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More happy than not / Adam Silvera.

By: Silvera, Adam, 1990-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York, New York : Soho Teen, [2015]Copyright date: ©2015Description: 295 pages ; 22 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781616955601; 1616955600.Subject(s): Memory -- Fiction | Dating (Social customs) -- Fiction | Coming out (Sexual orientation) -- Fiction | Single-parent families -- Fiction | Gay teenagers -- Fiction | Young adult fiction | Bronx (New York, N.Y.) -- Fiction | New York (N.Y.) -- FictionDDC classification: [Fic] Online resources: Cover image Summary: After enduring his father's suicide, his own suicide attempt, broken friendships, and more in the Bronx projects, Aaron Soto, sixteen, is already considering the Leteo Institute's memory-alteration procedure when his new friendship with Thomas turns to unrequited love.
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Teenage Fiction Gonville Library
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving New York Times bestselling-debut--also called "mandatory reading" and selected as an Editors' Choice by the New York Times --Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.

In the months after his father's suicide, it's been tough for sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again--but he's still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he's slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron's crew notices, and they're not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can't deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can't stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

"Silvera managed to leave me smiling after totally breaking my heart. Unforgettable."
--Becky Albertalli, author of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

"Adam Silvera explores the inner workings of a painful world and he delivers this with heartfelt honesty and a courageous, confident hand . . . A mesmerizing, unforgettable tour de force."
--John Corey Whaley, National Book Award finalist and author of Where Things Come Back and Noggin

After enduring his father's suicide, his own suicide attempt, broken friendships, and more in the Bronx projects, Aaron Soto, sixteen, is already considering the Leteo Institute's memory-alteration procedure when his new friendship with Thomas turns to unrequited love.

