Aaron’s family lives in the Bronx, struggling every day to get by after his father’s suicide. But Aaron has his friends. He has his girlfriend. His life isn’t really that bad. Not bad enough that he’d ever be interested in the Leteo Institute’s memory-wipe procedure… right? No, Aaron is perfectly fine. While he’s a little bummed that his girlfriend is going out of town for a few weeks, he perks up when he and the new kid, Thomas, start hanging out.
Aaron and Thomas quickly become best friends. So quickly that one might say it’s unrealistic, but sometimes you meet someone you just click with. Sometimes you meet someone who you feel like you’ve known your entire life. And sometimes, if y0u’re Aaron, you start developing a little crush on that person, and it makes you question everything you thought was true.
I had really high expectations for this book, mostly because literally everybody I know (or follow or casually scroll past on Goodreads) has given it either four or five stars. So while this book was fine – or maybe even better than fine – it wasn’t great, and I expected greatness.
For starters, the beginning is slow. It took me a very long time to get interested in Aaron’s life. Somehow I missed the whole sci-fi aspect of the plot when I read the summary. I really did not expect the memory-wipe thing. But, I mean, shouldn’t sci-fi be one of the listed genres? I don’t know, I guess I was expecting a contemporary LGBT romance and ended up with this kind of weird futuristic memory-wipe plot, and that threw me off.
But here’s the thing: Silvera’s writing is beautiful. It was never stilted or awkward or uneven. Nothing was thrown in for shock value. There wasn’t a single line that felt unrealistic. Once I started getting into the story, I was inside Aaron’s head. I was feeling what he felt. And what he feels is actually heartbreaking. It’s very rare that I actually cry while reading a book, but this one had me in tears. I just wanted to pull Aaron away from everything terrible in his life and keep him safe.
Even though I didn’t love this book, I would still recommend it to just about anybody. (And, you know what? It wasn’t written for me, a 26-year-old heterosexual female, anyway.)
It touches on important topics such as depression, suicide, bullying, and homophobia. I can’t believe the skill of debut authors these days! Silvera did more in his debut than some authors do over their entire career, and that is something to be proud of.
Final rating: ★★★☆☆