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What: History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Who: Soho Teen

When: January 17th 2017

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Soho Teen for review via Edelweiss.

OCD-afflicted Griffin has just lost his first love, Theo, in a drowning accident. In an attempt to hold onto every piece of the past, he forges a friendship with Theo’s last boyfriend, Jackson. When Jackson begins to exhibit signs of guilt, Griffin suspects he’s hiding something, and will stop at nothing to get to the truth about Theo’s death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin’s own version of the truth—both in terms of what he’s willing to hide and what true love means.

5cats2Wow. Just wow.

I thought I’d like History Is All You Left Me because it sounded gorgeous and everyone loved More Happy Than Not (don’t kill me because I haven’t read it yet! I have the ebook and will be rectifying this ASAP), but I honestly don’t even know if I expected to love it this much?

First, we have Griffin. Griffin is the kind of nuanced character that everyone wants to read about. He feels so incredibly real when you’re reading about him. And he’s not perfect. Not by any means. And I guess that’s what does make him the perfect character. Because people are not always going to make the right decision, or say or do the right thing. And Griffin definitely doesn’t always get it right but I swear that made me love him even more.

This book is PAIN. I have to tell you that straight up. This is not a fluffy book. This is a book that will tear your heart out and make you ache for a happily ever after and want everything to be right. But this book is also about growth and learning and letting people in. And those things can be hard. And Silvera doesn’t make it look easy. Griffin goes through so many things in History and none of them are wiped away with an “easy fix”.

The ships. I just can’t even with the ships? Like. I adored Griffin and Theo. ADORED. I thought they were adorable and they loved each other so much and their relationship just had that beautiful first love quality to it that hits me right in the heart. But then Griffin breaks up with Theo, and Theo gets a new boyfriend, and then Theo dies. And it’s like: why. WHY. To be honest, I did quite like Jackson and Griffin, even though I knew it was unhealthy and pretty toxic but I don’t know? I guess I just liked how they understood each other and were there for each other and that also hit me in the heart. But, like, the last ship. DAYUM THAT LAST SHIP. I SHIPPED IT A LOT AND LIKE. YEAH. That’s all I’m going to say.

I don’t know if you’ve ever felt it but when I really love a character and shitty things happen to that character I literally ache. Like, I feel that squeeze of my heart that is just: I want my baby to be okay, and for bad things to stop happening, and for them to be loved for exactly who they are – imperfections and all. History made me feel this way the whole time I read it. I ached for Griffin from beginning to end, and I just wanted to wipe away his pain with a magic wand. I just wanted him to be HAPPY, DAMMIT.

One of the many things that were handled so masterfully in History was Griffin’s OCD. His OCD was never made out to be something “interesting” about him, and it wasn’t ever anything that only popped up when it was “inconvenient”. A lot of his life was impacted by his OCD, and it wasn’t magically healed by Theo’s love or anyone else’s. I must say that I’m not sure how I felt about Wade being so pushy about forcing Griffin to stop some of his compulsive behaviours. I don’t think exposure and response prevention forced by a friend was exactly the best way to start things off, but Griffin was seeing someone regarding his OCD by the end of the book so at least Wade’s method wasn’t portrayed as some magical cure.

Before I wrap up this review (because I could write about a lot of other things to be honest), I gotta talk about Theo. Dude bro, who even were you? Like, I loved Theo when he was with Griffin. But then Griffin breaks up with him before Theo can do the breaking up (which, Griffin, wasn’t the best goddamn idea you ever had), and then about two weeks later he has a new boyfriend. And then all this other stuff happens (which I’ll leave out because spoilers) and I was just so angry with him. He wanted the best of both worlds, and he was hella emotionally manipulative regarding Griffin’s feelings and even though I wanted them to be endgame because Griffin did I also kind of didn’t. Because Theo wasn’t treating Griffin or Jackson right and it wasn’t okay. Theo, why you do this.

To finish: History Is All You Left Me was my five star book of 2017, and I can tell you now it’ll be on my end of year favourites list.

© 2017, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning: death of a friend (drowning), OCD, emotional abuse, homophobia, familial bullying, grandparent with dementia, and romantic cheating in this novel

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Posted on: January 20, 2017 • By: Chiara

16 Responses to History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera: Prepare Your Heart

  1. helen says:

    I’m so happy that you loved this book because I loved More Happy Than Not and I am fiERCELY looking forward to getting this book. I love your review and I can’t wait to read this! <3

    • Chiara says:

      I really can’t wait to read More Happy Than Not! If it is anything like this book I know I will love it. Thank you so much! I hope you adore it :D

  2. I AM SO EXCITED TO READ THIS BOOK! It’s only been out for a day or two and I’ve already heard such fantastic things about it so I cannot wait to get my hands on it when I go to the bookstore or library! Awesome review Chiara!

