When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course. To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart. If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.
I liked Adam Silvera’s first book, but this is truly an exceptional work of literature. The exploration of first love, friendships, family, and grief are heartbreakingly written. The novel is broken up into two time periods: the first being the story of Griffon and Theo’s relationship from beginning to its end and the second about Griffin trying to process his grief over Theo’s unexpected and sudden death.
Plagued by compulsions and ticks, Griffin’s grip on sanity loosens when he learns about Theo’s death. Unable to control himself, he slips into a downward spiral and makes some unexpected and not necessarily always healthy life choices. His decision to follow Jackson back to California is both a healing and heartbreaking trip. I don’t want to spoil the secret he is keeping, but I thought it was going to be worse than it was. The secret is enough to have Griffin feeling responsible for Theo’s death and his guilt is palpable, especially when reading the story of their relationship. It seemed totally conceivable that Griffin would expect that he and Theo would one day get back together given the circumstances of their breakup.
Griffin is a character that is hard to say goodbye to when the book ends. His voice is so raw and authentic that he leaps off the pages and into your heart. I am not sure if Adam Silvera put any of himself in Griffin, but it would make complete sense if he did. I got very protective of Griffin, wanting to sit him down, put an arm around him, and let him know that eventually things would be okay with time and a little bit of therapy. It also made sense that he and Jackson would be in different places in the healing process and their thoughts on dating again.
Griffin and Jackson share many similarities, but enough differences to know that Jackson was not simply a replacement for Griffin. The book ended on a slightly hopeful note, but I knew that both Griffin and Jackson had a long road ahead of them. What made it work was somehow knowing that they would find their way out of their grief one day and live again.