My Lit Box sends out a newly released book by an author of color on a monthly basis. Subscribers can choose to receive just the book for $17.00 or the full box plan for $25.00 which includes one or two quality bookish items. I got the full box because I love items! You can see my previous My Lit Box reviews here.
The theme of the February box was “Three’s a Crowd.” This is a direct reference to one of the themes in the book selection this mouth, History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera. You guys, I really wanted to like this book. I did. In real life, it ended up being that thing where I read a thing that deals with a subject that should be supremely emotional but instead I’m rolling my eyes and feeling like an asshole about it.
The very basic premise (which is discussed in the very first pages so I’m not spoiling, I swear) is that a boy loved a boy, those boys broke up, and one of the boys died. This is the story of the people in said dead boy’s life trying to deal with this untimely death. I should have some compassion, right? I mean, I cry at commercials with cute dogs! But no, I did not ever get emotionally invested in this book at all.
I will say that I’ve read quite a few reviews on Goodreads and it seems that most people really did find it to be an emotional experience and the things that felt gimmicky and overwrought to me felt deep and convincing to them. Though, I should also note that there are plenty of people who loved Silvera’s first book and did not find the charm in this one.
Overall, I didn’t hate this book. It was a quick read and I did think the way it was told was unique. I appreciated the way the author drew out the tension and the way information was slowly revealed. I just found the emotional part of the story (which was pretty much all of it) to be a bit trite.
Rating: 5/10 Not for me but I seem to be in the minority on this one.
Recommended for: Coming of age; gay fiction; stories of loss; unique storytelling
Does it pass the Bechdel–Wallace test? No.
Author of color / main character of color / female author / female main character: Yes / no / no / no. Bonus: The author self-identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community. I didn’t add this as an official metric because there are plenty of authors who keep their sexual preference private and I don’t want to make assumptions about anyone. But! I am always happy to see books by the Queer community.
But of course, that wasn’t all that was in this box! Of course not, it was an entire experience.
First, we have these “One Day at a Time” pencils. The curator says they were included because that’s how a person survives in the world after losing someone they loved. I think that’s apt, and I’m in recovery so it’s extra apt for me! I also happen to love pencils so this was very exciting!
The book deals with some complicated friendships in some complex ways. These vouchers are included so we can be better friends and to do something cute for our pals, I imagine. Some of these are neat and some of them are just weird. Of course, I like things that are just weird, so there’s that.
Finally, there’s this awesome card that is relevant to the book as well; two of the main characters love jigsaw puzzles. I like this card and look forward to surprising Sam with it.
Once again, this is a really thoughtfully curated box. Unlike boxes that just throw some crayons in and call it good, the curator really finds unique items that tie into the book in cool ways. This is definitely one of my favorite boxes.
Also: The curator sent an email out with details on everything in the box and gave us all homework – go see the movie “I Am Not Your Negro.” I’m stoked about this movie too, but unfortunately the start date at our little indie theater just got pushed back from this week to the second week in March. So I’ll have to wait but you shouldn’t! I’ve heard nothing but great things about it.
P.S. Oh, I forgot, there’s also a bookplate / sticker with the author’s signature. Neato!