In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.
When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.
Why does happiness have to be so hard?
This book well and truly exceeded my expectations. I thought it would just be a cute contemporary story, but there was so much more going on. Seeing the world from Aaron’s eyes as he dealt with so many powerful feelings was very moving. He was still getting over his father’s suicide, and it’s only later on in the book that we realise the true importance of this event.
I was really enthralled by the way Aaron’s relationships developed throughout the book. There were a lot of different people in his life that featured in different parts of the story. Many of these supporting characters developed in their own way, which I thought was great. It was Aaron’s discovery of himself that I found to be incredible, though. He was thrown so many curveballs, and I thought his reactions to all these things were extremely realistic.
I thought I had mostly figured out where the story was going, but there was a major event that I could not have seen coming. I would actually love to read this story again, knowing what I know now. It would be interesting to see what I could pick up on that I didn’t before. I thought this twist was written into the story really well; it didn’t feel out of place, though it was a complete shock.
This is a really great story that has a lot of emotion and complicated moral issues. It was a lot darker than I thought it would be, though it does carry many important messages. It’s yet another great contemporary YA book that I can’t recommend strongly enough.