Release Date: 6/2/16
Audiobook Length : 8 Hours 25 minutes
Publisher: Soho Press
The expectation to be happy can be overwhelming, but Aaron Soto is going to try. He is going to happily spend the summer hanging with his friends, nerding out over comics and finally telling his girlfriend he loves her. He won’t think about the things that threaten his happiness like his father’s suicide or Tomas, a neighborhood boy whose friendship could spark something more. Looming in the background of this happy summer is the divisive Leteo Institute, a facility that claims that can make memories go away.
In his debut novel, Silvera takes his time bringing readers into the rhythms of summertime in the Bronx. One that is filled with silliness, work and fiercely loyal bonds while just grazing the surface of the intersectionality of homosexuality and toxic masculinity as one abandons childhood for adulthood. As you do.
The Leteo’s Institute and its memory-erasing procedure is this huge Chekov’s Gun that sort of hangs throughout the book with a big arrow pointing to it, you are just waiting for it to go off and when it goes off, it really goes off.
I listened to the audio and could immediately tell that actor, Ramon De Ocampo, was not a career narrator. His dialogue and performance lacked consistency. I could never get a feel for what Aaron or any of the characters “sounded” like. Aaron has a tight group of friends and when you have a book with multiple male voices you really need that distinction. If he would have played it straight without trying to change his pitch it could have been a more immersive experience.
The very very end of this book is just. . . unbelievable. It makes you feel the feels. I had to PREPARE myself to listen to it because it’s a tough one that will stick with you long after you finish. While reading this book I couldn’t help but to think about this quote from White Cat by Holly Black
“We are, largely, who we remember ourselves to be.”
I think teen me would have liked this book, so I would totally recommend this. It’s a wonderful debut, I can’t wait to read Silvera’s next book The History of Us.
I really like the paperback cover for this book.
1/2 of the blogging duo at Books and Sensibility, I have been blogging about and reviewing books since 2011. I read any and every genre, here on the blog I mostly review Fantasy, Adult Fiction, and Young Adult with a focus on audiobooks.