History Is All You Left Me

History Is All You Left Me
Written by Adam Silvera
Contemporary, LGBT, Diverse
Published February 2017
304 Pages
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia
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★★★★☆
You’re still alive in alternate universes, Theo, but I live in the real world where this morning you’re having an open casket funeral. I know you’re out there, listening. And you should know I’m really pissed because you swore you would never die and yet here we are. It hurts even more because this isn’t the first promise you’ve broken.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder afflicted seventeen year old, Griffin, has just lost his first love, his best friend, ex boyfriend and the boy he believed to be his ultimate life partner, in a drowning accident. In a desperate attempt to hold onto every last piece of the past, a broken Griffin forges a friendship with Theo’s new college boyfriend, Jackson. And Griffin will stop at nothing to learn every detail of Theo’s new college life, and ultimate 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 ultimately means...
Griffin and Theo shared their lives with one another. Childhood friends, they've been one another's confidant, neither realising they were both falling in love. No matter in which direction their lives would follow, Griffin and Theo would navigate back towards one another. Until Theo died, leaving behind broken promises and heartache.

My Thoughts

Griffin was a wonderful young man, gentle, intelligent and consumed by Theo. While Theo is animated, sensual and navigating his relationship parameters with Griffin. The nonlinear narrative begins with Griffin attending the funeral, being confronted with Jackson, Theo's college boyfriend and the history his dear Theo left behind.
If I'm going to have any chance of getting through today, tomorrow, and all of the days that follow, I think I need to go back to the start, where we were two boys bonding over jigsaw puzzles and falling in love.
Theo is incredibly intelligent but ultimately flawed despite the insistence of Griffin. Shortly after Theo and Griffin begin their relationship, Theo is offered early acceptance into a Californian college and with reluctance, leaving Griffin and their relationship behind. At college, Theo has lived an existence that is only shared through phone calls that have become less frequent as Theo and Jackson explore a new relationship. Throughout the nonlinear storyline, Griffin sees Theo's new relationship as insignificant, with little wonder as Theo seemed to manipulate Griffin's emotions, sharing the turbulence of his new relationship knowing Griffin was hopeful the two would reunite.

Griffin never received closure, so when Theo passed due to the tragic drowning accident, he reluctantly agrees to spent time with a grieving Jackson to understand aspects of Theo's life he no longer shared. Theo and Griffin's mutual friend Wade mourned alone and attempted to reach out to Griffin, consumed by grief to notice. Wade lived within Theo's shadow but after their separation, became a necessary voice of reason in Griffin's life.

Griffin lives with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, anxious over uneven numbers and favouring one side over the other. Theo, Jackson and Wade all interacted with Griffin on a varied scale. While Theo seemingly helped ease Griffin's anxiety, he believed these were simply quirks that added to Griffin's appeal. Jackson was incredibly intuitive both through his observations and relationship with Theo, his kind and gentle nature put Griffin at ease. While Wade had adopted the same approach as Jackson, but continued to challenge Griffin.

While the main focus is on the same sex relationships of Griffin and Theo, Theo and Jackson, the tentative friendship between Griffin and Jackson was therapeutic for both characters. His friendship with Wade and the wonderful relationship between Griffin's parents was a lovely touch. Diverse without using character diversity as the main narrative. Same sex relationships, bisexuality, anxiety disorders, a parent who is in a wheelchair and incredibly sex positive. It was beautiful.

Adam Silvera is exceptional. History Is All You Left Me is a heartbreaking narrative about the relationships that ignite passion and influence our lives. Tender, exquisite and breathtaking.

50 comments

  1. I haven't heard of this one before. It sounds like a beautiful tearjerker :-) :-).

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    1. It was so, so lovely Sarah. It was my first Adam Silvera read but definitely won't be my last. He's wonderful.

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  2. I’ve yet to read anything by Adam Silvera, thought he is definitely on my radar. The quotes you pulled from the book are so beautiful. Wonderful review, Kelly. As always you’ve managed to make me want to read a book right this moment. I think I put one of his book on my tbr-soon shelf. I especially find appealing that this book is diverse without using character diversity as the main narrative, so many books bring these topic as the main focus, but not enough do it in a more subtle way.

