Total Recall meets Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Genre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT
No. of pages: 293
In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-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?
The story itself was great, and the way the plot unfolded – expert! However the narration felt cumbersome. Sometimes the material was a little in your face, but if fits with the setting of More Happy Than Not: future Brooklyn is rough and still has a deep-seated old timey sense of morality, making it detrimental to your wellbeing if you stray from the norm. That clashed a little with the youngsters casual attitude towards sex, but not sexuality… for a technological developed society all of these aspects did not gel together well for me.
Aaron Soto is wonderfully cute, altruistic and naïve. He has this purity of spirit whereby he navigated the world with a moral compass, somehow always guiding him to ‘true north.’ Like any journey, there are obstacles to overcome, and even those are unique in this story. I did get plenty of small surprises, but guessed the plot well in advance.
Thomas was adorable, and surprisingly non-pressuring for his age. It was refreshing to have a cast painted so realistically where you could find aspects to like and dislike for all. It really enhances the reading experience.
More Happy Than Not makes a quaint point in the face of self-acceptance. It reminds me of the day of reprogramming camps for gay and lesbians, except approached with a sci-fi angle. Such a wonderfully unique storytelling device.
Pacing felt a little slow, scattered with seeming inconsequential facts and side notes. In hindsight, a re-read would illuminate their presence, but from my initial experience, the writing style felt clunky and frequently meandering.
I’d recommend this to glbt and sci-fi fans alike. It’s an interesting novel apart from your typical futuristic or dystopian type of novel.
Overall feeling: so-so. Cool, but no swagger.
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