaron doesn't really feel able to talk to her either. When sweet, eccentric Thomas comes along, he's everything Aaron needs in his life and more. Suddenly, Aaron has to deal with the realization that he's gay in a place where being gay isn't welcomed, or choose to not deal with it - by going to the Leteo institute and having his memories taken away.

Obviously a book about depression, suicide and homophobia would be sad, but I think it's the other little things that make More Happy Than Not an emotional read. Like the suggestion running behind every event in the book that sometimes life doesn't turn out the way you wanted it to and you don't always get what you longed for, and the message that wiping it all away (either through suicide or memory loss) isn't the answer. And the fact that wiping away memories doesn't change who you are.

And the love story. Don't be fooled into thinking this is another cute teen romance, though it definitely is cute at times. It's built up gradually through friendship, geekery and mutual understanding, until it's something else...
“He rubs his face and his eyes squint; a tear escapes. “You didn’t have to take my side, Stretch.” I kind of, sort of, definitely always will.

I'm serious, though, this isn't a nice book. You've been warned. The teens might have cute moments, but they're also real teens who masturbate, watch porn and curse (though there's not a lot of profanity if that bothers you). And ALL the characters are well-developed, confused and often funny.

In short, More Happy Than Not is a blend of light and dark, happiness and not-happiness, and it's incredibly effective. If I were cheesy I'd call it unforgettable. Ah well, it's nearly Friday so... it's unforgettable. Go read it.

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Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
March 4, 2019
i seem to have found myself unintentionally reading silveras bibliography in reverse chronological order and his books just keep getting sadder and sadder. but there is something in that sadness he creates. something living. something real. its something that makes you realise that heartbreak is good because it means youre alive. and you begin to learn that positives can come from the negatives, that pain doesnt have to be the end. you grow and understand and become the person you want to be. and then suddenly, you realise youre more happy than not.

4 stars
Profile Image for Becky Albertalli.
Author 19 books19.6k followers
December 26, 2013
THIS BOOK. I'm getting choked up just thinking about it. I'll avoid posting details for now, but suffice it to say that:
1. Aaron's voice is pitch-perfect, and it's impossible to read this book without falling in love with him.
2. It is full of surprises and twists and emotional highs and lows, to the point where putting the book down is almost physically painful.
3. It will break your heart in the best possible way.

Beautiful, beautiful book.
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.7k followers
January 29, 2021
“The boy with no direction taught me something unforgettable: happiness comes again if you let it.”

I've waited so so long (well, since this was released I guess) to read this. This was one of my most anticipated books of 2015 and it did not let me down.
Adam Silvera seems to be a cool guy. I like the way he interacts with social media, I think he's quite funny and so is his writing style. Maybe not his novel(because yeah it is kind of sad) but definitely his writing style.

This was a page-turner from start to finish. I really got a feeling for the protagonist's surroundings, his family and friends. And I don't know why but I pictured Aaron as Adam all the time...I mean even the names are quite alike. And the tallness. And the gayness. And the living-in-the-Bronxness.
And I guess while this could have just been a wonderful bittersweet, kind of tragic YA love story, the science-fiction in there added an utterly intriguing and devastating edge to it.
More Happy Than Not took me by surprise, big time. Not only once (Part Zero) but twice (No More Tomorrows).

The only thing that bugged me, is that I could not get lost in it. While I felt for Aaron, I did not feel with Aaron. That would have made it a 5-star rating.

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Profile Image for Thomas.
1,520 reviews8,996 followers
June 27, 2015
Reading More Happy Than Not and witnessing the SCOTUS decision on gay marriage has made me a super emotional wreck this week, in the best way possible. This book may even tie Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe for my favorite YA book, and if anyone here has read my review of Saenz's story, you know that means high praise. So, without further ado, I give you:

Five Reasons Why More Happy Than Not has Renewed My Faith in YA Fiction:

1) This book is so freaking sad. Forget plots about an uninterested love interest or an absent parent or a group of vampires gone awry. More Happy Than Not transcends the typical YA story by incorporating themes of loss and self-regret in mature, oftentimes open-ended ways. Yes, Adam Silvera ties in comic books, video games, and other normal aspects of adolescent life into the book. However, he still manages to capture and reflect the convoluted suffering so many teens go through on a day-to-day basis because of factors like their sexuality. I 100% wish that this book had been there for me when I struggled with my gayness as a middle school student, and I feel so glad knowing that it is available to young folk now.

