This book was heartbreakingly real and its pages left me aching with compassion and understanding. After a relationship ends, we are always left with regrets, secrets, and question not to mention pain and longing. So many moments were universally relatable and reading this novel was like looking back into my own teenage past – full of angst, pain, and ex-boyfriends.
When the death of Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend Theo occurs, his whole world shatters. Feelings and histories come into motion as Griffin must come to terms with both Theo’s death, and his own future. However, the only one who can truly understand the depth of his pain is Theo’s most recent boyfriend and in an attempt to reconcile their loss, Griffin steps onto a path that is full of heart break and secrets.
If bringing up the past annoys you…know that I’m sorry, but please don’t be mad at me for reliving all of it. History is all you left me. (1)
This book had me from page one and hasn’t put me down yet. It is beautifully written and the book is littered with sticky notes from my markings. The writing and the characters are so real, but also so vulnerable. They open up to you, share their darkest secrets, and because of their honesty, the secret feelings inside of you open as well. We are all left, after a relationship, with the relativity of our experiences, of our history. All left with questions and regrets, things we wish we had said or done. This lack of closure, of answers, is universal. Silvera draws on this well of emotions and brings it to the surface in a compelling and moving story.
You were finally able to speak back to me, Theo, and I don’t like everything you had to say. (118)
Because of the juxtaposition of older memories and the present, the mystery within the story unfurls, bringing us deeper downward into the guilt as Griffin begins his downward spiral. This has to be one of the reasons why the whole plot just works. The raw pain that Griffin feels is immediately followed by memories of happiness and the whole thing ends up being one bittersweet walk down memory lane.
It touches your soul and we have all been there – trapped in our own film reel, wondering how we could have changed thing, and drowning in our memories. The book also deals with the self-destructive ways we focus on the history, keep ourselves from moving on or coming to terms with the past. We cry with Griffin at the unbelievable tragedy of Theo’s death as we are reminded of the first experience we ever had with a death too soon.
Additionally, Griffin’s OCD is dealt with wonderfully. It strikes a balance between something that does not utterly define Griffin, but instead blends seamlessly into his characterization. It forms an important quality, not merely serving as a plot device.
This book covers it all: all the shades of the human heart moving from anger, to guilt, to betrayal and ending with resolution. People change, make mistakes, and get hurt, but the hardest thing is to live with them. We can honor our memories and histories without being stuck, recognizing that they are forever a part of us, and then taking the next step. It is an absolutely phenomenal book that is perfect for all ages and brings us right back to these tender and evocative memories of love, heartbreak, and moving on.
What’s the last book you read that moved you?
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