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    1. It was simply beautiful Ksenia and so wonderfully written. It was diverse but didn't use diversity as the main narrative, such as coming out. One aspect I loved was the acceptance of both Griffin and Theo's parents and friends. Within what's an ultimately sad storyline, so many beacons of hope. It was just really lovely.

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  3. This book has gotten the best reviews! What a complicated situation this author has navigated with such care and love.

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    1. I absolutely loved it Verushka, such a wonderful read that I urge all readers to pick up a copy.

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  4. I've heard nothing but great things about Adam Silvera's books and seeing this review just makes me want to pick this up ASAP. Thanks for sharing Kelly and, as always, fabulous review! <3

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    1. Thanks Zoe, I'd love to see what you think of it.

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  5. I LOVED this one, so I'm really glad that you enjoyed it too. I thought it was really interesting how the back and forth in the narrative allowed you to see things clearer, like Griffin starts to do as time goes on. Not everything is how you initially see them and it can be tough to see the truth, but sometimes it's better off.

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    1. Usually the nonlinear narratives tend to frustrate me Lauren, but with this one is worked brilliantly. I really enjoyed how the storyline was slowly revealed. It felt almost healing in quality and it helped me to understand Griffin's anguish and choices. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it too.

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    2. Oh, I shared this review here: http://letsgetbeyondtolerance.blogspot.com/2017/03/rainbow-roundup-reviews-book-look-and.html

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  6. so is it a closure kind of book or more of a memoriam?

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    1. A little of both Ailyn. It's nonlinear, so although the book begins with Theo's funeral, we learn about Theo's life through Griffin while he comes to terms with his loss. It's sad but beautiful and incredibly hopeful.

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  7. OKAY I CANNOT WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK AND YOU GOT ME SO EXCITED FOR IT KELLY! also your review is so beautiful how are you doing this???? <3

    xx anisha @ Sprinkled Pages

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    1. With a keyboard mostly. Typing words.

      Thanks Anisha, it truly is beautiful and I would love to see what you think of it.

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  8. I have not read any Adam Silvera books. I am glad you loved it. I must explore his writing.

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    1. This was my first too Resh and it was magnificent. I've already purchased a copy of More Happy Than Not.

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  9. I've been wanting to read this one but was waiting for a few reviews. Sold!

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. Ohhhhhh Karen, it's beautiful. I've already added Adam Silvera to my automatic to buy list.

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  10. sounds like this book literally had a lot going on, thank goodness it didn't sound very overwhelming. Dealing with OCD, navigating through school and same sex relationships, must have been quite a story!

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    1. It was, but all so wonderfully woven throughout Lily that it just feels like a natural part of life, rather than a forced storyline. It was brilliant and I'd love to see what you think of it.

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  11. I love it when characters have real life issues to deal with. Also, if the story is relationship driven. Sounds like an interesting read. ~Aleen

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    1. It really is Aleen, it's one of those reads that will keep you reading into the early hours of the morning. Virtually impossible to put down!

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  12. So happy you liked this one <3 Actually, my review is going up tonight. Adam Silvera is pretty incredible.

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    1. He's amazing and all these other brilliantly complimentary words that escape me right now. I loved it!

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  13. Great review Kelly! I have both of his books, but I cannot decide which one to read first. Interestingly, I even made a poll on Goodreads, but both of the books got the same number of votes lolol. I have also heard that this book has HP references, which only made me more excited! And yay for OCD rep, I have only read one book which displayed OCD well and that was Am I normal yet? It is soo good! Have you ever read it?
    Prabhleen @ Booksarelife987

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    1. I haven't read that one yet but I do have a copy. So glad you enjoyed that one, I'll move it up my list to read soon. I haven't read More Happy Than Not as yet, but I would definitely recommend this one. It's magnificent!

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  14. This book sounds like a beautiful story. The review is enough to break my heart </3

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    1. It's brilliant Michelle, a definite must read.

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  15. I recently read More Happy Than Not which hyped me up for this book because that non linear narrative was pulled off so well. I can't wait to see all the diversity happening naturally in the book. Lovely review Kelly!