2) This book deals with sexuality in a complex and multifaceted way. Some say writers should stop writing coming out stories. Others say that we will always need coming out stories. I say that we should find an in between, that we should take contemporary society into account and create books that exemplify our progress while still honoring those in less fortunate families and/or situations. More Happy Than Not does just that, because though it may look like a coming out story at first glance, it compounds and deepens Aaron's journey: though his sexuality may play a huge part in the book, it only really scratches the surface of Aaron's character and his experiences, a fabulous move by Silvera. A short quote that portrays just an ounce of the rawness within this novel:

"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. And now he may never talk to me again."

3) This book is just super diverse in general. It weaves in memory loss and retrieval, race, both accepting and non-accepting friends and family, a girlfriend, class, and a sort-of-maybe boyfriend, and more. Unlike other authors, Silvera writes these themes and motifs into his story in a way that radiates authenticity and emotion; it never feels like he throws them in just for the sake of throwing them in. Each disparate part of the plot adds onto other elements of the plot, creating a thorough and seamless book that reads without a hitch.

4) This book's characters are basically perfect. They are perfect because of their splendid imperfections. Silvera imbues every individual in this book with a sense of reality: not only are they diverse in race, gender, age, and occupation, but they also vary in their likability and the mistakes they make. All of these characters - Thomas, Aaron's closest friend, Aaron's mother, who cares about Aaron with all of her heart, even Aaron himself - have internal and external struggles they must deal with, and each of them do so in messy, honest ways. While it would have been easy to construct a single antagonist for the entire story, Silvera sticks to creating complicated and substantial characters, people you will find yourself thinking about long after finish the novel.

5) This book is hopeful. Despite the layers of sadness and despair rooted in More Happy Than Not, Silvera makes sure to blend in messages of redemption, joy, and bittersweet acceptance throughout the story. Aaron's happiness does not come easy; it is the product of physical and mental pain, heartbreak, and great loss. However, Silvera shows the complexity of life, how its most aching moments may lead to its most serene satisfactions, and how in the end we all must maintain a never-ending hope, both for ourselves and for others. This book highlights one of the main reasons I read young-adult fiction: to empathize with the deep emotions that come from great adversity and to remind myself that our worst suffering often brings our brightest light. Silvera shows us that light, its fragile beauty and its gentle strength. One last small quote, from one of my favorite scenes in the story:

"But for tonight, this is enough. From the shapes cast by the green paper lantern, you would never know that were were two boys sitting closely to one another trying to find themselves. You would only see shadows hugging, indiscriminate."

If Silvera's debut novel acts as any indication, he has a long and successful writing career ahead of him. If he continues to produce, I can already see "Silvera" as a trademark in YA, similar to "Dessen" or "Sanchez" or "Stiefvater." I cannot wait to read History Is All You Left Me in 2016. I cannot wait to see what other people think of this book.
Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews902 followers
October 21, 2019
*Review contains minor spoilers*

Sorry, but hell no. This was just awful.

1. Way too many "no homo"s
2. A plot that is all over the place, sometimes way to fast paced, sometimes painfully slow
4. A very basic writing style full of forced "deep" quotes
4. Flat characters, whose developments got sacrificed for the sake off having some "plot twists"
5. Giving the "original" love interest unlikable traits as soon as the new love interest is introduced
6. An egoistic, cheating & whiny protagonist who thinks it's okay to go all "oh he is gay, he's just lying to himself" on someone despite that person telling him multiple times that he isn't (How is that any better than telling a gay guy that "oh it's just a phase" or some bullshit like that?)
7. Not once was it acknowledged that bisexuality is a thing that exists, even though Aaron is obviously really attracted to Genevieve as well

This book made me mad tbh..
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,615 reviews10.7k followers
June 26, 2023
Honestly, More Happy Than Not is one of those stories I will never be able to properly review. It is what it is.

