More Happy Than Not

If you could forget the worst moments of your life, would you? That's the promise offered by the Leteo Institute in this provocative debut novel from Adam Silvera.

Aaron's family is shattered when his father commits suicide, and Aaron's downward spiral leads to his own suicide attempt. In his near-future Bronx neighborhood, everyone suffers, though no one discusses it. Aaron's older brother and mother are distant, lost in their own grief. His girlfriend, Genevieve, is supportive but heading to art camp, and he can't discuss things with his friends. Then Aaron meets Thomas, who's willing to show emotion, reluctant to fight and lets Aaron talk about his past. Aaron comes to realize his feelings for his new friend are more than platonic. But being gay in a tough neighborhood doesn't feel like an option to Aaron, and he begins to consider a controversial medical procedure that can alter and eliminate unwanted memories. Leteo Institute may be able to suppress his feelings for Thomas, but can they erase Aaron's sexuality?

Silvera's powerful debut shows brutal honesty, painful truths and the power of memory. Those in Aaron's life show an array of responses to homosexuality--acceptance, anger, ignorance and indifference--but all resonate with remarkable realism. Silvera (who reviews for Shelf Awareness) explores the possibilities of a world where death, and life, can be forgotten, roles rewritten and broken hearts mended. This is a story not just of a young man coming out, but a dramatic and heart-wrenching exploration of first loves, first heartbreaks, grief and the quest for happiness. --Kyla Paterno, reviewer

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