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Review of History Is All You Left Me

silvera_history-is-all-you-left-meHistory Is All You Left Me
by Adam Silvera
High School    Soho Teen    293 pp.
1/17    978-1-61695-692-9    $18.99    g
e-book ed.  978-1-61695-693-6    $10.99

Seventeen-year-old Griffin loses Theo, his best friend and first love, twice: first when the young men break up, and again, as the book opens, when Theo drowns. Dual timelines carry readers simultaneously through Griffin and Theo’s sweet, finely drawn romance (and its inevitable dissolution) and Griffin’s heartbreaking journey through the grieving process, marked by disorientation, resentment, and an unlikely (and unhealthy) relationship with Theo’s hated subsequent boyfriend, Jackson. Both narratives are informed by Griffin’s struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder, which is neither minimized nor sensationalized but chronicled matter-of-factly as part of his life. Silvera’s prose is raw and lyrical, a good fit for Griffin’s intensity, and the minutiae of both romance and grief are closely observed and deeply felt. The mysteries of what lies in between the two timelines — for instance, how Griffin became estranged from another friend — keep the pace moving. Griffin and Theo’s breakup is messy, realistic, and painful, overshadowed but not subsumed by the subsequent pain of Theo’s 
death, and readers will identify with Griffin’s confusion and denial in response to 
both. Griffin himself is an indelible character who will linger in readers’ sympathies after the last page is turned.

From the January/February 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Claire Gross About Claire Gross

Claire Gross is the youth librarian at the Egleston branch of the Boston Public Library and a former associate editor of The Horn Book Magazine.

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