More Happy Than Not

More Happy Than Not

by Adam Silvera


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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 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616956776
Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 04/26/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 27,465
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Adam Silvera was born and raised in the Bronx. He has worked as a bookseller, as a consultant at a literary development company, as a reviewer of children’s and young adult novels. His highly acclaimed debut novel, More Happy Than Not, was followed by History Is All You Left Me and the New York Times bestsellers They Both Die at the End and Infinity Son. He lives in Los Angeles and is tall for no reason.

Read an Excerpt

It turns out the Leteo procedure isn’t bullshit.

Excerpted from "More Happy Than Not"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Adam Silvera.
Excerpted by permission of Soho Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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More Happy Than Not 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars.  MORE HAPPY THAN NOT ripped my heart out, threw it on hot asphalt, watched it melt, then stomped one or two more times for good measure. Yeah. It's THAT good. Despite the synopsis, it is NOT all about Leteo or a memory-altering procedure. The book, in fact, begins with summer days in the Bronx, where our MC Aaron Soto lives in low-income housing with his mom who works two jobs, his brother who pretty much ignores him, and some major issues: Aaron’s father committed suicide a few months ago, and Aaron himself attempted suicide after that. Basically, Aaron has had a terrible year.  Adam Silvera writes Aaron with both a wide-eyed idealism and self-knowledge about what he could be, as well as the world-weariness of someone who has seen too many of his friends and community get hurt or killed. There is danger in this neighbourhood, and it’s gritty and real. Aaron’s friends are dudes who like intense games of amped-up hide-and-seek or handball that include a lot of violence and pummelling. This isn’t a good neighbourhood.  But despite that, there are bright moments, whether Aaron is discovering new dollar comics, or having Trade Dates with his girlfriend Genevieve. He’s a guy who loves sci-fi and fantasy, spends his time drawing comics, and really wants to be happy. The funny moments and banter saved this book from being too dark, and at every page-turn, I just wanted to hug Aaron more. Because this is a guy who is trying so hard just to be himself, who wants so much more than the life he’s given, but who is in real danger of not being able to get it because of the terrifying threats around him. And I do mean terrifying. Throughout the book, we discover that Aaron is literally fighting for his life, for an existence that is more happy than not. And he deserves it, but the torture that he goes through in order to try to get it – so many times, he questions whether it’s worth it, and to be honest, I did, too . I got why Aaron did the things he did to try to be happy, and the pain and suffering that he feels…I think this is the first time I’ve read a book that includes bullying that I’ve had a visceral reaction to.  Even though I guessed at a few of the twists and turns that Silvera put in, the back third of the novel had me completely floored. There are no cheap tricks to this book – every twist is a well-earned sucker punch to your feels.  There were moments when I actually didn’t think I’d get through this book because it was so brutal. But it was also incredibly honest. MORE HAPPY THAN NOT broke my heart with Aaron’s journey, and I’m pretty sure this is going to be one of my most emotional reads of the year . Bonuses:  Form Follows Function: The structure of MHTN is really cool, with little episodes serving as moments, almost like snapshots (or, dare I say it, memories) that are tied together to create each chapter. I don’t want to give too much away, but the form works incredibly well to show the Aaron’s state of mind and…I can’t say anything else. Just know that it’s really really cool. The Final Word:  MORE HAPPY THAN NOT is kind of book where you walk in expecting something and then nothing turns out quite as you expected. Even though I knew that it was going to deal with memory, with a boy dealing with his homosexuality, and yes, with major class issues, I didn’t expect how real and raw and poignant this would be . Put this unexpectedly emotional and deeply realistic book at the top of Mount TBR – I guarantee that this is one you're going to be talking about and foisting on others for a long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dark for a YA novel, has a few surprising twists as well. Worth the read.
JLeighG 21 days ago
More Happy Than Not took me through a loop of emotions that I was not expecting. I loved the concept of finding your own happiness. I also enjoyed the fact that your past defines your future concepts this book tackles. Though I didn’t care too much about Aaron, I can see that his struggles are definitely from a place of fear. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have liked this book if Aaron was different. I love the relationships in this book, but I didn’t like the nonchalant suicide talk that happens during the first half of the book. If suicide is a trigger for you, I don’t suggest reading this book, but if you do, please practice self-care. All in all, More Happy Than Not is a deep book focused on happiness and the way it’s developed throughout the book is amazing.