I just don't have the mental fortitude to do so. There's too much here to unpack.

Forgiveness, please.

More Happy Than Not is a lot. It's a serious story.

I enjoyed it, but also feel like my heart was ripped from my chest and repeatedly stomped. So, that's a feeling.

Profile Image for Brian Yahn.
310 reviews599 followers
August 5, 2021
Adam Silvera's writing immediately absorbed me into the life of Aaron Soto--a troubled youth anxious to lose his virginity.

The premise of the book revolves around the Leteo Institute's memory procedure - an obvious comparison to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. So the blurb piqued my interest, and after I read the first few pages and got a sense of the prose, I was hooked. The realness of it swept me away like The Catcher in the Rye - but it was also poetic. For me, the writing was really distinct and transportive - absorbing me into the streets of New York - in a way that reminded me of how The Song of Achilles takes you right back to Greek antiquity.

Predictably, this isn't just a story about a kid getting laid. No, it quickly moves into a new direction (the Lateo Institute's memory procedure). At first, it seems like a romance / instalove relationship. It's unfortunately cliche - and almost ruins that awesome sense of realness earlier established. But the relationship evolves quickly into a plot-based romance thriller (is that a thing?). It goes on to explain that early awkward stage, making it more than excusable, making it justified. The realness seeps back into the story through twists and turns and revelations of dark character secrets that propel the story in a page-turning fashion right up to the end.

Unfortunately, the way the story concludes left me dissatisfied. It seems to paint being gay in a toxically unhealthy and hopeless way - which fine, that's the way the main character feels about it, I guess?

But this - combined with all the suicidal stuff - it was just too much, and it rubbed me the wrong way.

I used to think this instalove relationship between Aaron and Thomas was pretty ridiculous. I thought I'd been in love a couple of times in my life, but then when I met someone really special, it did sort of feel like this book!

What I once thought to be laughably absurd -- two people being completely heals over head in love in three weeks -- now seems kind of accurate - even for adults. It seems especially believable for teenagers.

More Happy Than Not is unquestionably more good than not.
Profile Image for Always Pouting.
575 reviews762 followers
June 14, 2017
Aaron Soto through out the course of the book struggles with his sexuality and then tries to turn to a new procedure that will help him forget he is gay. The premise was really original and unique, I haven't read anything like this. I didn't see the twist that came half way coming at all and I got very emotionally involved in the story. The ending made me so sad I couldn't stop thinking about it for days, and it really stuck with me. I like the questions the book raises about our identities and how much of that can be changed by forgetting painful things that have happened to us.
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
June 17, 2022

fulfilling my 2019 goal to read (at least) one book each month that has been digitally moldering, unread, on my NOOK for years and years and years.

one of the benefits of letting a book ripen on your NOOK for years and years and years is that you forget what the book is about and why you wanted to read it in the first place. you just know that february is a short month and you’ve set this NOOK-goal for yourself and as you find yourself getting closer to the end of the month, you panic and decide to read the first YA book you see because at least you know it will be fast.

all you really remember is that this is supposed to be sad, and it is immediately clear it's gonna have suicide themes, but you shrug, knowing that books just don't make you cry, ever, and your life has been more affected by suicide than many people's, so no damn book is gonna push you over the edge into weepytown because that earth is scorched, son. and you were right. none of the suicide stuff comes close to making you cry.

but that one page, towards the end? yeah, that broke through your defenses, causing some sustained eyeleak on the 7 train. and you loved feeling like an empathic reader for once.

this book's a few years old, and there are some hints to the book's tricks in the comparisons made by other reviews and the book's own synopsis. but some of us didn't bother to (re)read any of those before diving into this book, and weeeeeee were completely caught off-guard once that blindfold was lifted. and it was awesome.

to switch pronouns ONE MORE TIME, that turn happened while i was crossing the street, reading this, and i fullstopped directly in the middle of queens boulevard and said "ohhhhhhhhhhhh DAMN!"

that complete "didn't see it coming" shock is as delightful to me as a book that makes me cry, although it is much less rare. i'm not sure there has been a book, before now, that has done both to me. no spoilers from me, just genuine pleasure at what i thought was gonna be a throwaway read just to meet my goals and instead turned out to be a magnificent heartpunching story.

this book is the chinese water torture* of sad and eventually, it will break you down.

and you will love it.

