Adam Silvera’s debut novel takes on the delicate balancing act of covering some of life’s weightiest of topics: suicide, coming out, trauma, grief and urban poverty. More Happy Than Not follows 16-year-old Aaron Soto in the wake of his father’s death, as he’s consumed by the tragedy while also working through surprising new feelings for a boy he’s recently met. Determined to shake away the attraction, the teenager looks into a mind-altering experiment that promises to erase painful memories. The novel, released in 2015, is just as much speculative fiction as it is a meditation on the relationship between hardship and happiness. Fully in control of the ambition of its plot, Silvera’s best seller marries the page-turning elements of a sci-fi narrative with incisive commentary on sexuality. —Annabel Gutterman

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