The talented author of More Happy than Not (2015) returns with a moving novel that explores friendship, grief, and trust among four young men.
Silvera packs a powerful emotional punch in this multilayered story told partly in flashbacks by Griffin, who’s mourning the sudden death of his best friend and first love, Theo. The two white teens and their black friend Wade were a “three-dude squad” for years, until Griff and Theo became romantically involved. Their first sexual encounter was a “good weird” experience—“the best kind of weird”—for them both. Griff’s trauma and heartbreak are compounded by his knowledge that Theo had developed a relationship with Jackson, another white boy, while he was away at college. Griff’s narrative, addressed to Theo, goes back and forth between the past and present, echoing the alternate universes that they used to ponder. As he unravels the puzzle of his relationships with Theo, Jackson, and Wade, he feels like a coin someone tossed “into the air to settle something once and for all but didn’t catch.” Griff’s quirky tics and compulsions and his unanswered correspondence with Theo are bringing him precariously close to mental illness as he tries to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The conversational yet profound tone of the book highlights the author’s ear for the musicality of language and his ability to convey deep emotion through attention to its cadence and flow.
A novel to savor long after it ends. (Fiction. 14 & up)