History Is All You Left Me
Ever since middle school, it was Wade, Griffin and Theo. They were their own squad and did everything together. Then, Theo and Griffin fell in love --- fast and head over heels. The squad was still Wade, Griffin and Theo, but there was also just Theo and Griffin. That is, until Theo decided to move across country for college, and Griffin decided it would be best if they broke up. The endgame was always for them to be together, and they vowed to still be best friends. The plan worked out at first, and even after Theo fell in love with Jackson, Griffin and Theo still tried to be close --- and then they stopped trying. The next thing Griffin knows, Theo has drowned and he’s at his funeral. Wade tries to comfort him, but it seems the only person who can really relate to Griffin is Jackson. Along with some help from Wade, Griffin and Jackson work together to try to piece the history Theo left them, even if it means it’ll change everything.
I don’t know where to start with this book. I am so heartbroken right now, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt this sad (sad is an understatement) after finishing a book. I’ve read the ending over five times, and my thoughts have been consumed by this story. Honestly, I don’t think HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME will ever leave my mind.
"The writing style in HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME is exceptional, and I think is pretty unique to Adam Silvera....Words cannot express how much I loved this book, and I think the majority of people could find comfort in reading HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME."
I guess I should start with the author himself, the magnificent Adam Silvera. His debut book, MORE HAPPY THAN NOT, is one of wonders. I’m not going to go too much into why, but everyone should read it. Also, Adam Silvera just seems like an incredible person. I follow him on most social media platforms, and he uses his voice to aid the fight for social justice everywhere. You can also join him in his book club, Throwback Book Club --- okay, I also have a crush on him.
The writing style in HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME is exceptional, and I think is pretty unique to Adam Silvera. First, there is great word choice that personalizes the culture in which these characters live in. Phrases like “mad love,” stick out, though there definitely other cool ones. Also, the actual setup of the book is cool, and makes this book a lot more heartbreaking than it would be if it just went in chronological order. Basically, the book opens with a present chapter, with Griffin gearing up to go to Theo’s funeral. Then, the next chapter is history, which starts off with the beginnings of Theo and Griffin’s romantic relationship. As the story goes on, we go on Griffin’s journey with grief, as well as going back in time and learning why Griffin’s grief is so heavy.
Griffin himself was a very complex character, and a very special one. Right now, I’m actually at a loss for words on how to describe him, but I’ll try. From the beginning of the history, to his present day self, he went on a downward spiral of depression, anxiety and OCD symptoms, which he coped with using some really unhealthy behavior. His whole narrative was directed toward Theo, sort of like a loose letter. My hope is that his story will show that any mental illness and/or grief is primarily out of someone’s control, and that they can’t just “get over,” but that it’s also a lot more difficult to ask for help than someone might assume.
My feelings toward Jackson were a different story. Maybe it’s because Griffin had really negative feelings toward him, but I borderline hated Jackson at the beginning. Over time, I began to feel for him, and I just wanted to hug him and tell him everything would be okay. With Theo, I don’t know what to think. On the one hand, I love him for providing Griffin and Jackson with such happy memories. At the same time, I thought he was really manipulative with Griffin, and really toyed with his emotions. As a side note, Theo and I have the same birthday, and I don’t know if I should think that’s really cool or cry.
Another awesome factor of this book is that it offers a broad conversation about sexuality, especially concerning Theo. Although in the book Theo only dates boys, he does tell Griffin that he also likes girls. Griffin immediately gets defensive and asks about Theo’s type, feeling that he is now “competing” for Theo with both genders. Theo replies that he simply likes good people, which I think is a message people who identify as bisexual have been trying to convey for a long time. There is also an emphasis on safe sex, which is highly appreciated.
Words cannot express how much I loved this book, and I think the majority of people could find comfort in reading HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME. I am also extremely excited for Adam Silvera’s upcoming book, THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END, coming in the fall of 2017.
Reviewed by Reanna H., Teen Board Member on January 30, 2017