Why is it so hard to talk about the books that mean the most to you?
I had my eye on MORE HAPPY THAN NOT for a long time before it came out. I entered several contests for ARCs of it, and didn’t win any, so I had to wait like everyone else for it. And then, I ordered a signed copy from Books of Wonder in New York because I decided I was going to start trying to get signed copies of things. No one ever comes to Kansas City.
So, it took me a while to get MORE HAPPY THAN NOT, and then I had to wait a few days to make sure I would have time to dig in to it. I knew that it would prove distracting if I had to split it up over too many sittings, and that work would be impossible.
There are plenty of glowing reviews for MORE HAPPY THAN NOT, and they talk about it far more eloquently than I can. This book is so close to my heart, I’m having trouble articulating more than that I LOVED IT.
Okay, there actually is more that I want to articulate, but it’s kind of a spoiler, so you’ve been warned.
What got me right in the gut about MORE HAPPY THAN NOT wasn’t the Aaron’s struggle with his sexual orientation. It wasn’t the gay-bashing he got at the hands of his supposed friends. It wasn’t even the heartbreak at the end.
What I responded to most strongly was the heartbreak when Aaron finally realized that he was wrong, and that Thomas wasn’t gay. And Thomas’s sweet response to Aaron:
“If I’m being one hundred percent honest, I think our friendship even confused me a little, but I’m also one hundred percent sure that I’m still straight because I would’ve been chasing after you if I wasn’t.”
Aaron’s not the first gay guy to fall in love with a straight boy, but what made this situation worse—much worse—was the hope that Thomas wasn’t actually straight. And it wasn’t even wishful thinking; it was just drawing the wrong conclusion from the available evidence. And I think nearly every gay man has had that experience.
There’s one other thing I want to say about MORE HAPPY THAN NOT.
I think it’s the only book I’ve ever read that actually depicted two boys having sex. It wasn’t explicit or anything, but it came out and said it: Aaron and Collin had sex. And it was so refreshing to see that it wasn’t treated as any different than when straight characters have sex in YA novels.
I absolutely adored MORE HAPPY THAN NOT, and I know I’m going to read it again and again. Author Adam Silvera has mentioned that he might one day return to Aaron’s story. I hope he does.
I’m not quite ready to say goodbye yet.