Aaron hasn’t had an easy life growing up. His friends are never there when it counts, he lives in a one-bedroom apartment with his mother and brother, the same apartment where his father committed suicide in the bathroom. He has a great, supportive girlfriend but he can’t stop thinking about Thomas, a new kid who just gets Aaron in ways no one else has. Being gay in his neighborhood isn’t accepted but Aaron can’t change who he is. Or can he? The Leteo Institute offers people a memory-relief procedure and if Aaron can convince his mom to let him get the procedure, he can have his life back. Even if it means going back to feeling lost and unhappy all the time.
This book was a pretty powerful read. It had a great voice and touched on a lot of issues that are relevant today. It had a nice balance between the darker moments and the lighter moments. I would definitely say it wasn’t an easy or fast read but a very worthwhile read.
Aaron was such an interesting character who drew me into his world so quickly. I fell for his geekery, his love of comics and obsession over a fantasy series. I liked seeing the connection he made with Thomas and him opening up and their friendship definitely seemed to be a high in Aaron’s life. Aaron’s struggles were a huge driving point of the story: his struggle with his sexuality, his struggle about the procedure, his struggle with his dad’s suicide, his depression, figuring out who he is. It was a boy discovering who he was and having to deal with knowing the truth could mean losing it all.
The character interactions in the book were great. Aaron’s overworked mom trying to do her best to care for her boys, Aaron’s brother always there but seeming not interested in his life, the growing friendship of Aaron and Thomas, the relationship between Aaron and his girlfriend, Aaron and his neighborhood friends. It was interesting to see the different ways Aaron would interact with everyone and very telling about how open he would chose to be with each person.
The memory-wiping Leteo Institute was a little confusing at first since I wasn’t sure how it would work in Aaron’s situation but it got clearer as more was revealed. I thought it would play a bigger part in the book since it was the first thing mentioned in the synopsis but the story was more focused on Aaron’s growth, decision, and the aftermath. The whole concept did bring to mind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which I have seen this book compared to and really enjoyed. I didn’t even care that I could see some of the twists coming. I just wanted Aaron to be happy.
The book touched on a lot of important issues. Sexuality, depression, suicide, racism, poverty, homophobia, acceptance, and it did so without feeling like it was trying to cram too many issues into too little pages. It was the type of book a person could just read to read and enjoy, or to read and analyze(and enjoy). It was definitely a book to remember.
And that Scorpius Hawthorne demonic boy wizard series that kept getting mentioned in the book, that needs to be a real thing.