Moving and memorable, Adam Silvera's second novel is an exploration of loss and love, memory and mourning. Griffin is a thoughtful, fabulously flawed protagonist, one who never stopped loving Theo, his best friend and first love. And Griffin doesn't know how he's supposed to grieve Theo when Jackson is in the picture. Jackson may have been dating Theo, but in Griffin's heart of hearts, he believes -- knows -- that he and Theo, not Theo and Jackson, were "endgame." Once Griffin and Jackson begin commiserating -- and jointly shutting others out of their shared pain -- it's clear that things are a bit too intense, that they both have secrets about Theo the other won't want to hear. Yet as a reader, you just want these boys to heal, no matter how destroyed they might feel.
Silvera does a beautiful job exploring the depths of Griffin's burdens, sadness, and insecurities. You feel the pain alongside Wade as Griffin unfairly keeps him out of the circle of trust, even though Wade lost a best friend, too, and even though Wade is steadfastly "Team Griffin." It's a complicated thing to stay best friends after being much more, and the story requires readers to have an emotional maturity about relationships or to at least recognize what's healthy and what's unhealthy in a romantic vs. platonic relationship. Silvera packs a lot of substantive issues into this tale -- sexuality, mental illness, grief, friendship, parent-child closeness, disability -- and it's all dealt with in a nuanced, thought-provoking way that will stay with readers.