*unless that's one of those things we don't say anymore? in which case, replace with some imaginary game called "sad, sadder, saddest."


yes, friends, there were tears. even a shriveled old heart like mine can still sometimes feel.

review to come.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
614 reviews87.8k followers
April 14, 2017
This book just wasn't really my cup of tea. I don't think it was bad, I think the writing was good, the message was good, and everything else was good, but it's just not really my kind of book unfortunately.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,116 followers
August 29, 2019
😭😭😭😭 I’m ok. I think I might be broken. But I’m ok.

This book broke me into a million pieces. Adam Silvera needs to start sending out wavers for people to sign before reading his books, because good God I am damaged!

First was They Both Die at the End(we ALL knew how that would go down) but with the title of this one, I hoped for slightly less heartbreak and soul crushing. BUT I was wrong. So wrong.

The blurb doesn’t give much to go on. Aaron has been dating Genevieve for 1 year, and they’ve been through A LOT. Between Aaron’s fathers’ suicide and Aaron’s own suicide attempt, it’s safe to say that his emotions are rocky. But he and Genevieve have always been stable, and she has always brought him through to the other side. But when new guy Thomas shows up, Aaron and he hit it off right away, soon they are spending loads of time together, much to the dismay of Aaron’s other friends from the projects.

Looming in the background is the Leteo Procedure. A medical procedure that can infiltrate the human brain and remove certain memories, designed to make people forget horrible things in their pasts. However wonderful this procedure seems to the masses, it comes with risks; the main one being that your memories are in danger of being unwound if you come into contact with something related to what you have forgotten. Be it a person, a scent, a place or an event. It’s very Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – which was right up my alley.

Without giving anything away, later in the book Aaron decides he wants a Leteo procedure, and is determined to get one, whatever it takes. The twist provided in the book I thought was very good,

There are so many emotions in this book, fear, anger, sadness but there is also hope. This book is an absolute whirlwind and I now hold Adam Silvera personally responsible for my broken heart.
Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books2,012 followers
July 15, 2016
you won't admit you love me.


this will not be a useful review of this book, and i'm sorry.

i just... never did figure out how to sort out my feelings another way.


i need a minute
need a minute and a minute and a minute more
heart pounds and my throat's so tight
memories aren't my friends tonight


falling in love for the first time was like sliding down a bannister.

maybe you know what i mean.

a bannister like the ones you see in a public school. long, and in the middle of the stairs, terminating above a concrete landing covered over by ghastly green linoleum buffed to a dull shine.

maybe you've never done it before, this badass slide down a thirty foot rail at a forty-five degree angle, and maybe you think it's probably a bad idea—but you've seen other kids do it, and it looks awesome.

if only you could ever get up the courage.

maybe you lean your hip against it, a couple different times, talking to a friend, pretending not to be standing there on the stairs wondering what it might be like to hurtle down to a spectacularly lithe and athletic landing you'll pretend isn't actually the coolest thing you've ever done, ever.

and maybe, maaaybe one time you're there long after the last class has let out for the day, and you know you're going to do it right then, when the building is empty of anyone you'd want to see you triumph, as well as everyone you wouldn't want to see you fall.

so you hypothetically do the thing, maybe.

perhaps you sit your ass on it, and at once realize that's maybe not quite right, so you scoot back a bit so your weight's resting mostly on your thighs.

and you sorta... sorta slide a bit. just a little.

maybe you panic and clutch at the pitted metal bar to stop yourself, and then feel silly when you realize you've only moved two steps down.

maybe now's when you tell yourself: i can do this.

and then maybe you do.

maybe you let go, and for the first few seconds of glorious acceleration you're thinking this is the best thing ever, and what you wouldn't give to have that asshole c*****—not martinez, or prieto, or gonzales, or de silva—the other one—

—the one for whom you've maybe hidden a love in the most secret and tender deeps of your heart since the third fucking grade.

yeah, that c*****.

what you wouldn't give to see him standing at the bottom with a smile on his face, watching you be awesome.

