Review: History is All You Left Me

historyI feel very lucky the last few months. I’ve been fortunate enough to have received advance copies of two of the books from 2017 I’ve been most looking forward to: Becky Albertalli’s The Upside of Unrequited (review here) and Adam Silvera’s History is All You Left Me.

Even before starting History, I knew this book would break my heart. All you need to do is read the little blurb about it, and you know the heartache is coming. Here’s that blurb:

When Theo drowned, Griffin’s heart shattered. Even after Theo went off to college and started dating someone else, Griffin believed they would still end up together. Now, reeling from grief and worsening OCD, Griffin embarks on a dangerous relationship with Theo’s boyfriend and revisits his past and the truths he’s fought to keep hidden.

So, Adam Silvera writes some of the most lifelike characters. I loved his debut, More Happy Than Not but I love love love History. I’m a sucker for books that break my heart, John Green’s Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars being among them.

And yes, I’m comparing History is All You Left Me to John Green, because it’s that good.

Theo promised Griffin he’d never die. And then he did.

Griffin’s grief is real and emotional and it affected me so much. I felt like my own heart was breaking as the book flipped from Griffin’s present, when Theo is dead, to Griffin’s past, when Theo is very much alive.

Reading about their relationship and how it came to be just made me ache even more since you know that Theo is dead. I seriously kept hoping that at some point, Griffin would wake up from a dream and Theo would still be alive. But sadly, that didn’t happen.

In an attempt for forge a bond with someone who understands what he’s going through, Griffin embarks on a confusing and strenuous friendship with Theo’s new boyfriend, Jackson. This friendship and how it plays out is central to the story, with Griffin showing Jackson things about Theo’s life in New York, where he and Griffin are both from; and Jackson showing Griffin things about Theo’s life in Los Angeles, where Jackson and Theo met when Theo moved there for school.

All the while, Griffin is struggling with his OCD and the compulsions that have taken control of him, such as always needing to be on someone’s left or wanting everything to be even instead of odd.

Oh, and did I mention that every time the story is in the present, Griffin is talking to Theo. As in, the story is being narrated in first-person perspective as if Griffin is telling the story to Theo, because a part of Griffin believes Theo can still see and hear him even though he’s, you know, dead. This just makes the entire thing even more heartbreaking and real, in my opinion.

The characters in this book are so lifelike, and you can almost feel Griffin’s grief wrapping itself around your heart. This book broke my heart, in a way that only Adam Silvera can. It is an honest and moving story about life and death, and the struggle to move on when we lose someone we love.

History is All You Left Me comes out January 17th, 2017. You can pre-order it now from Indigo by clicking here.

Note: I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review. I am an Indigo employee.