Young Adult.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

It turns out the Leteo procedure isn't bullshit.      The first time I saw a poster on the subway promoting the institute that could make you forget things, I thought it was a marketing campaign for some new science fiction movie. And when I saw the headline "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow!" on the cover of a newspaper, I mistook it as something boring, like the cure for some new flu--I didn't think they were talking about memories. It rained that weekend, so I hung out with my friends at the Laundromat, chilling in front of the security guard's old TV. Every single news station was interviewing different representatives of the Leteo Institute to find out more about the "revolutionary science of memory alteration and suppression."     I called bullshit at the end of each one.     Except now we know the procedure is 100 percent real and 0 percent bullshit because one of our own has gone through it.     That's what Brendan, my sort of best friend, tells me at least. I know him as much for his honesty as I know Baby Freddy's mother for her dedication to confirming the gossip that comes her way. (Rumor has it she's learning basic French because her neighbor down the hall may be having an affair with the married superintendent, and the language barrier is a bit of a block. But, well, that's gossip too.)     "So Leteo is legit?" I sit down by the sandbox no one plays in because of ringworm.     Brendan paces back and forth, dribbling our friend Deon's basketball between his legs. "That's why Kyle and his family bounced," he says. "Fresh start."     I don't even have to ask what he forgot. Kyle's identical twin brother, Kenneth, was gunned down last December for sleeping with this guy Jordan's younger sister. Kyle was the one who actually slept with her, though. I know grief just fine, but I can't imagine living day by day with that--knowing the brother I shared a face and secret language with was ripped out of my life when the bullets were meant for me.     "Well, good luck to him, right?"     "Yeah, sure," Brendan says.     The usual suspects are outside today. Skinny-Dave and Fat-Dave--who are unrelated, just both named Dave--come out of our local bodega, Good Food's Store, where I've been working part-time for the past couple of months. They're throwing back quarter juices and potato chips. Baby Freddy glides on by with his new steel orange bike, and I remember when we used to give him shit years ago for still needing training wheels--but the joke is on me since my father never got a chance to teach me to ride at all. Me-Crazy is sitting on the ground, having a conversation with the wall; and everyone else, the adults mainly, are preparing for this weekend's community event of the year.     Family Day.     This will be the first time we're celebrating Family Day without Kenneth and Kyle, or Brendan's parents, or my dad. It's not like Dad and I were gonna have father-son wheelbarrow races or father-son basketball games; besides, Dad always paired up with my brother, Eric. But father-son anything would've been better than this. I can't imagine it's any easier for Brendan, even though his parents are both alive. It might be worse, since they're just out of reach in boxy jail cells for separate crimes: his mother for armed robbery, his father for assaulting a police officer after he was caught dealing meth. Now he lives with his grandfather who is thugging it out at eighty-eight.     "Everyone's going to expect smiles from us," I say.     "Everyone can go suck it," Brendan replies. He pockets his hands, and I bet there's weed in there; dealing pot has been his way of growing up faster, even though it's pretty much what landed his dad in prison eight months ago. He checks his watch, struggling to read what the hands are saying. "I have to go meet someone." He doesn't even wait for me to respond before he walks off.     He's a guy of few words, which is why he's only my sort of best friend. A real best friend would use a lot of words to make you feel somewhat good about your life when you're thinking about ending it. Like I tried to. Instead, he distanced himself from me because he felt as if he had a duty to hang with the other black kids--which I thought and still think is bullshit.     I miss the time when we took full advantage of summer nights, ignoring curfew so we could lie down on the black mat of the jungle gym and talk about girls and futures too big for us--which always seemed like it might be okay, as long we were stuck here with each other. Now we come outside because of routine, not brotherhood.     It's just one more thing I have to pretend I'm okay with. Home is a one-bedroom apartment for the four of us. I mean, three of us. Three.     I share the living room with Eric, who should be home any minute now from his shift at the used video game store on Third Avenue. He'll power on one of his two gaming consoles, chat with his online friends through a headset, and play until his team bows out around 4 a.m. I bet Mom will try and get him to apply to some colleges. I don't plan on sticking around for the argument.     There are stacks of unread comics on my side of the room. I bought a lot of them for cheap, like between seventy-five cents and two dollars at my favorite comic shop, without any real intention to read them from start to finish. I just like having a collection to show off whenever one of my more well-off friends comes over. I subscribed to one series, The Dark Alternates, when everyone got into it at school last year, but so far I've only gotten around to flipping through them to see if the artists have done anything interesting.     Whenever I really get into a book, I draw my favorite scenes inside them: in World War Z , I drew the Battle of Yonkers where zombies dominated; in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow , I drew the moment we meet the Headless Horseman because that was when I suddenly cared about an otherwise so-so ghost story; and, in Scorpius Hawthorne and the Convict of Abbadon --the third book in my favorite fantasy series about a demonic boy wizard--I drew the monstrous Abbadon being split into two from Scorpius's Sever Charm.    I haven't been drawing very much lately.    The shower always takes a few minutes to heat up so I turn it on and go check on my mom. I knock on her bedroom door, and she doesn't answer. The TV is on, though. When your only living parent isn't responding, you can't help but think of that time when your father was found dead in the bathtub--and the possibility that beyond your home's only bedroom door life as an orphan awaits you. So I go inside.    She's just waking up from her second nap of the day to an episode of Law & Order . "You okay, Mom?"    "I'm fine, my son." She rarely calls me Aaron or "my baby" anymore, and while I was never a fan of the latter, especially whenever my friends were around, at least it showed that there was life inside of her. Now she's just wiped.    Beside her is a half-eaten slice of pizza she asked me to get her from Yolanda's Pizzeria, the empty cup of coffee I brought her back from Joey's, and a couple of Leteo pamphlets she picked up on her own. She's always believed in the procedure, but that means nothing to me since she also believes in Santeria. She puts on her glasses, which conveniently hide the sunken lines around her eyes from her crazy work hours. She's a social worker at Washington Hospital five days a week, and spends four evenings handling meat at the supermarket for extra cash to keep this tiny roof over our heads.    "You didn't like the pizza? I can get you something else."    Mom ignores this. She gets out of bed, tugging at the collar of her sister's hand-me-down shirt she recently lost enough weight to fit into because of her "Poverty Diet," and hugs me harder than she has since Dad died. "I wish there was something else we could've done."    "Uh . . ." I hug her back, never knowing what to say when she cries about what Dad did and what I tried to do. I just look at the Leteo pamphlets again. There is something else we could've done for him--we just never would've been able to afford it. "I should probably shower before the water gets cold again. Sorry."    She lets me go. "It's okay, my son."    I pretend everything is okay as I rush to the bathroom where steam has fogged up the mirror. I quickly undress. But I stop before stepping in because the tub--finally clean after lots of bleach--remains the spot where he took his life. His memories sucker punch my brother and me at every turn: the pen marks on the wall where he measured our height; the king-sized bed where he would flip us while watching the news; the stove where he cooked empanadas for our birthdays. We can't exactly just escape these things by moving into a different, bigger apartment. No, we're stuck here in this place where we have to shake mouse shit out of our shoes and inspect our glasses of soda before drinking in case roaches dived in while our backs were turned.    Our hot water doesn't run hot for very long so I jump in before I miss my chance.    I rest my head against the wall, the water sliding through my hair and down my back, and I think about all the memories I would want Leteo to bury. They all have to do with living in a post-Dad world. I flip over my wrist and stare at my scar. I can't believe I was once that guy who carved a smile into his wrist because he couldn't find happiness, that guy who thought he would find it in death. No matter what drove my dad to kill himself--his tough upbringing in a home with eight older brothers, or his job at the infamous post office up the block, or any one of a million reasons--I have to push ahead with the people who don't take the easy way out, who love me enough to stay alive even when life sucks.    I trace the smiling scar, left to right and right to left, happy to have it as a reminder not to be such a dumbass again. Excerpted from More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Publishers Weekly Review