Scarls17 More than 1 year ago
Maybe a 3.5 for me, but I still would highly recommend this book! The poignancy of a lot of moments that still weren't over written. Things were subtle and I liked that. I honestly think what got me was the structure because I ultimately wanted more time dedicated to different parts. But I would definitely recommend this and I really liked how *real* a lot of moments were without being graphic or gratuitous.
Chancie More than 1 year ago
Very well written with a well planned story, but I didn't get wrapped up in it, and that's because I know I am not the main targeted audience for this story. It's a great novel though, and if you're interested, I recommend it.
juicedbooks More than 1 year ago
The story opens with Aaron Soto, a high school kid with his first girlfriend, coming into his own in a diverse neighborhood that's not very well off. This kind of story is one that I'd like to see more of from the young adult genre - one that talks about young children of color as they try to make it through the maze of this world - because they so often get ignored. Adam Silvera, as a Bronx native, tells this story honestly and realistically, and as a reader you trust in his depictions of Aaron's thoughts, fears, and hopes. In fact, Aaron's fears are hopes are the centerpiece of the plot. As he debates taking advantage of a service that could erase his bad memories we're forced to consider what parts of us we'd like to erase, and if our fears about ourselves are truly so horrible. While this part of the plot sounds grossly unrealistic, it's woven into Aaron's life so seamlessly that you'll forget its sci-fi roots.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read it couldn't put down! I think everyone whether gay or straight can relate to Aaron's pain. I really enjoyed reading this book and recommend it to anyone who would like to forget their pain.
18876111 More than 1 year ago
[book:More Happy Than Not|26236898] is dark but in a way that really makes you think about things. [book:More Happy Than Not|26236898] deals with tough topics such as suicide, depression, and homophobia. This book pulled at my heartstrings. I really loved the themes of family, friendship, and coming to terms with who you are. I also found [book:More Happy Than Not|26236898] to be real and authentic, and I really loved that. I definitely recommend this if you are looking for a book with authentic, relatable characters.
sheltisebastian More than 1 year ago
To read some one these negative reviews just tells me how unemotional, and uncaring people truly are. This was a magnificent book. Unforgettable. I felt like my heart was ripped out and yes thrown out the window. Amazing!
blamethebooks More than 1 year ago
I LOVED More Happy Than Not. I am not typically a fan of contemporary, but the sci-fi twist to this novel really drew me in. More Happy Than Not tells the story of Aaron, a New York City teen who is gay, and living in a community where he knows that he will not be accepted the way he is. Enter the Leteo Institute, a company that promises to erase painful memories so people can move forward. Aaron has led a hard life, and survived multiple traumatic experiences, and he therefore decides that if he can just forget that he is gay, life would be so much easier. Let's talk about the plot twist in this book for a moment. HOLY. COW. It was like a plot twist within a plot twist and it totally threw me for a loop. From about the halfway point of the book straight through to the end, I didn't stop crying. I was just a big puddle of tears. AND THEN THE ENDING. What are you trying to do to me, Adam? I thought we were friends? Why'd you have to go breaking my heart like that? The ending was beautifully written, but it tore my heart to pieces and I am still recovering. I think it is going to be a while before I am ready to pick up another cry-worthy book - I'm still too vulnerable right now. What a poignant message this book sends. It takes the notion that being gay is a thing that can be "cured" and throws it right back in our faces in such a beautiful way. It shows us that no matter what you do, you are who you are, and that's ok. This book brings LGBTQ issues to light in particular, but I can see this message affecting people in all different walks of life; those suffering with depression, mental health issues, disabilities of any kind - to a certain degree, everyone has felt at some point that everything would be better if only this was different, or that could be fixed. More Happy Than Not shows us that there is always something to smile about and someone who loves us just the way we are.
