I received this ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is January, 17, 2017.
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.
I adored Silvera's first book, More Happy Than Not and when I heard about this one, I just knew it was on my most anticipated list. While I didn't necessarily love this one the way I loved the first one, I still found it incredibly moving. Griffin is not an easy character to like sometimes, but I still sympathized with him and I kind of understood why he did what he did. I mean, I don't understand exactly because I have never suffered the type of loss that Griffin has, but I understood his need to be self destructive and his need to push people away. The love of his life (and his best friend) has died and most people don't really understand why he can't just "get over it." He wasn't even dating Theo at the time of his death and I think most people think he should move on pretty quickly because he's so young. Adam Silvera did such an incredible job of getting into Griffin's head and making me feel his pain and his grief.
Griffin wants to hate Jackson because Jackson and Theo were in love at the time of his death, but surprisingly they become closer, mainly because they are just about the only ones who understand what the other is going through. There were times when I wanted to hug Griffin and times when I wanted to shake him because he was being so stubborn and refusing to let anyone help him. The book goes back forth between present day and the history of Theo and Griffin's relationship. I loved their relationship so much. They were friends for so long before they became a couple. They had great banter and incredible chemistry. Just a side note that I absolutely loved the fact that both Griffin and Theo were gay and were together and no one cared. Their sexuality was not a huge thing like it is for some books with LGBTQ characters. I loved that it was just another aspect of who they are, much like Griffin's obsession with Harry Potter.
This book was incredibly raw and moving and shows Griffin's moving journey from grief to acceptance. There is so much history that we only gets bits and pieces of and gradually, we understand exactly why Griffin feels so guilty about his history with Theo and we also see that Theo was just as flawed as any one else in the book.
So there was something that I think was missing from the book. I mean, it was moving and passionate and sad and all of that, but it took me a while to figure out what was bothering me about the book. Finally, I realized that it was the treatment of Griffin's OCD. I guess that felt kind of like a side note to the book and it wasn't given the attention that it deserved, mainly because Griffin's grief was overwhelming everything else. But from everything Griffin said and did throughout the book, I could tell the OCD was more than just "quirkiness." It was affecting his life and everyone kind of made excuses for it. I hated that he didn't really get diagnosed with anything until towards the end of the book and I felt dissatisfied with not just the treatment of the OCD throughout the book, but the resolution of it as well. I think that's the main thing that kept this from being a perfect read for me. I still think it's worth reading though, especially if you are a fan of Adam Silvera's work.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one.