Aaron Soto, 16, lives in the projects in a Bronx similar to the real one except for the existence of the Leteo Institute, a neighborhood facility where patients can have painful memories erased (the most fantastical element of this procedure perhaps being that it is covered by Aaron's insurance). If anyone deserves to have his past wiped clean, it's Aaron, who has experienced poverty, his father's suicide, and the violent death of friends in his short life. But what Aaron wants most to forget is that he's gay, especially because the boy he loves is no longer able to be with him, and because his own inability to fly under the radar has made him a target. Silvera's debut is vividly written and intricately plotted: a well-executed twist will cause readers to reassess what they thought they knew about Aaron's life. It's also beyond gritty-parts of it are actually hard to read. Silvera pulls no punches in this portrait of a boy struggling with who he is in the face of immense cultural and societal pressure to be somebody else. Ages 14-up. Agent: Brooks Sherman, Bent Agency. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Debut author Silvera pulls readers into the gritty, (near-future) Bronx world of 16-year-old Puerto Rican, Aaron Soto, with a milieu of tight-knit, sometimes dysfunctional relationships. Aaron struggles to find happiness despite the presence of his mother, older brother, and girlfriend, as well as a set of childhood buddies and a new, intriguing friend, Thomas. He is haunted by painful physical and emotional scars: the memory of his father's suicide in their home, his own similar failed attempt with its resulting smiley face scar, not to mention his family's poverty and his personal angst at an increasingly strong attraction for Thomas. This first-person narrative raises ethical, societal, and personal questions about happiness, the ability to choose to eradicate difficult memories (through a scientific procedure), and gender identity. The protagonist is as honest with readers as he is able to be, and it is only after Aaron is brutally beaten by friends attempting to set him "straight," that he remembers the entirety of his life story through shocking, snapshotlike revelations. More surprising is the knowledge that his family and girlfriend have known his backstory all along. VERDICT A gripping read-Silvera skillfully weaves together many divergent young adult themes within an engrossing, intense narrative.-Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, IL © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* A smiling scar marks the inside of 16-year-old Aaron Soto's wrist, both a souvenir of the time he tried to follow in his father's footsteps by checking out of life early and a reminder not to be such a dumbass again. Though his mom has become overprotective and the suicide attempt shambles beside him like an elephant into every room, Aaron is making a comeback, in no small part due to his group of friends and awesome girlfriend, Genevieve. When Gen takes a three-week summer trip, however, Aaron meets Thomas, from the neighboring housing project, and things start to unravel. Sensitive, attractive, and looking for direction, Thomas is unlike any of Aaron's tough-as-nails friends, and the two connect on a deep level. Aaron grapples with burgeoning feelings of homosexuality, which, heartbreakingly, are not reciprocated by the straight Thomas and are bone-shatteringly rejected by his friends, who try to beat being gay out of him. Emotionally and physically broken, Aaron turns to the nearby Leteo Institute, which offers a procedure to erase painful memories. If he can just forget he's gay, everything will be OK, right? First-novelist Silvera puts a fresh spin on what begins as a fairly standard, if well executed, story of a teen experiencing firsts first love, first sex, first loss and struggling with his identity and sexuality. Aaron's first-person narration is charmingly candid as he navigates these milestones and insecurities, making him both relatable and endearing. The book is flush with personal details, and the reader inhabits Aaron's world with ease. A fantasy and comic-book geek to the core, he often filters his own life through a comic lens threatening to Hulk out if someone spoils the end of a movie and wondering what Batman would do in certain situations. Game of Thrones references mingle with veiled Harry Potter allusions (Scorpius Hawthorne and the Convict of Abbadon, anyone?), which many teens will relish. Though some scenes verge on twee and dialogue occasionally strays into precociously-witty-teen territory, it never stays there long, nor does it become self-indulgent. These tender and philosophical moments stand in counterpoint to life in the tough Bronx neighborhood Aaron calls home. There is a borderline gang mentality at work here, where fierce neighborhood loyalty mingles with groupthink to create friends who are as likely to defend as pummel each other, if the code of conduct is challenged. And being a dude-liker is an offense punishable by extreme violence. This prejudice is illustrated with gut-wrenching brutality, and its effects are scarring, but Silvera tempers it with the genuine love and acceptance Aaron receives from a few important friends and family members. Dividing his book into parts by degree of happiness (Happiness, A Different Happiness, Unhappiness, Less Happy Than Before, More Happy Than Not), Silvera examines this state of being from multiple angles to reveal its complexity and dependency on outside forces and internal motive. Is being happy for the wrong reasons real happiness? Can forgetting problems or trauma actually fix your life? The ingenious use of the Leteo procedure allows Silvera to write two versions of Aaron (gay and straight), which proves a fascinating means of drawing attention to the flaw in taking shortcuts past life's major roadblocks. The process of reinvention hinges on memory, on surviving and understanding the sometimes unbearable why of being and that's what Aaron initially misses. Timing is everything in this story, and Silvera structures his novel beautifully, utilizing careful revelations from Aaron's past and consciousness to create plot tension and twists that turn the narrative on its ear. It is not a story of happy endings, but this complexity allows it to move in new, brave directions that are immeasurably more satisfying. Resting somewhere between Ned Vizzini's A Kind of Funny Story (2006) and John Corey Whaley's Noggin (2014), More Happy Than Not will resonate with teens tackling life's big questions. Thought-provoking and imaginative, Silvera's voice is a welcome addition to the YA scene.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2010 Booklist

