TTBF Author Repost Guest Review: More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera


Team Midsummer, Jessica & Lyv, are attending the Texas Teen Book Festival again this year in Austin, TX! To prepare and get ourselves amped-up for this event, we are reposting some of our reviews by some of the TTBF 17 authors!

This review was originally posted on October 31, 2016

eveThis review was done by another one of Team Midsummer’s favorite people, Eve.  She has submitted reviews to us before, so we were excited to have her on board for LGBT History Month! Thanks so much, Eve!

 

 

 

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again—but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely. 

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is. 

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

I was immediately drawn into narrative of this intriguing novel, although I’ll confess to being a little suspicious of its potential similarity to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, with a sexuality angle rather than the desire to forget a past heartbreaking romantic relationship. But I was impressed by the way the focus wasn’t specifically on any one of the main issues addressed by the story, but rather a cleverly crafted weaving of the elements of grief, mental health, class and social structures, teen relationships, and love developing outside of an expected heteronormative paradigm. For this reason, while the book certainly addresses the complexities and struggle of coming out, I found the whole story to be involving and important – not just the relationship between Aaron and Thomas. It also isn’t a copy of Eternal Sunshine – it has one similar element, the neuroscience of forgetting, but it fans out to be much greater than that.

One thing I will note, because it stood out to me so much while reading that I texted Jess about it at the time, is that Aaron and Thomas say, “No homo” to each other a seemingly inordinate amount of times in the space of two pages. Now, it may be my heterosexual, cisgender privilege showing that I have never had to clarify my sexuality while interacting in an affectionate way with someone of the same sex as me, but I did feel that this phrase was somewhat overused. I’d be interested to know if this is a common experience among young men, because perhaps this phrase is used so frequently and that is part of the culture of hiding homosexual attraction.

Aside from this, the character development seemed very natural and totally solid within a few chapters – I feel like I know Aaron Soto, his friends and family, and have an understanding of his perspective on the world. The outstanding part of this book for me was how bravely and easily it tackled upsetting and painful topics, making it comfortable for the reader to continue (albeit through tears) even when the characters were suffering. Silvera does not shy away from the impact of suicide nor from the violence inherent in some relationships. On top of that, the balance of wit and warmth is spot on, throughout the happy moments and the hard ones.

I don’t want to give away too much about the plot but there are twists, and they’re the delicious ones that you sort of see coming but still have to pause and take a moment to think back on and process them once they do happen. The story will have you feeling all of the emotions and, while it certainly has a central homosexual relationship, I think it actually is a more profound commentary on humanity as a whole.

4.75 Bards

475-bards

Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted for us book blogger types by the Broke and the Bookish.  They provide a topic, and all of us participants post our answers on our blogs and we hop around checking out one another’s answers!  This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Books You Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS from the PAST 5 YEARS

fang1.  The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach:  One of my favorite novels of all time.  AMAZING characters that you will fall in love with.

2.  The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson:  A unique and quirky book about a family of performance artists. Really fun.

3.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:  Just a crazy good book.  Psychotic characters.  One of my favorite thrillers.

4.  A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard:  An intense memoir.  Her story of being kidnapped and being held captive for over 18 years is heartbreaking.

5.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett:  Beautiful novel. “You is kind.  You is smart.  You is important.”

6.  One Day by David Nicholls:  Just a classic good love story.  The relationship is on-again/0ff-again so it makes it interesting.

7.  The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling):  Fun murder mystery.  And I love J.K. Rowling.

8.  This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper:  Humorous look inside a dysfunctional family.    bed

9.  The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman:  I found it to be a very funny memoir.  Warning:  She talks a lot about farts.

10.  Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James:  I mean…come on.  I had to.

 *These were chosen from books that were published from 2009-2014

Book Review: If You Could be Mine by Sara Farizan

17302571Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.

So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.

Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to be loved in, without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?