KittyTheVicariousBookworm More than 1 year ago
More Happy Than Not takes us through so many relatable situations that I'm not sure where to begin. I was honestly a little disappointed with the first few chapters of this. It started off pretty slow and the main character, Aaron, lacked a lot of depth. I didn't feel like I really knew much about him at all. Then the world shifted on its axis and I found myself able to relate to Aaron on levels I never realized existed for me before. In ways I'm not quite entirely ready to discuss publicly. Especially since my mother occasionally pops into my blog. My heart broke over and over again as Aaron was dealt one blow after another. The world is described just enough that I was able to enter it, giving just enough details for a partial immersion. Where this novel really shines is the characters, who come off the page in a way that makes them seem so real. It's almost as though Silvera painted them onto the page one layer at a time. I finished most of this book in a single day. I would have finished the whole thing in a day were it not for the interference of real life (Boo!). I found myself relating to Aaron and his story in ways I wasn't ready for. There are a few other twists and turns that I didn't see coming that make the story so tragically beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading a good deal more from Adam Silvera. For this review and more, please visit my blog at
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
It’s not a happy book while you’re reading it but once it’s over, I was happy. I was happy because it was final, the decision had been made, it seemed definite and the words spoken by Thomas which spoke the title of this novel seemed liked the icing on the cake and that is what I was looking for in this novel. I thought Aaron had his street paved in this novel, I thought he knew where he was headed but then doubt started to enter his head and it kept speaking louder and louder and then confusion entered. The minute he got confused, it was all over. He was a mess. This novel was an open book, it told the honest truth about what it feels like to be there, to have to deal with hard issues and the aftermath of the decisions that you made. Thomas wanted Aaron to help him figure out who he was but who was Aaron? Who is going to help Aaron figure out who he was? There were moments inside this novel, great moments that I cheered! There were moments that I cringed, that I wanted to crawl inside the pages and encourage the characters to hold on. I loved the idea of the Reverse Trade Dates, what a fun and unique idea. I wasn’t sure where the Leteo Institute was going to come into play during this novel but as the novel continued and Aaron tried to hold onto Thomas, it played an important role. A tough decision to make but it was a decision that Aaron chose. What an emotional ending, not the one that I had planned nor wanted and when I think about Aaron and his future, I have my shake my head. I really enjoyed this novel, it’s a keeper.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it so much more than I thought I would!!
Caitie_F More than 1 year ago
How is this a debut? This book is written so well and with such depth, heart, and beauty, that it is hard to believe this is Silvera's first published book. This is one of those books that I read all at once because I had to find out what happened to these characters and when I was done, I had to tell everyone I knew to read it. I cried multiple times while reading it. Aaron is a character I won't forget anytime soon.
sdanielw More than 1 year ago
4.5/5 I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about the lack of YA (and even adult) SFF that really centers on its premise. I wish I had thought of this book as a counterexample, because I was actually really impressed with the Sci-Fi elements. Now, to avoid false advertising, this is not a book with extensive Sci-Fi elements. You're not going to see extensive explanations about how the memory wipe procedure works, nor has New York or human society been greatly changed. Rather, Adam Silvera succeeds with this book because he takes a small change (the invention of a technique that wipes memories) and uses it to explore a major social issue (homophobia). This is one of those books I can point to when I make my argument that Sci-Fi is the natural genre for social criticism. I promise you a high school classroom could learn as much from this book than any of the WASP-male-realistic fiction restricted canon. Also, look at that cover. It's awesome.
NeverendingTBRlist More than 1 year ago
More Happy Than Not is one of those heart breaking books that you feel exhausted after reading the last page, but you can't help but tell all your friends about how much you loved the story. Aaron lives in the Bronx in a not so far off future where a program is designed to help people repress unwanted memories. Aaron's still recovering from his father's suicide. When his girlfriend goes out of town for an art camp, Aaron meets Thomas. The two form a tight friendship, and as the story goes on, Aaron realizes his feelings for Thomas are more than just friendship. This is one of those books that sucks you in from the first page and holds your undivided attention until the last page. Adam Silvera creates so many believable characters that you forget you're reading about a fictional group of teenagers. Readers feel Aaron's pain, and celebrate his moments of happiness and achievement.
