HNS Book Review: ‘History Is All You Left Me’ by Adam Silvera



Title: History Is All You Left Me
Author: Adam Silvera
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 240
Year:  2017
Publisher: Soho Teen
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon l B & N  l Book Depository l Goodreads


When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

Reviewer’s Thoughts:

You can listen to this ‘History is All You Left Me’ inspired playlist on Spotify or 8tracks.

History is All You Left Me has been outdoing my heart from the beginning. Every chapter is a gut-wrenching punch. I’m all bruised up and I ache all over. Please tape your heart for safety precautions. You’ll need it.

The story follows Griffin Jennings, whose ex-boyfriend, Theo dies in a drowning accident. He’s broken and grieving and he turns to the person everyone least expected, Jackson. He’s the guy Theo was dating before he died. They are two guys who should hate each other, but instead they found resemblance that calls them to each own. It was grief. It was Theo.

Griffin will resonate with readers. He’s nerdy, incredible, and easy to love. His arc will make you cry and hurt. You’d question his unfailing loyalty and love to Theo. The immortalize picture he painted of him. You’d see his spectacular self, the amazing moments. You’d also see his selfish side, the bad parts. It wasn’t glossed over. I love that. He has so much tale to unload. His compulsion is neatly infused and handled. It was another sucker punch to see him struggled. Silvera delivered it beautifully.

I also love the supportive system of the main characters. To see a healthy and positive portrayal of coming out and seeing their parents guide them. Parents giving their gay son the “sex talk.” Life doesn’t get better than that.

History is All You Left Me is mostly about pain. The main driving point is overcoming grief after all. But, it’s solely not just about that. There are little joys, too. Silvera stitched the readers with an uplifting conclusion. That’s how you write inclusively. You don’t only include the pain, but the joys too.

I smile at him before looking ahead. There’s nothing wrong with someone’s 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.

I’m sharing that specific quote in mind with a reason. I often see readers undermining the authentic portrayal of mental illness in YA. Of course, there are plenty that butchered it, but there are also plenty that tackle it in a respectful manner. Let’s give them credit. We forget that mental illness is something you can’t cure. YA stories tend to chronicle how teens learn to live with it in their own terms. And, there’s a lot of characters that help the protagonist reach that certain kind of peace, whether it’s their parents, siblings, inspiring adult figure, friends, or love interest. A person that needs “saving” and gets saved in return isn’t weak. Their pain isn’t less or diminished. Sometimes, you accept help from others and that’s perfectly okay. This book captured that essence that I was talking about. Griffin received a lot of help from people that genuinely care about him. He was reluctant at first, but he saw. I appreciate that.

History is All You Left Me is unflinchingly real. It is pulsing with history and I want you to experience it with me.

Review also posted at Goodreads.

About the Author

7dVr3HIhSue discovered the magical world filled with words at a young age. They have been her constant companion ever since. In addition to being a full time bookworm, and a dessert enthusiastic, she also runs the first fansite for Vampire Academy’s Lucy Fry called Lucy Fry Source. When she’s not tucked between the pages of her books, you can find her at her personal blog. You can also follow Sue on instagram and goodreads.

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