but maybe he's not there, just then.

maybe he heard you came out of the closet a month ago, all angry and belligerent during a heated disagreement in black history class.

maybe this abrupt failure in homo tradecraft happened to result in a fistfight, a desk thrown clear across a classroom, and a chip in your front tooth—and maybe now he doesn't wanna talk to you anymore.

maybe junior high has started feeling like one long ending instead of the glorious beginning you and him used to imagine.

or maybe it's just the usual hollow feeling you live with, passing him in the halls and pretending like you don't see the stony indifference in his face as he walks by, still, always, all this time after he ditched you.

whatever it is, maybe it withers your joy, a third of the way down this theoretical bannister, when it occurs to you that you are at terminal velocity and to put a foot down to stop just this second would mean busting your ass all the way down a flight of stairs and maybe dying un-lithely and un-athletically and holy balls you knew you should have worn literally anything other than your star wars boxers today bcuz hello, autopsies.

but maybe you don't die.

maybe you stick the landing like motherfucking dominique dawes at the atlanta olympic games.

and maybe, maybe it’s not so sharp, this time, the ache you feel as you slowly lower the arms you’ve thrown up in silent exultation, because you realize the feel of all that empty air around your body is maybe not so bad, kinda, compared to the feel of the arm he might have casually wound around your neck to celebrate.

so maybe you go home.

maybe you shove your hypothetical headphones into your hypothetical ears and listen to your favorite hypothetical cassette on the hypothetical bus ride to your hypothetical home.

maybe music is the only way you even have a shot at going a single hour without thinking about the friend who used to sit in the seat next to you.

maybe you know this. and turn the volume up.

and maybe everything’s just fine.

Profile Image for Maureen.
574 reviews4,185 followers
September 10, 2016
I really REALLY liked this book and it is SO SO important and so great and just GAH.
It wasn't perfect, but the story was so compelling and the characters were so great and just EVERYTHING.
In the first half of the book it seems like things are happening really fast and the character development, especially in relationships, feels a little rushed, but then the middle of the book hits and EVERYTHING MAKES SENSE. The last half is definitely where this book shines.
All in all not perfect, but very VERY good.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
940 reviews14k followers
July 8, 2017
3.5 stars

I have mixed feelings. The downfall is that I really really really wanted to like this book, but I'm just not a huge fan of books that require the suspension of disbelief, mostly in books like this contemporary/sci-fi hybrid. The whole sci-fi aspect was really thought-provoking, but I don't think it was developed well enough to be impactful as an element in the story. So even though the majority of the book is rooted in reality, there was just enough of that weird twist to make it feel too much at arm's length.

But I did like the characters. Aaron had an interesting mind to delve into. Gen wasn't two-demensional like one might expect a side character like her to be. I loved Thomas. I loved (?) Collin.

I guess the ending of this book just made me conflicted. Silvera discussed the "not every story has a happy ending" but this just felt like it threw me into a river then left me to fend for myself?? I don't really understand the plot twist that led us there, and all of the characters in the end just sorta.... go away. It was strange and left me wanting more, especially since we discovered the depth of Aaron's history, and I wanted him to be able to make peace with it more tangibly. Oh well.
Profile Image for jv poore.
616 reviews213 followers
June 16, 2023
Imagine that, as a teenager, you could actually travel back in time and make a change.

No. Better than that.

This time travel takes place only within you. The chance to erase a memory, tweak your own wiring, eliminate the very thing that plagues you. Doesn't it sound like the perfect solution? Not just for you; for everyone around you, all of the people that care about you and are impacted by your very existence. Changing this one thing about you, could make life just a little bit easier for them too.

Aaron’s life is grim, but the book is not. His story is heart-breaking, his pain and confusion tangible and terrifying; but hope, true friends, family, support, acceptance and understanding hold him up…albeit barely. Already on track to be a stand-out story, Mr. Silvera dazzles with a with a sleight of hand twist that automatically adds one star (or smiley face) to the rating.
Profile Image for Lauren.
Author 45 books119k followers
March 17, 2016
A few days ago my good friend, and talented author, Adam Silvera posted this piece on his blog: Happiness Isn’t Just an Outside Thing. The blog post talks mainly about depression, which Adam has grappled with for some time now, and is a beautiful meditation on the failure of external validation to satisfy the holes that truly need filling. I’m so proud of him for sharing his hard journey with all his readers with the same incisive honesty that makes him such a fantastic writer.

