Adam Silvera’s debut novel, More Happy Than Not has everything a reader could want: A cool setting, intriguing characters, and a romance that’s more than just your average love story. Check out the synopsis and cover exclusively on Hypable!
Happiness shouldn’t be this hard…
When it first gets announced, the Leteo Institute’s memory-alteration procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto – miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor, how his friends all seem to shrug him off, and how his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. He has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough.
Then Thomas shows up. He doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession over the Scorpius Hawthorne books and has a sweet movie set-up on his roof. There are nicknames. Aaron’s not only able to be himself, but happiness feels easy with Thomas. The love Aaron discovers may cost him what’s left of his life, but since Aaron can’t suddenly stop being gay Leteo may be the only way out…
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Interview with Adam Silvera
Give us 5 random facts about yourself.
1) I have eight tattoos and only semi-regret one, which is a ratio I’m pretty proud of.
2) I was supposed to be a twin but I ate my bro in the womb. (If this fact scares you, check out Vanishing Twin Syndrome.)
3) I have to walk on everyone’s left side. It’s a really bad compulsion I’m trying to beat but I’m not always successful.
4) When possible I like to operate in even numbers (another bad compulsion) so I’m going to just stop here.
What inspired you to want to tell this story?
Oh man, several things. A lot of people in the world believe being gay is a choice, which never made much sense to me growing up in the Bronx because why would someone choose to paint a target on their back in a sometimes intolerant world. My main character, Aaron Soto, and his pain were born from that thought. My agent, Brooks Sherman, pitched the book to publishers as a young adult version of the genius film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is accurate because it explores characters who are pursuing a procedure to forget painful times. But Aaron isn’t so much trying to forget a single person who broke his heart as he is trying to forget his sexuality and all the tragedies that may come from growing up gay in a small-minded neighborhood. It’s the whole nurture vs. nature thing set in a speculative world that asks “If you could forget being gay and lead a safe straight life, would you?”
Do you relate to any specific character more so than the others?
My protagonist is definitely me at sixteen except the extremes of what he goes through are dialed up in a way that was sometimes uncomfortable to write. The other characters were definitely harder, but ultimately put me on a much-needed path of forgiveness in my own life when I finally got into their heads.
What was the hardest part about this journey to becoming a debut novelist?
I’ve worked in children’s publishing and bookstores for a little over four years now so I know a lot – maybe too much – about how the gears of the business turn. It can definitely be a hindrance when I’m trying to focus on writing and have found myself tempted into trying to make something “more commercial” or “sexier” by someone else’s standards. But after two years worth of incarnations for More Happy Than Not, I’m proud that the version I’m putting out into the world is the book at its most genuine state.
Was there any part of the process that was especially easy or hard for you?
It was originally pretty autobiographic about the first guy I fell in love with, but as exciting and heartbreaking that was for me in real life it didn’t translate to interesting fiction. So I had to heighten the book and give it the charge it needed to be its own thing as well as establish rules for the game-changing memory institute I introduce into the book’s setting.
What’s the best piece of constructive criticism you’ve gotten as an author?
So this isn’t necessarily a writing tip but still very important: have a support group full of writers. I’ve become really tight with three authors who are also debuting young adult novels next year and I have mad love for whatever higher being put them on this earth. David Arnold (Mosquitoland) roped me into an email group with Becky Albertalli (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) and Jasmine Warga (My Heart and Other Black Holes) and we’re there for each during the dark days and celebrate each other during the happy times. Seriously, find writer friends and please, please don’t take mine or I’ll be a psycho again.
What was the easiest to write: the first sentence, or the last?
First sentence, no doubt. Those first lines come to me as easily as my titles, but I will say the last sentences of More Happy Than Not are my favorite.
What’s next for Adam Silvera?
I’m wrapping up final edits for a second young adult book called They Both Die At The End, which is another speculative novel. I’m also outlining a couple other young adult books, one which I’ll be co-writing with a good friend when our schedules stop clashing, in addition to some fantasy novels for the young reader crowd. And there’s also this screenplay I’ve been playing around with for a little bit. Short answer: lots of writing unless the universe unanimously agrees I suck, in which case, I’ll still be writing.