Harrison Healy is a seventeen-year-old boy with a side of depression. Not a seventeen-year-old boy with depression. With his parents dead, his sister gone and a best friend who committed suicide from an overwhelming flood of sadness – he’s doing okay. Now, he’s just stuck with two people who can’t stand the sight of him and five friends who try to make his life a little better.
While stumping through his every day average-depressed-gay-kid-teen-life in his final senior year, he discovers EVAN, a bright-eyed, bright smiled senior who is trapped in the world around him.
Over the course of his final school year, Harry experiences his first love, his first kiss; he finds the stars, loses his mind, very nearly loses himself along the way. He finds out horrific news, he sees what can’t be unseen and he is faced with the challenge of trying to find a way to be okay.
Harrison deals with the loss of everyone he has loved. As he tries to get out of his head and into the real world, he attempts to participate in life instead of watching it fly by.
I received a eARC of the book Via Pen Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
It’s 2 AM in the middle of night. I have just completed this book and I am sobbing my heart out – and not those silent sobs – but great heaving sobs that woke up my entire house. After my folks spent about 10 minutes trying to get me to stop crying (or at least trying to get me to tell them WHY I am sobbing my eyes out!) – let me tell what the RIGHT ANSWER is not – pointing to my iPad and sobbing “this book broke my heart. Please save my heart!” again and again.
Update: It is Sunday and I am being punished for worrying my folks by keeping away from my iPad and my books – NOT COOL!
“I am tired of losing myself in a book. I want to lose myself in a person, in my own life, even. I just want to lose myself and live. Do you ever feel like that? That you just want to find a person and lose yourself with them?”
The reason I was attracted to this book was honestly not the cover (though it is absolutely brilliant!) – but the fact that it was touted as the “The Fault in Our Stars for LGBT”. Now, I haven’t been a fan of John Green’s writing (the man himself is adorably brilliant) and his books are not my favourite. To be very honest, I didn’t even finish Paper Towns and I loved TFIOS: The Movie better than I liked the book – so I honestly went into this book not expecting much! (Yes, I know I shouldn’t judge a book by their cover or description, but even if you think you don’t – you are lying!).
The story starts off slow and is told in Harry’s POV – a POV that is honest to God, so blunt and matter of fact, that for the first few pages, I actually had to read each paragraph twice – because I couldn’t believe that any character could be that emotionless towards his own pain and suffering. It took me a while to get used to the way the story is being told, but boy when I do – it is heartbreaking and I kept berating myself as to how could I even think that Harry is emotionless.
“I still want you. I want all of you, but there’s nothing left for me to even have, because you’re not mine to want.”
As I went further into the story, I realised how absolutely brilliant the author actually is! She took Harry from a boy who kept everything he felt behind a wall of silence to a boy who understood that pain, love, and all those feelings are so critical to actually living a life. She took a boy who had everything taken from him, and gave him a reason to smile – while the laughter may not have lasted for long, but he did understood how beautiful life is for those few moments and how worth the love and laughter is for all the pain it gives us.
The author has done an absolutely brilliant job of characterizations of both Harry and Evan along with the relationship these two shared. While most of you might know that I really do not like single POV – I need at least a dual POV to actually feel the closure a book should give me – but for the first time, it so happened that I was okay with the single POV, in fact I was infinitely grateful that this wasn’t a dual POV – I don’t think my heart could have handled that much heartbreak!
“You gave me so much Harry, the world, the stars, you gave me everything and more and I couldn’t have asked for a better person to give all of me too. You showed me how to love, you showed me how to live, and most importantly you showed me how to be me. I was so, so lost before I found you.”
Comparing this book to TFIOS is sacrilegious, to me at least (No offense to John Green fans!) – This book is so much more, the emotions literally leap out of the pages (even in an eBook) that it literally became hard to cope with real life – because let’s be honest, we will never feel as strongly about anything in our real lives, as much as we feel for these wonderful fictional characters.
While the only thing I would change would be the level of involvement Harry’s friends had in life – despite being his only friends till date – it still didn’t detract from the book. This book honestly was perfect – but what would make the experience of this book all the more beautiful – a signed book [yes, that is a total hint for the author ;)] – but to be very honest, getting a signed copy of this book just became one of my “booknerd goals”.
Maybe one day, the author will revisit Harry and Evan. Maybe one day I’ll know that the hope of love, the dream of love was achieved by these wonderful characters. Maybe one day I’ll get to sit down with the author, hug her tight and have hours long discussion on what happened, why it happened and what will happen.
Till then, I’ll Wait.
“It’s okay that I might not be your favorite chapter in your book, but I hope that sometimes, maybe you’ll smile when you flip back to the pages I was a part of. I know that I will.”
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
This is an unequivocal recommendation – read it! But if you still need reasons (even after my awesome review!), if you are a John Green Fan, you will absolutely love this book – and it’s promise that you can take me to court for!