Horn Book Review

Aaron Soto would love to forget many things: his father's suicide, his burgeoning but unrequited feelings for new friend Thomas, the casual violence he faces on a regular basis. With cutting-edge Leteo technology, he can. Speculative twists to an otherwise realistic coming-out story add allegorical undertones and narrative unreliability to this meditation on identity, memory, class, and consequences. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Book Review

In a Bronx neighborhood of the near future, it's no secret that at least one person has taken advantage of the Leteo Institute's new medical procedure that promises "cutting-edge memory-relief." Reeling from his discovery of his father in a blood-filled bathtub, there are lots of things that Aaron Soto would like to forgetthe smile-shaped scar on his own wrist attests to that. Puerto Rican Aaron meets a boy named Thomas from a neighboring (and sometimes rival) project who shares his love of comic books and fantasy fiction. The two develop a friendship that makes Aaron wonder if he's a "dude-liker," leading to a breakup with his girlfriend. When Thomas doesn't reciprocate, Aaron considers the Leteo procedure for himself. This novel places a straightforward conceptwhat if you could erase unwanted memories?squarely within an honest depiction of the pains of navigating the teen years and upends all expectations for a plot resolution. Debut author Silvera has an ear for dialogue and authentic voices. He scatters references to his characters' various ethnicities in an unforced mannerof a midnight showing of a movie based on their favorite fantasy series, Thomas says "I was the only brown Scorpius Hawthorne." Thomas is the foil to Aaron's conviction that there's an easy way out in a multifaceted look at some of the more unsettling aspects of human relationships. A brilliantly conceived page-turner. (Speculative fiction. 13-17) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.