On that note, a few words about his beautiful book, More Happy Than Not,which tells the story of Aaron Soto, a high school student in the Bronx recovering from a recent suicide attempt. Aaron has a lot of reasons to feel sad. His father’s suicide, his overworked mother, and his confusing feelings for the new guy on the block. Aaron starts to wonder if the Leteo Institute, which promises revolutionary mind-alterations, might be a good solution to all his problems.

With courage, clarity, and a unique voice, More Happy Than Not, is a must read for everyone.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,483 reviews7,780 followers
July 17, 2015
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

"It's okay how some stories leave off without an ending. Life doesn't always deliver the one you would expect."

Holy book slump, Batman! I was on a tear through 2 and 3 Star books when More Happy Than Not finally queued up at the library. Then Larry told me I had to love it or we could no longer be friends, but I had to go watch my kids lose 427 baseball games first so I left the book on the table . . .

Houston commercial photography

When I finally returned (my albino skin red as a beet from all of the outdoorsiness), I threw some meat products on the table for my family's dinner and informed them they were to leave me be. And I devoured this book. What is the limit of how much I loved this story????

Houston commercial photography

That's right, Blowhan. The limit does not exist.

I'm not going to tell you a whole lot about More Happy Than Not. Basically, this is the story of 16-year old Aaron - a boy whose father committed suicide a few months ago and now lives in the projects with his family. It's about choosing a different path for himself . . .

"I can't believe I was once that guy who carved a smile into his wrist because he couldn't find happiness, that guy who thought he would find it in death."

It's about Aaron's day-to-day life hanging with his friends and girlfriend, and about the new kid, Thomas, who quickly becomes his best friend and who makes everything about Aaron's world kind of go topsy-turvy . . . .

"From the shapes cast by the green paper lantern, you would never know that there were two boys sitting closely to one another trying to find themselves. You would only see shadows hugging indiscriminate."

It's about memories . . .

"Some can be sucker punching, others carry you forward, some stay with you forever, others you forget on your own."

And about dealing with pain . . .

"Sometimes pain is so unmanageable that the idea of spending another day with it seems impossible. Other times pain acts as a compass to help you get through the messier tunnels of growing up. But the pain can only help you find happiness if you can remember it."

Most of all, it's a completely unique take on coming of age that almost made me have some feelings . . .

Houston commercial photography

But I'm not a baby so I kept my s&^t together.

This ain't your typical Young Adult selection, friends. Adam Silvera's approach is 100% original and it totally blew me away. It gets every star and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
Profile Image for Bangadybangz.
30 reviews863 followers
July 30, 2015
Really enjoyed this one, because a) I read it in the Caribbean, and b) its a very engaging story with likable (and despicable) characters and a genuinely shocking twist. Definitely recommend, especially if you're looking for good LGBTQ oriented books
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
851 reviews3,882 followers
February 15, 2021

Oh, boy. I won't.

More Happy Than Not didn't turn out to be what I expected, and let me tell you, it was so much better than I thought it would be. Messed-up when you think about it, this containing one of my biggest pet peeve make it plural : several of my biggest pet peeves - nah, I won't tell which ones, I can be annoying like that. But let's start at the beginning, shall we?

There are books that make you feel like a voyeur, as the characters seem so real that you get the impression to spy on them, somehow. More Happy Than Not definitely belongs to that category, and hooked me from the very first sentence.

"Sometimes your story is worth reading about because your life sucks," I say. "And I don't think your life sucks."

How can I explain why? It just - spoke to me, because I found the characters weirdly relatable. Weirdly, because although my family always navigated on the artistic side of life (yeah, this is so the nice word for odd, sorry mum, love you) I never lived in such a hard way. Yet I can relate on so many levels that I couldn't help but feel drawn into their stories - to feel involved in every fucking event they live.

