Book Review: History Is All You Left Me

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Synopsis:

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.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I saw this book a lot on Instagram but the only reason I finally decided to give it a read was because I applied for a job at the publishing house that published this book. Anyway, I say this all to say while I may not have picked this one up on my own, I’m so glad I did because it was an incredible read.

The novel is told by Griffin but jumps between the present (Today), after his ex-boyfriend, Theo, died, and the past (History), which shows how Griffin’s relationship with Theo began and what led to their break-up. I really liked the shifting of perspective, especially because in the Today portions Griffin is talking to Theo in second person narration, which I found really interesting, whereas in History it was just your regular first person narration.

In the Today portions you really got to see how Griffin was such a mess of emotions. He was obviously sad, but also angry at Theo for dying, especially because Theo once made the impossible promise that he wouldn’t die. Additionally, the appearance of Jackson, Theo’s boyfriend at the time of his death, was so interesting as well. At first I didn’t know if I should like Jackson or not. I wanted to be on Griffin’s side and hate him on principal but that’s obviously not fair, especially because Jackson loved Theo too, which is something Griffin begrudgingly has to realize.

What I loved most about this novel was the level of mystery to it. In the Today portions, Griffin is kind of an unreliable narrator because he’s talking to Theo and there’s some things Griffin didn’t get to tell Theo before he died that he doesn’t know how to tell him now. I really liked that because this book was able to surprise me, especially in the last 100 pages. I loved the whole book but that back end literally made me put the book down and take a step back and just reevaluate everything I thought I knew. I honestly wanted to go back to the beginning right there and start rereading, but I wanted to know how it ended so I didn’t actually do that.

The point is, this book was really good. I loved the characters even though they were all far from perfect. I also liked seeing how Griffin dealt with his OCD compulsions (he likes thing in even numbers, he always has to be on someone’s left side, etc.) and how they related to his relationship with Theo. And I loved that Theo was this complicated character, even in death. It becomes clear Griffin’s love for Theo turned into Griffin putting Theo on this kind of pedestal, something Griffin has to learn for himself in the novel.

Honestly, if you haven’t read this book yet you definitely need to. It’s a great LGBTQ novel with some diversity that deals with grief in a way that’s heartbreaking but somehow also filled with laughs and swoonworthy moments. All in all, this is definitely at the top of my list for best books of 2017.

Borrow or Buy: Buy it, immediately!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“History remains with the people who will appreciate it most.”

Other Reviews
Thoughts and Afterthoughts
Writability
Rich in Color

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