C.G. Drews's Reviews > History Is All You Left Me

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
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bookshelves: contemporary, read-2017, mental-illness, ya-male-narrators, young-adult, read-2020, reread, lgbt
Read 2 times. Last read June 16, 2020 to June 19, 2020.

[read 2 | June 2020]
I finish my reread with a complicated knot of feelings. There is always a risk, when coming back to a book you loved years ago, that it won't hit the same ways. That did happen here. This time I was hyper aware of the intense level of problematic obsession Griffin had with Theo (and tbh Theo was self absorbed the whole time) and while I want to give space for messy teens and the way mental illness (Griffin has OCD) can dig into your life and leave wounds -- it wasn't deeply addressed. Wade plays such a huge part in the end, but with basically zero character development in the rest of the book. Griffin admits he's selfish the whole way through, but continues being selfish. I don't know. Grief is complex, this book is complex (and I think deeply personal to the author?). (view spoiler) It is messy and raw, full of kids struggling with grief and self-destructive behaviours, and these are important perspectives to understand. I just winced at Griffin being so consumed by his obsession (was it even love?) for Theo, and I feel like it should've been unpacked my thoroughly by the end.

[read 1 | January 2017]
Oh this was a little bit, how shall I put it?? Hmm....freaking heartbreaking. And of course I love books that pain me so bless this book and the trees that were murdered to give it life. And although I do have some quibbles about it, and it was actually severely sad/depressing to read....I'm really glad I devoured this one. IN ONE DAY I MIGHT ADD. I didn't want to put it down!

L I K E S:
It's thoroughly beautifully written. It has the kind of writing that is just a little dense to get through and I couldn't speed read but it was really BEAUTIFUL and ADDICTIVE and full of emotion and poignant thoughts without being pretentious or annoying.
And can I just say yay for good OCD rep?!? I've read several books lately where the characters seem to just "turn their anxiety off" when it's inconvenient. That did NOT happen in this book which was such a relief. I do not have OCD and I'm not sure if the author does/does not. But as someone with anxiety, I related 100% to a lot of things Griffin goes through. It's important to find relatable books. It's important to see you're not alone and have that "omg this guy gets me" sort of moment.
The characters were all so real and amazing. I mean, they were absolute hot messes. But that's to be expected since a boy they all loved died in an accident. Theo was Griffin's ex...but also a boy he'd never really gotten over. And I just felt the characters were all so realistic. So while, sure, they frustrated me at times: they were also real people and that's what I want to read about.
Nerds. Nerds everywhere. See them fly through the sky. We gotcha Star Wars and Harry Potter references.
Everyone was also so dimensional and complex. There is nerdom, puzzle obsession, making up of stories, trivia, random dance parties, and very intelligent people.
Also the romance was freaking adorable. I mean, PARTIALLY. In the beginning Griffin and Theo are being each other's first boyfriends and coming out and they're just so sappily and ridiculously in love.
Did I mention I wanted to not ever put it down? Because yes.

D I S L I K E S:
Remember how I said the romance was "cute"??? It was also totally messed up. Look when you start the book you know a few things: (1) Theo is dead; (2) Griffin was very very in love with him; (3) but they'd broken up. So get thee ready for a lot of people hooking up out of grief which is a bad idea btw, and people using each other like friends-with-benefits, which is also a bad idea btw...and lots of boys getting very very very hurt and heartbroken and damaged.
• I also hate the trope of people breaking up for no real good reason. WHY. STOP. USE BRAINS PERHAPS. (view spoiler)
Also not a fan of how Theo treated Griffin's OCD as "quirks". He constantly called them that and thought they were endearing. I'm not saying the book condoned this, but it was annoying to read. It made me dislike Theo (who was a bit of a manic pixie dream boy) quite a lot. I also have no idea why Griffin's parents didn't intervene about his OCD earlier.

It's a beautiful and heartbreaking story. It deals strongly with grief and is so well written and I got really invested in the characters and I loved how it deeply explored OCD. 10/10 would be hurt and stabbed in the feels by a Silvera book again.
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Reading Progress

August 26, 2016 – Shelved
August 26, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
January 16, 2017 – Started Reading
January 16, 2017 –
page 120
37.5% "This book is HURTING ME."
January 17, 2017 – Shelved as: contemporary
January 17, 2017 – Shelved as: read-2017
January 17, 2017 – Shelved as: mental-illness
January 17, 2017 – Shelved as: ya-male-narrators
January 17, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult
January 17, 2017 – Finished Reading
June 16, 2020 – Started Reading
June 19, 2020 – Shelved as: read-2020
June 19, 2020 – Shelved as: reread
June 19, 2020 – Finished Reading
May 13, 2021 – Shelved as: lgbt

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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Alessandra Crivelli I can't wait to be destroyed by Adam's writing again. Thank you for the review, Cait.

message 2: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Alessandra: Yeesss! I hope you love it. :D

M F I think I described this book as "non-stop feelings". I found it quite an overwhelming experience -- like, they weren't all sad or negative feelings, but there were just a LOT of them. And I'm bad at feelings.

message 4: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Miriam: I do get that! I mostly just had sad feelings because I felt so sorry for everyone.

Christina I just finished this a couple hours ago, and I'm kind of really happy you didn't quite like Theo either?? By the end of it, I was a teensy bit unsympathetic that everyone was so broken up by his death because, tbh, he treated everyone in his life kind of poorly!! I didn't like that he indulged Griffin's """quirks""" and made him feel like they were these cute things he couldn't try to fix because then Theo might not think he was unique enough to love anymore. That's not a good mentality!!

I agree too that Griffin's breakup with him seemed out of nowhere and for no real good reason, which was frustrating. This whole book was frustrating, in a way, because everyone just treated each other so terribly the whole time and treated themselves even worse. Obviously, I loved it. But still! So frustrating!

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