Katie_breathofbooks More than 1 year ago
I flew through this book in less than a day, and I loved it so much. It was so emotionally resonant, and I'm not going to forget it any time soon (I realize that this is a rather ironic statement to make, considering the subject matter of the book). This book was not a particularly happy read, since it was pretty dark and gritty throughout. POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD I feel for Aaron Soto so much. He doesn't have it easy, and when you discover some things that I don't want to spoil, you'll realize that things for him are even more difficult than you thought they were. First of all, Aaron's dad killed himself, and shortly after that, Aaron tried unsuccessfully to kill himself too. Aaron lives in a small apartment in the Bronx with his mother and brother. They are from a lower socioeconomic background, so they have to live in a neighborhood that is riddled with violence. His friends are mainly his kind-of friends, and they are people who probably wouldn't want to be friends with him anymore if they knew the thing about him that even Aaron doesn't know at first. Then Aaron becomes friends with Thomas. He is a great friend for Aaron, and they form a true deep bond. Unlike the rest of Aaron's "friends," Thomas doesn't like to get involved in street fights. He is softer and more sensitive. They talk to each other about real things, and they do fun things together, like watching movies on a rooftop. During this friendship, Aaron becomes confused, because he begins to feel an attraction to Thomas, but he thought he was straight. He thinks Thomas could be gay, and he really likes him, so he wants to make their friendship become more. I won't spoil what ends up happening with this. At the beginning of this book, Aaron is in a relationship with a girl named Genevieve. I really feel bad for Genevieve, for reasons I don't want to say because I don't want to spoil. I think she is a good person for Aaron to have in his life. I think some of the things about their relationship, like how she had to ask him out, and then they had to "break up" so that he could be the one to ask her out. I really like Genevieve and her supportive presence, and how she's been there with Aaron through everything. If you like YA emotional contemporary, read this book.
terferj More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars I thought this was a good book and I can see why everyone loves it. For me though, I’m all about pacing and this book was so slowly paced. Not only that I was confused as to why certain things were happening but then slowly I saw where the author going. I really loved it starting half through. That’s when the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind feel comes to play. Aaron was outstandingly written; from his discovery of himself, the things he went through, and what was happening to him near the end. I wished of a more happy ending for him but I thought it ended satisfactory.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CJListro More than 1 year ago
Read more: in short If you're looking for a contemporary with some bite and grit, a contemporary that will actually surprise you, then why haven't you bought this book yet!? Silvera's debut is darkly funny, poignant story of Aaron Soto, a boy who would do anything to forget. Sure, he has a "bombass" girlfriend, but he also tried to follow his father into the suicide club. Enter Thomas, a chill guy and self-proclaimed quitter. Their friendship rocks Aaron's little Bronx neighborhood in ways that he never anticipated. Aaron's feelings aren't welcome there, and the boy who made him remember how to live may be the one person he needs to forget. If the ending doesn't kill you, you have no soul. It's a growing up story with a near-future twist, written in a rough, witty prose that made up for some of the kinks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was truly amazing. Must note though: this is not a happy story, nor does it have the perfect ending, but thats what makes this book so powerful and beautiful at the same time.The feels throughout this book were incredible, and i loved the message that even though bad things happen in life that we may want to forget, they make us who we are as a person and play a role with the type of person we hope to become. Only major issue i have with this book is the characters besides Thomas. I felt like there was not very much to them overall, and would have liked to see they're part is Aaron story. Definitely will say this is one of my top books of 2015, and maybe of all time. Total must read for sure. Looking forward to reading more from Adam Silvera in the future =)
KDH_Reviews More than 1 year ago
This book was incredible.
AvaJae More than 1 year ago
So I’d heard a ton about this book and did that thing I don’t do very often and pre-ordered a book from an author I hadn’t read before. And while MORE HAPPY THAN NOT wasn’t quite what I was expecting, I definitely didn’t regret it. It’s kind of hard to write about this one without spoiling anything, but I do have several thoughts: Firstly, the intersectionality in this book was so great to see. I loved reading a protagonist who is Latino but not necessarily Spanish-fluent (which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but as a Latina but not exactly Spanish-fluent person myself, it was very nice to see we exist), and I realized while reading this is one of the few YA books I’ve seen with characters from a lower socioeconomic background. Secondly, this book broke my heart so many times. Emotions go all over the place with this one, with big highs and really sad lows, and I absolutely loved the twist. Aaron and many of the other characters are complicated, layered characters who felt completely real, and they were a treat to read. I will say that the pacing in the first third of the book or so was a little slower than my liking, and for a while I wasn’t really sure where the plot was going (and when I did think I knew where the plot was going, I was so wrong which was great). But as things began coming together, the whole story wove together really nicely and I definitely enjoyed it. MORE HAPPY THAN NOT will bring on the feels and really make you connect with the characters. This book was a delight to read and I definitely recommend it to those looking for something different, gritty, and honest. I’m giving 4/5 stars to this wonderful YA and I can’t wait to read Silvera’s next book! Diversity note: The protagonist is Latino, gay, and like many of the characters, from a lower socioeconomic background. Other major characters were also PoC, including the main love interest, and the protagonist also suffers from depression.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow. Just wow. What an unexpected modern drama.