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    1. Thanks Jeann. I'm hoping you read that one soon too, I didn't realise it was also nonlinear. Awesome.

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  16. I really enjoyed this book, so I'm glad that you loved it as well! Fabulous review :)

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

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    1. Thanks Brittany. It was so lovely wasn't it, such a magnificent read.

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  17. I really loved this one too!! It was my first read of a Silvera novel but I looooved it and definitely want to read everything he writes from now on. <3 I was a bit unhappy with how Theo treated Griffin's OCD and how that was never exactly called out??? It should have been??? But otherwise it was such a beautiful and heartbreaking books. WHY YOU GOTTA MAKE MY HEART BREAK, BOOK. OMG. *collapses in a puddle* I felt so bad for all those boys.

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    1. Yeah, I wasn't too pleased with that either. Seeing them as quirks that made him interesting rather than acknowledging the disorder itself. Even though you know what happens to Theo finding out the details of his death were heartbreaking, seeing Griffin's journey of grief, loss and then finding himself was magnificent though. So emotional.

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  18. This sounds absolutely phenomenal, and at the same time, pretty bleak and sad. Though I expect nothing less from Adam Silvera.

    Glad you loved this Kelly! <3 I hope to get to this soon, even though it'll probably break my heart.

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    1. It will but it's also about the process of healing. It was just so beautifully written, diverse, sex positive and so, so lovely. I can't wait to see what you think of it!

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  19. This sounds so emotional to read but also kind of fascinating. I'm really interested in the OCD aspect and the mystery behind Theo's death

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    1. Such a wonderful read, one that I recommend that all young adult readers purchase. You'll want to read this one again and again.

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  20. Yes, this definitely sounds heartbreaking. Oh gosh. I will keep an eye out for any Adam Silvera books I can get my hands on - this one sounds like it ticks all the boxes.

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    1. That it does Mawa. I think you'll really enjoy this one, it's emotional, hopeful and so wonderfully written.

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  21. Such an incredible review! I agree with most everything you said; it was truly such a breathtakingly written, beautiful tale about love, loss and grief. It was slow-burn and the book progressed on the backs of the characters rather than the plot itself. I guess my only concern was, eventually, the lack of plot - though I definitely think Adam Silvera did his characters and the themes he discussed justice. Again, wonderfully written review. :)

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    1. Thanks Aimal and I totally agree. Rather than a directional narrative, it felt more so like a journal of the grieving process which, without sounding morbid, I really enjoyed. I loved how it touched on themes of being sex positive, character disability, social disorders and sexual preference. It was just so wonderfully written and looking forward to reading More Happy Than Not shortly.

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  22. *emerges from the shadows*

    I've been trying so hard to get back into reading and blogging and this sounds just up my street - who can resist a tearjerker?

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    1. BECKY! How have you been my precious girl? It's been too long! I still love seeing your gorgeous face on my Instagram feed, although my bank account doesn't appreciate all the money you force me to spend on cosmetics. I've missed you!

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    2. I'm good! Very stressed. What about you? It has definitely been too long! I need to emerge myself back into the world of blogging! Aw thank you so much! I do have a little bit of a makeup obsession, it's keeping me sane!

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  23. I absolutely adored this book, and it has made me incredibly excited to read Silvera's other book, More Happy Than Not. I loved how character driven this story was, without ever being boring. The exploration of all the different relationship dynamics was so powerful and heartbreaking. I absolutely adored how family in its different forms were represented, as well.

    So glad you liked this one, Kelly!

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    1. It was absolutely stunning and written with such care. I adored Griffin, his relationships, friendships and his supportive family were such a beautiful touch. I can't wait to start More Happy Than Not!

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  24. I absolutely adore this book. It's still early but I'm going to say it'll definitely be one of my top reads for this year. The characters were flawed and realistic, the writing was powerful but not manipulative, and I loved how diverse it was without ever drawing too much attention to it.
    I'm definitely going to pick up More Happy Than Not as well

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  25. I adore this book, it honestly broke me but also put me back together in the end?

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