cover image More Happy Than Not

More Happy Than Not

Adam Silvera. Soho Teen, $18.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-61695-560-1

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)