Title: History is All You Left Me
Author: Adam Silvera
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
Release Date: February 9th 2017
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…
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
Griffin has lost the love of his life – his friend, his boyfriend, his endgame – and now he is forced to figure out what his life is going to be without Theo. Griffin keeps pulling away from his family and his friends, he’s a zombie going through all his day to day tasks, but he doesn’t see the point in any of it knowing that Theo is no longer in the world with him.
The only person who seems to understand what Griffin is going through is Jackson, Theo’s new boyfriend and the boy who was with him when he died. Griffin doesn’t like Jackson, he’s the one who took Theo away from him, but the two share the same grief and Jackson is the person who can give Griffin all the pieces of Theo’s life he is missing.
Together Griffin and Jackson share their memories of Theo’s life, grieving him together. However as the one-month anniversary of his death approaches and Griffin looks back at his past with Theo he’s forced to face the truth about the unhappy times in their relationship, and what it really was that drove them apart after Theo left for California.
History is All You Left Me tells two stories, both of them centred around Griffin and Theo. We see their developing relationship from the very beginning; from their first kiss all the way to their breakup. We see their past together through Griffin’s eyes and we see how important their relationship was to him and how important Theo was, even after their breakup. We also see Griffin struggling to come to terms with Theo’s death. Even though Theo is gone he is still a huge part of Griffin’s life, something that is never going to change.
History is All You Left Me is all about Griffin’s journey. We see everything from the happy times to the sad, and we follow him as he tries to come to terms with Theo’s life, his death, and everything in between.
Griffin has OCD and it is a major aspect of his characterisation as well as a major aspect of his grief. When things are bad his OCD seems to get worse and there’s nothing he can do to manage it. In a world where Theo is gone and things seem out of his control there are a few things he can control and so he tries to hold onto those things with all his might. The way Griffin grieves for Theo isn’t necessarily the healthiest way. He pushes away everyone but Jackson thinking only the other boy who loved Theo can fully understand what he is going through.
We see two very different Griffin’s in this book; the Griffin from ‘Then’, when Theo was alive and they were happily dating, and the Griffin from ‘Now’, having lost Theo so many times before losing him once more forever. When Griffin was with Theo he was happy; he seemed to think he was the best possible version of himself and his OCD wasn’t a hindrance but something which made him unique in Theo’s eyes. With Theo gone Griffin is adrift, and instead of dealing with his grief he makes bad decisions to try and forget it.
The relationship between Theo and Griffin, despite Theo having died, is a very important part of this story. Theo was Griffin’s first everything and even after they broke up, and Theo moved to university and moved on, he remained Griffin’s eventual endgame. So much of Griffin’s life seemed to be defined by Theo’s part in it and it was interesting to see him struggle with Theo gone; first in terms of him moving to California and later in terms of his death.
The other relationships in this book all added their part to the story and the character development; the relationship between Griffin, Theo and Wade, the relationship between Theo and Jackson and later Griffin and Jackson, and the relationship between Griffin and his parents all played their part in helping us understand Griffin’s character and his grief. This story is about Griffin but it was also about grief, we didn’t just see how he dealt with everything but how his friends and family dealt with everything. History is All You Left Me is a powerful book and it was really interesting seeing how all the characters changed between ‘Then’ and ‘Now’.
As soon as I finished More Happy Than Not I jumped right into History is All You Left Me, which in hindsight might have been a mistake. This was still an amazing book, and Adam Silvera is an incredible author, but there is a lot of emotional turmoil in his writing and I struggled with this one at times. Still at least now I know to be prepared for Silvera’s next release.
What did you think of History is All You Left Me? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.