What a tough subject to tackle in a young adult book.  Being gay in America is hard and the majority of Americans are actually fine with homosexuality, but being gay in a repressed county like Iran, I can’t even imagine.  The book depicts how hard life really is in Iran.  I find it interesting that transexuality is accepted by the government there and yet its not accepted here.   I thought this book was great because it gave me an insight of day to day life in Iran.  I really don’t know much about life there besides what I see on the news.  And yet at the same time it told a great true to life love story.

I liked how complex Sahar was as a character.  Sara Farizan really explored her character and made her to be relatable to any teen regardless of race, or sexual orientation.  I loved Ali, and not because he was some sort of moral compass, he was the opposite of that in fact.  But he represented the difference between being a male and female in Iran, as well as the freedom of knowing who you are and accepting that.  I didn’t care for Nasrin, I found her to be selfish and spoiled.  I think that is how she was supposed to be portrayed, but it did break my heart for Sahar.  Because I could tell they were not going to end up together.

I thought the book had a powerful message about life, love and the freedoms we as American’s have.  I would recommend this book to everyone.  It is a must read.  And an easy read, it was only like 200 pages, and flowed really nicely.  Great Job Sara Farizan.

4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted for us book blogger types by the Broke and the Bookish. They provide a topic, and all of us participants post our answers on our blogs and we hop around checking out one another’s answers! This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Swoon

1. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
“There was only so much space between us, not even a real distance if measured in miles or feet or even inches, all the things that told you how far you’d come or had left to go. But it was a big space, if only for me. And as I moved forward to him covering it, he waited there on the other side. It was only the last little bit I has to go, but in the end, I knew it would be all I would truly remember. So as I kissed him, bringing this summer and everything else full circle, I let myself fall, and was not scared of the ground I knew would rise up to meet me.”

2. Jessica Darling Series by Megan McCafferty
“You called me a natural con artist and asked me what other secrets I was hiding. I didn’t answer because I already knew, in some deep, primal way, what furtive truth you were referring to:
That I was destined to fall in love with you.”

3. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
“Wrapping my arms around her, I walked her backward into the brick. “Tell me you chose me, Echo.” She licked her lips. Those green eyes smoldered, calling me to her. “I chose you.” 

4. Finding It by Cora Carmack
“I want to memorize the way your eyes clench shut and you bite down on your lip, so that I can sketch your expression from memory. I want to know the exact angle of the way your neck curves, and how many times your heart beats a minute. I want to know everything.”

5. Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
“I don’t want to be without you. I like who I am with you, and I don’t want to go back to who I was before.”
“I love you, Rachel. So this will work. No matter what or who stands in our way.”

6. Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
“An hour later, we were full of pizza and I love him a little more.”

7. Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning
“Although love could grow in times of peace, it tempered in battle. Daddy told me once – when I’d said something about how perfect his relationship with Mom was – that I should have seen the first five years of their marriage, that they’d fought like hellions, crashed into each other like two giant stones. That eventually they’d eroded each other into the perfect fit, become a single wall, nestled into each other’s curves and hollows, her strengths chinking his weaknesses, her weaknesses reinforced by his strengths.”

8. Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
“Girl, he wants to dip you in Frosted Flakes and have you for breakfast. That’s his favorite cereal, by the way.” I…had no words for that.”

9. Splintered by A.G. Howard
“I hate you,” I say, the sentiment muffled against his heart, hoping to make it true.
“And I love you,” he answers without hesitation, voice resolved and raw as he holds me tighter so I can’t break away and react. “A crossroads, my beautiful princess, that was unavoidable—given our situations.”

10. The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe
“Those nights, in the sweetest dark, we shared our dreams. That’s you answer. I was stitched into yours, and you were stitched into mind, and that was real, I promise you.” I felt his lips curve into a smile. The unbelievably sensual, ticklish scuff of his whiskers. “Very good dreams they were, too,” he added.

Just some quotes to prove my point!

 

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