This book is full of big issues - issues you better not drop in a book if you don't intend to HANDLE them (including suicide, depression, and homophobia). Well, the fact is, they all were correctly dealt with, and frankly, I'm, kind of, maybe, for sure in awe of Adam Silvera for that. Not that everything is perfect and gets its HEA, NO. It's not. It's messed-up and weird and flawed - yet it's incredible, because you know what? THAT'S HOW LIFE GOES.

"Memories : some can be sucker punching, others carry you forward; some stay with you forever, others you forget on your own."


I know, I KNOW, my personal interludes appear pretty often lately, but I can't help myself when it comes to subjects that have a particular resonance for me and oh, well. Don't read it if you don't care. Anyway. Aaron, the main character, has to deal with the consequences of both his father's suicide and his own suicide attempt and expresses how difficult it is for people he loves to trust him again with his own life. In my opinion Adam Silvera captured perfectly how this kind of decisions can affect friendship and family relationships. The truth is, when I was 16 a person very close to me committed several suicidal attempts, and I'd want to say that I was supportive and understanding, I'd want to say that I understood why and how she could do this, I really want to. But sadly, I can't. Sadly, I didn't understand shit. Sadly, I was fucking pissed, because I love her and I couldn't forgive her to give up on us - yes, because I couldn't deal with the Guilt. This fucking guilt you feel when you realize that people you love and live with can suffer without even you noticing. I couldn't deal with the guilt, so I was pissed, furious, mad, everything but what I should have been. But you know what? That's how people react in real life. They aren't perfect. They don't always understand. It took us years to rebuild our relationship after that - it took me years to stop being a fucking brat and accept what she did. Although I'm not proud of it, that's how it is, and I often have a hard time reading stories where characters try to commit suicide because to me, everything is way more complicated and fucked-up that it's portrayed most of the time. All of that is to say that in my modest opinion, the way the author handled this subject here is realistic and really great.


This book? This book caused the weirdest reaction to me : Indeed the day after starting it, I found myself thinking about Aaron, Thomas, Genevieve... like they were real. Like they were friends of mine. And this? This is the best thing I can say about a book.

Truth be told, every one of them is realistic and many of them are unlikeable. Despite the fact that I hated several of them first of all Brendan. Talk about a joke of a friend, of course I LOVED how real and complex they were! To be frank, I can't say that they didn't bring memories of actual people I know or used to know, and this is fantastic. Moreover, the writing is perfect because in addition to giving to Aaron a believable, original and oh so endearing voice, it captured perfectly how confusing teenage can be, how difficult it is to resist peer pressure and speak for yourself and for people you love and admire. To fight for who you are and who you want to be. Growing up often goes hand in hand with fucking up (badly). Well, let's be frank, adulthood too. Now, nothing is set in stone. Stand up and deal with it.

So, yeah. It was cringe-worthy, crude or even annoying at times, but I wouldn't have changed one sentence.

Most of all I absolutely adored their interactions - sometimes heartbreaking, often smile-inducing, always realistic - they made me so happy, I can't even.

(Later I learn that there's even an abandoned musical in his closet about a robot that time-travels back to the Mesozoic era to study dinosaurs while singing about surviving without technology.)

To sum up :
There is porn. There is swearing. There is weed. There is despair. There is fear. There is love. There are comics and YES, cute geeks. There is sex. There are a lot of random stupid games they play to. There are fucking mistakes and maddening decisions. There is LIFE. This sounds true to me.

In a word, this book was a page-turner for me and guys, GUYS! MY FEELS ALL OVER THE PLACE.

Seriously - some parts punched me in the guts and made me sob, others made me want to hit something, yet I smiled so big I can't even express how much love and attachment I feel for Aaron - despite his flaws, his wanderings through life reached out to my heart. That's all I can say.

Oh well, I'll say it. He fucking broke my heart.

"I don't want you too either. Just remember that I love the hell out of you, okay?"

PS : More Happy Than Not is shelved as Science-Fiction and you might wonder why I didn't address this subject. Actually, even if there are definitely scifi vibes going on at times, and some unexpected twists (HOLY COW), I mostly read it as a contemporary, because it's where lies its strength in my opinion. But I have to admit that it scares me shitless. Trust me, you'll get what I mean. Anyway, I can see why readers could find it unsettling and weird - Promise you'll keep your mind open, okay?

