Author: Adam Silvera
Pages: 292 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Soho Teen
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
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.
History is All You Left Me sounded like it was going to be heartbreaking, thought provoking, and hopeful. And it was for the most part, but I did find myself bored with Griffin’s story in the middle. His ex-boyfriend just died and Griffin is fully submerged in his grief. Then he sees Theo’s current boyfriend at the funeral. He should hate Jackson, but Griffin knows that he’s the only person who really understands what he’s going through. The two come together to share their grief and history with Theo, but Griffin isn’t being totally honest.
Let’s start with what I liked best about History is All You Left Me. The story alternates between the past and present. The past is told from Griffin’s first person POV, while the present is in second person POV. I love that! It’s not just randomly in second person. Griffin is talking to Theo about what’s going on without him, and how he’s feeling having Jackson around. I just really love how it’s presented.
I was also really excited about Griffin having OCD, especially when he starts listing his compulsions and they match mine! With some variations, of course. But I am Griff, Griff is me, and we have OCD! I really felt like I was reading about me as a teen and young adult, trying to go about normally while also satisfying my compulsions without coming across as a crazy person (which Griffin think he is at first). My mind was blown to have a character who totally gets me. But then, I lost my enthusiasm at the end, because it ends with Griffin walking on a character’s right side (he always has to be on the left, like me!). Um, how about no. It’s great that Griffin doesn’t want his compulsions controlling him, but it’s not that simple. That ending rubbed me the wrong way.
I don’t want to spoil anything about History is All You Left Me, since it is ultimately about Griffin finally coming clean with Theo about what was going on with him the day that he died. I had been bored in the middle of the story, because I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over. But when Griffin starts talking about those last weeks leading up to Theo’s death, I was hooked again! I just wish the ending hadn’t left me feeling so uncomfortable.