In order to celebrate #OwnVoicesOctober I’m reposting my review.
But what is OwnVoicesOctober? It is a month-long readathon (tip: it’s starts in October) hosted by Katie over at Katie Loves to Read and Mel over at BooksWithWings. The aim of this readathon is to read as many own voices books as you can. But first and foremost: what is own voices literature? It comes from an author who is part of a minority and his/hers main character is also part of that minority.
By reading own voices literature you not only expand your horizons and gain knowledge but most importantly you support the author and give a clear signal that these books are important and should be read and talked about on a larger scale.
If you want to learn more about #OwnVoicesOctober you can find more info here:
On social media use hashtag #OwnVoicesOctober
Strict labelling is harmful to both the story and the author who wrote it.
‘Children’s books ought to be read by children! You are way over 18, why you still read YA? This book is for women/men/bald people/extraterrestrial goldfish – you should not read them!’ Sounds familiar? We like our labelling, don’t we?
When it comes to books it is the story that counts the most (at least I like to think it does). It’s all about finding a book that’s right for you at the perfect moment in your life. One that quite unexpectedly finds its way into your life to stay with you forever.
Good story is ageless, genderless and should not be labelled. Can be read and valued by everyone and anyone. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera is one of those stories.
Good review should start with a short author bio (it’s an unwritten rule of this blog) so there you have it:
Adam Silvera is a 26 year old YA author born and raised in New York. He also is a die – hard Harry Potter fan. That’s pretty much all you need to know about him. And if that isn’t enough for you to like him already, I’ll give you 5 seconds to reconsider.
Now onto the actual review.
More Happy Than Not centres around Aaron Soto – a 16 year old boy who wishes to undergo a memory – altering procedure when he realises he’s gay. He also deals This is how much I can tell you about the plot without spoiling it.
So why would I want to read it, you may ask. What makes this story exceptional?
In all honesty I don’t read much YA (for no specific reason) therefore I wouldn’t have read it if my sister hadn’t bought it. I also must admit that I had very vague idea about the story having heard about it here and there over the last couple of months. But as soon as I started reading I new that MHTN isn’t just another roll-your-eyes YA contemporary.
First of all – reliable and likeable characters. Aaron sounds and acts like a 16 year old. There’s no over the top philosophical phrases and pomposity there – something I do very much appreciate. I also couldn’t help but sympathise with Aaron and found myself somewhat connected with his character.
What’s most important in this book though, is the message that it carries. It raises the question about identity. What is one willing to do to change it. Even if it is at the expense of one’s happiness. Just to build a false notion of belonging to the community. Part of Aaron’s journey of discovering his sexuality is facing crude reality of the world he lives in. One fuelled by hatred and irrational fear.
No one should ever feel the desperate need to change who he/she is, just like Aaron does. Just to fit into the ‘norms’ of society.
Aaron’s story makes you question – Would I do it? Would I be ready to change one of the crucial parts of myself, be it gender, race, skin colour? And for what reasons?
Aaron Soto is a fictional character. But is he really? His self – discovery journey can surely be relatable. There are houndreds of thousands Arrons out there – young kids feeling insecure about what others might think of them, about their acceptance. No one should feel this way. ‘Happiness shouldn’t be this hard’
This is where the beauty of this book is -universality. It can be more or less about you. It doesn’t matter if you are a 16 year old Latino kid from Bronx or 24 year old white woman from Europe.
I can go on and on about why you should read it and I hope I did my very best to convince you to do so. If you look for a coming of age story that will send you on an emotional roller coaster, this is the story for you. Seriously. Go read it. Thank you.
Disclaimer: I’m so incredibly happy I can read English as MHTN is another case of not-published-in-Poland-and-I-wouldn’t-expect-that-to-change-anytime-soon.