Reinberger Review: History Is All You Left Me

Audience: 14-17 years

Review by Kayla Hlad (she/her)

MLIS Student, Kent State University iSchool

In History is All You Left Me, Griffin, a high schooler, must face the grief and complications that surround loss when his first love, Theo, passes away. He finds the courage to attend Theo’s funeral, but to fully grasp and move past his grief, he must relive and reexamine the losses that preceded this parting.

This work is heavy with grief and sorrow, and is perfect for the teen reader that is looking for a good cry. Silvera artfully portrays the complications of relationships and the significance of first loves through the use of flashbacks, realistic dialogue, and a tone that oozes convincing pain and heartache. Griffin’s overall character development is superbly complex and well-written, and the dialogue, thoughts, and actions in the book feel real. The portrayal of the LGBTQ+ characters are refreshingly dynamic and serve as powerful mirrors for so many teens. Moreover, the novel’s themes of grief, loss, and forgiveness are universally appealing. It’s a great read to expand teens’ own philosophies of life and to help them reflect on their own relationships. I would recommend this not only to teens looking for LGBTQ+ literature, but any teen who loves to read about the sorrows of love.

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