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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. OCD-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…
Picking up my first Silvera book, I was promised tears and heartbreak and that is exactly what I got. History is All You Left Me is told in chapters that alternate between the past (beginning from when Griffin and Theo’s romantic history first began), to the present (Theo’s funeral), and we see Griffin attempt to deal with the grief of losing his first love as well as the gradually escalating symptoms of his OCD.
Griffin is a very lovable character. From the very beginning, I felt for him and honestly just wanted to wrap him up in a blanket. That being said, he is a wildly unreliable narrator. His views of certain characters – uhm, Theo – were unrealistic and bordering on unhealthy. Not to mention he left a few important details out from his recap of past events until the end-ish. The way the story was told meant that information was picked up along the way without really realising, which I enjoyed. Basically, it was the complete opposite of an info-dump, and it was done well.
History is All You Left Me manages to cover everything from coming out to dealing with mental health, without making the entire story about either. The story focused on the history between Griffin and Theo but I think it was mostly focused on Griffin trying to figure out who he was without his best friend who he’d always held on a pedestal and thought was his endgame. He was even planning on going to the same uni/college, just because. While he’s taking this journey of self-discovery, he messes up. A lot. Vulnerable and dealing with grief that no-one but Theo’s boyfriend seems to understand, he makes a few decisions he knows he’ll immediately regret. But I don’t necessarily think this was a bad thing. The unhealthy decisions Griffin makes while mourning helps him get to a better place, eventually.
The OCD rep in this story was fantastically written. I found it seeping into parts of the story that I wouldn’t have even thought about, emphasising how much of someone’s life it limits. (Not controls but limits, thanks Wade). Having anxiety myself, there were so many things I could relate to and it’s just heartwarming to see such rep don well. Also, the portrayal of grief was so real and raw in this story – it wasn’t one of those stories where Griffin woke up one day and was suddenly ok with his best friend and first love being dead.
I fell in love with Adam Silvera’s story-telling in this book the same way I fell in love with my first Rainbow Rowell or Stephanie Perkins book. I couldn’t bring myself to put it down and instantly became protective of the central characters. The nerdy references were hilarious and at points, I’d see stains on the page and realise it had reduced me to tears. All in all, I’m looking forward to having my heart broken by Adam Silvera and his writing over and over again.
Favourite quote: “There’s nothing wrong with someone saving my life, I’ve realized, especially when I can’t trust myself to get the job done right. People need people. That’s that.”