  3. Woah, this book definitely sounds like it was really impactful and I loved your detailed review on it! I recently read MHTN and mind blown. I’m glad that the OCD so well and the whole situation with Theo, omg.

    • Chiara says:

      Thanks, lovely! I cannot wait to read MHTN, as I loved this one so much. The OCD aspect was really well written, I think mainly because of the author’s own experiences with it, and yes. Theo broke my heart, as well as Griffin’s!

  4. Yessss I love this one too! And how real were these characters omg?!? I can’t help but adore them and I looove Griffin. So awkward and adorable and HE AND THEO WERE SO CUTE AT THE BEGINNING. Although I do agree their relationship turned really toxic and it honestly made me ache.

    And I agree about how Wade seemed a bit pushy with the OCD at the end? I don’t have OCD so I can’t like say whether they were doing a good or bad thing…but I think their relationship was too fragile by that time for Wade to be doing that? Eh I don’t know. I still loved the rep of OCD and I think it showed a different side to what most books show? OH. And I wasn’t happy with how often Theo said Griffin’s OCD was just “quirks” and how much he seemed to really like them?? I feel like it was realistic though (so many people don’t truly understand mental illness) so like it didn’t lessen the enjoyment of the book for me, but it was a big of a worry.

    STILL THIS BOOK WAS SO BEAUTIFUL AND ADORABLE AND RAW. <3 I have to read More Happy Than Not yet too (it's on my TBR) but it 1000% makes me want to try it nowwwww.

    • Chiara says:

      The characters were SO REAL. I love it when I feel like I’m reading about real people, and not just figments of an author’s imagination, and this book did that so well. I wanted Theo and Griffin to stay that adorable, and it breaks my heart that they didn’t end up being good for each other *sob*

      I felt the same! Like, maybe some gentle nudges would have been better, but I am never a big fan of the “force someone to do x” MO so I think that’s why I didn’t really appreciate his method. It was so interesting with Theo because on the one hand he didn’t try and make Griffin do things that he couldn’t, but like you said he didn’t take them seriously, either.

      I’m so glad you loved this one, too! And I cannot wait to read More Happy Than Not, as well :D

  5. I LOVED this book so much, which you already know. I thought the final ship was great. EEK! I agree with you about Theo, but I kind of loved that too. It shows that your first love isn’t always the best and despite Theo dying, it didn’t make him out to be this amazing person throughout the book. He made mistakes too, and it was just REAL to me. AGH!

    As for the OCD and Wade’s method. I think it was just Wade’s way of helping. He thought that at least trying to do things differently would help, and it did a bit for Griffin. It made him realize he COULD change, since Theo always saw it was a cool quirk. Wade kind of showed him that he didn’t have to be ruled by these “quirks.” That’s my thinking at least. I AM glad his parents got him therapy for everything though.

    -Lauren

    • Chiara says:

      The final ship was adorable! And yes, Theo definitely wasn’t perfect, and even though it was sad, I think it dealt with not only the loss of a loved one but also the realisation that maybe you can love the wrong person even if it felt right at one point.

      Ah, I didn’t think of it that way. I actually really like how you interpreted it, and it has definitely made me rethink how it was portrayed in the book. I am super glad he started going to therapy, too, because his OCD was starting to rule his life too much.

  6. Emily Mead says:

    I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOKKKKKKK. I actually wasn’t really a fan of More Happy Than Not (don’t shoot me) but idk, I have a good feeling about this one?? And the fact that you loved it so much makes me even more excited ;)

    • Chiara says:

      YAAAAY! I cannot shoot you as I don’t know if I like More Happy Than Not yet, haha. I really did love it, so i hope you like it when you read it, Emily!

  7. Why have I not read Adam Silvera yet?? For some reason, despite the numerous reviews I’ve read of this lovely book, I had absolutely no idea the MC had OCD – otherwise I’d have picked it up IMMEDIATELY. At the moment I am still on a heartbreaker of my own (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, anyone?) & may or may not need a bit of fluff in the middle to patch all of the cracks in my heart, but I shall be picking up History is All You Left Me as soon as possible afterwards. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, Chiara, & thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. <3

    • Chiara says:

      I don’t know! I super recommend this one, probably after and before a fluffy book, though, because it is super heartbreaking *sobs* But yes, the MC has OCD, and it’s #ownvoices in that regard, as well, since Silvera has OCD. I truly hope that you love this one as much as I did when you get around to reading it. Thank you, lovely, and no problem <3

  8. I’ve heard so many great things about this one so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it too! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

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