History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera | SLJ Review

redstarSILVERA, Adam. History Is All You Left Me. 320p. ebook available. Soho Teen. Jan. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781616956929. POP

history-is-all-you-left-meGr 10 Up –No one understands what Griffin is going through after Theo, his ex and the love of his life, dies. No one, perhaps, except Theo’s new boyfriend, Jackson. In a narrative that alternates between past and present, Silvera offers a gem of a story about first love and great loss. Griffin’s voice is strong and affecting, and as readers come to know Theo’s history and the depth of Griffin’s love, the loss becomes more and more poignant. Griffin has obsessive-compulsive disorder, and while his illness is a sensitively portrayed and central part of his life, it is not the defining theme of the novel: his grief and loss are the focus. Griffin’s transformation as he moves from resentment and rage at Jackson to compassion and connection is profound to witness. But perhaps most memorable is the protagonist’s slow, dawning realization of Theo’s deep imperfections. It is so easy to idolize a first love, and even easier to idolize someone who has died. Griffin’s gradual awareness of Theo’s flaws is the true heart of this standout title. VERDICT With a cast of beautifully realized characters, a powerful narrative voice, and genuine portrayals of complex teen situations, this work is a must-have.–L. Lee Butler, Hart Middle School, Washington, DC

This review was published in the School Library Journal November 2016 issue.

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