I decided to pursue publishing after a trying my hand at a couple different career paths after college. Like most 21-year-olds, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life, and I was learning the hard way that the best jobs don’t come easy. At the end of every day I would drive home from whatever job (teacher’s aide, exec asst for generic company, waitressing, movie theater, B&N) to my apartment (basement of some elderly woman’s home) and turned on the radio (I didn’t have cable or internet). I would cook some mac n’ cheese (store brand) and jump on my computer to retweak my resume and personalize cover letters to mail the next day (printed on fancy resume paper—the most expensive thing I likely owned at the time aside from my cell phone). Then when the pot and plate were cleaned (no dishwasher), I would pull one of the dozens of books I owned from my shelves, plop down on my futon, and read. My boyfriend (now husband) was in law school (so he was always deep in the bowels of the law library), and though I had friends, I was tight on funds (Taco Bell and hanging in the park, anyone?). So a lot of the time it was just me and books. And I knew I would find my path soon enough. I was happy.
Fast forward to Dec 16, 2011. I’ve now found my path (already 5 years into publishing) and I’m at a publishing party. Like all publishing parties, I know some people and I don’t know many others, but I’m always comforted by the fact that we all have one thing in common: a love of books and reading. So talking to a new person at these kinds of things is easy enough for me—usually I start with something I’ve read recently that I enjoyed. That’s exactly what I did when I met Adam Silvera that night.
We hit it off, but at the time I didn’t realize that I had just met one of the most kind, supportive, passionate and die hard book people in the business. He just seemed like a nice guy that worked at a bookstore and since I used to work in a bookstore, I was all “we should hang out sometime.”
Adam Silvera is one of those brilliant people that is infectiously enthusiastic about books, particularly children’s and young adult. He reads everything he can get his hands on, and then he turns and shares those stories with others. I can’t tell you how many books this guy has put into into the hands of kids, parents and teachers with a recommendation that makes you want to read it right away. The dude is a book pusher, a literacy advocate and he has a keen eye for the really good stories. He knows what kids and teens will like. And he has helped to launch the career of many authors I know. (Does anyone remember Leigh Bardugo’s debut pre-order campaign for Shadow and Bone? Well guess who orchestrated it back before she was a bestseller….)
And all while he’s been doing a kickass job getting books into readers’ hands, Adam was working away quietly on his own story. I am honored to have read this one very early on (and again recently), and it is truly brilliant. The book is MORE HAPPY THAN NOT and it publishes today. I won’t put a review up here, because I no longer review online (and I’m pretty sure we don’t post them on Pubcrawl anyway). But I do give this book a very, very enthusiastic recommendation. Aaron (the protagonist) lives in the Bronx (where Adam actually grew up). His story is both beautiful and heartbreaking, and his voice is authentic and raw. This is one of my top reads this year. Hell, it’s one of my top reads, period.
Here’s the official description:
Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.
The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto — miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor or how his friends aren’t always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron 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 has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he’s can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.
You’re probably wondering what “The Reason I Love This Business” is. And that’s easy. It’s the people in it. The ones like Adam who do it for the love of it, and who share that love with others. That is the reason I am so very happy that I finally found my path in books.
Now go check out his book already! You won’t regret it.