Reviewed by Katie Green
Do not read anything else about this book before you read it! More Happy Than Not was a completely delightful surprise that you do not want spoiled. This young adult novel addresses the heavy topics of suicide, teenage sexuality, and death. Aaron Soto is an irresistible protagonist: his voice keeps the book enjoyable while also breaking the reader’s heart. Silvera layers subtle sci-fi elements on the otherwise realistic story, as Aaron is trying to navigate life with his first serious girlfriend and a new best friend, while also coping with the death of his father and a nagging, unsettled feeling that won’t go away. The speculative aspects of this novel allow Silvera to examine teen sexuality in a completely new way. Aaron is living in the shadow of the Leteo Institute, a new medical group that claims to alter memories to the point of changing people’s unwanted attributes.
More Happy Than Not presents insight into the lives of LGBT teens and their struggles with identity and acceptance in the Latino community. The author advocates for individuals, families, and friends to support people on the LGBT spectrum. Most of the conflict and heartache within the novel stems from characters refusing to accept other people’s sexualities. Aaron’s personal struggle for acceptance is unlike any other I have read because it is intertwined with the memory experiments of the Leteo institute. Silvera uses the speculative aspects of the novel to examine the nature vs. nurture question of a human sexuality.
More Happy Than Not
by Adam Silvera
Soho Teen, 2015
Katie is a Literacy M.Ed. student and a teacher of high school English in Minneapolis, currently attempting to read the Harry Potter series in Spanish.