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Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 8 books76.8k followers
July 14, 2015
I don't know what to think about this book. I just know it broke me. And that it is definitely NOT more happy than not. It is more like "More depressing than not". Ugh, I ended up so distraught :(.

I kind of liked it, but I could never really connect with the characters, although I really liked a bunch of them (Aaron, Gen, Aaron's mom, Eric, Evangeline and Thomas, specially Thomas). I didn't care about them as much as I feel I should, and I was surprised when I started crying towards the end! So I warn you: THIS BOOK WILL WRECK YOU. It's a sad, sad book with little glints of happiness. And I have nothing against sad or tragic books, I love them! It's just that this one didn't really do it for me, but it isn't a book I wouldn't recommend.

ALSO, I LOVED the plot twist! I wasn't expecting it and it blew my mind, had me reading until 4 AM and I had to work the next day!

OH... and before I end this review I just want to said that I HATED Aaron's "friends". UGH, they were just horrible to him all the time and what they did was unforgivable. I wanted to kick them all. They were a gang of stupid and homophobic teenagers!
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews605 followers
August 15, 2017
Other than......some of the characters had strange names: Me Crazy, Baby Freddie, Skinny Dave, Fat Dave, and our main character, Aaron gets the nickname of Stretch....
there are a lot of nutty games being played: "Manhunt 1 2 3, Manhunt 1 2 3, Manhunt 1 2 3", ...a shark game, 'don't touch green' game, ... plus handball, bikes, rollerblades, fights and fireworks, and tons of swearing....
booze, pot, birthdays, horoscope conversation, come childish dialogue, a crappy dig about a tattoo parlor ( which I didn't appreciate since I have a daughter who is a tattoo artist), ......
Be prepared to have the rug swept from under you!!! In a very thought-provoking way!

It's original! Heartbreaking & Heartwarming! Often very funny -often gut-wrenching sad.
It's a powerful story dealing with serious complex life issues- with three very likable characters: Aaron, Genevieve, and Thomas!

Themes include - and not excluding others....life, love, family, loss, death, depression, friendships, social issues, class, ethnicity, peer pressure, teenage angst, sex, and suicide.

Oh yeah.... and this is a YA book -for adults too - contemporary sci-fi.....( do not let the science fiction keep you away from this book).

"Life doesn't always deliver the one you'd expect"

Profile Image for Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd).
332 reviews7,309 followers
June 20, 2017
TW: Depression, suicide, attempted suicide, homophobia, domestic abuse

I think my feelings are too all over the place on this one. I'm going to have to come back and try to be cohesive later. This was very well written, and it had really important #ownvoices queer latinx rep, but my personal reading experience was negative more in terms of how it hit me emotionally in specific ways. This is a hard read and I think for those who can handle that type of reading experience, this is an excellent book. But I don't know if I was even remotely in the right emotional head space to read a book that was this emotional and this dark. I'm going to sit with it for a while and see if my rating and general review-feeling changes. For now, I think I need to bury myself in happy queer things and talk to my girlfriend for a good long time.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,208 reviews19.7k followers
September 15, 2020
[3.5 ⭐️] I'm conflicted as to how I feel about this book. On one hand, it was extremely depressing to read about the general struggles the main character faced whilst also coming to terms with his sexuality and to see how disgusting homophobia is. I think Silvera did a great job in delving into the aspect of how difficult it can be to come out and the possible, unfortunate consequences that come alongside it.

On the other hand, it took a good while for me to get into this book and figure out the point of the plot and its direction. I wasn't the biggest fan of the magical realism or sci-fi element that was included, if you can call it that, of the Leteo Institute, though I appreciate the part it played. I can't help but wish that aspect was dealt with in a different way.

I can see this book having a lasting impact on me though, but I wish I loved it!
Profile Image for Jessica.
265 reviews3,538 followers
April 28, 2016
Wow! Read this in under 24 hours and it blew me away. Definitely surprised me, and I loved how raw and real this felt. Amazing, memorable characters... I really don't even know what to say. I really enjoyed this and would love to read more by this author in the future!
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