Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft

Title: Adios, Nirvana
Author: Conrad Wesselhoeft
Series: Stand alone book 
Source: NetGalley/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Digital copy
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Since the death of his brother, Jonathan’s been losing his grip on reality. Last year’s Best Young Poet and gifted guitarist is now Taft High School’s resident tortured artist, when he bothers to show up. He's on track to repeat eleventh grade, but his English teacher, his principal, and his crew of Thicks (who refuse to be seniors without him) won’t sit back and let him fail.

Losing someone you truly love is probably the most tragic event that could happen in a person’s life. It is even harder when the one who was taken away was the one you looked up to, shared your passions with and whom you confided in. This is what happened to Jonathan – this is the story of his life, his guilt, his grief following the death of his better half, his twin brother, Telemachus/Telly.

Jonathan is a young poet that everybody wants to be but a torture soul that no one wants to become. Since the death of Telemachus, he is no longer complete and he feels that no one can patch him back, to make him whole again. He crawls through life in a mindless stupor, dwells in self-pity and seems to only survive by consuming endless amount of taurine and caffeine tablets. Realising how self-destructive Jonathan has become, his best friends, which he called “his Thicks” and those others who know his true potential start devising a plan to wake Jonathan up from his prolong daze, to make him realise that his life is one that is worth living. What does it take for someone to begin moving on and embrace life? And can the course of life of the hopeless be changed by those who he loves and respects?

Adios, Nirvana is a book that portrays loss, grief, friendship and a value of life. The skeletal bone of the story is rather simple and of little meaning: a boy seeking for ways to handle his grief. However, the complexity of the messages hidden behind its intricate, raw, brilliant writing is what makes this book important and moving. Conrad Wesselhoeft is definitely not the kind of author who tailors his writing to make it more acceptable to everyone as he depicts reality of life as it is, no sugar coating and no polishing. I have no doubt that some people might feel rather uncomfortable with the way this book was written and some offensive language used along the way, but to me, this makes this book more real and believable.

One of the aspects in Adios, Nirvana that I thoroughly enjoy is the way the author slowly reveals the vital information, carefully creating the tension inside of the book. Ever since I start reading, I’ve wondered why Jonathan called his brother “Telemachus” but not by his real name. My question is answered towards the end of the book and it sort of emphasize the relationship between these two brothers, how one of them is one half of the whole and how truly decapitate Jonathan feels after his brother is gone. Other than that, Wesselhoeft also did an excellent job with the characters in this book. Jonathan is not entirely likeable from the beginning but the author lets readers embark this journey to see the changes in him and the real person that he suppresses beneath. The other characters too are very well-written and it can easily be seen how each and every one of them trying to help Jonathan moving on with his life.

Despite feeling that the ending is a little too rush; I am still overall satisfied with this book. A bittersweet story that talks about seizing the moment and understanding that despite every hurdle, life can still be the way we craft it to be. Adios, Nirvana is a book that I deeply love – the kind that leave imprints in my heart that won’t fade in many years to come.

Favourite Quote: To live is to swim toward the shimmer, to die is to never try


  1. Adios, Nirvana sounds like a great story. Must get this book. Thanks for the awesome review shy!! =)

  2. Heart breaking premise to what sounds like a good story...and that quote that you included, how profound. Looks like you uncovered another gem Shy! Thanks for sharing...and happy reading.

  3. Lovely review and it sounds like a good. and emotional book. And that quote, love it

  4. Not something I'd usually pick up but sounds like an excellent intense read - thanks!

  5. I was lucky enough to read this before it was release and it is definitely one of that will make my 2010 favorite reads list. I agree 100% with your review, which I absolutely loved!

  6. I haven't heard lots about this book, but so far only positive things about it. I like the sound of it. Great review!

  7. I just read a book about grief and I loved it!
    Maybe I'll love this too.
    Thanks for the review!

  8. Oh I really don't do books about loss and especially when that loss involves children or pets. Loving the quote though.

  9. Even though I'm not usually a sad-sad book reader, this wasn't sad. It was raw and believable and very well written.

    Thanks for the great review--you reminded me that I need to post my review of it, too!

  10. You really make me want to read this. And I love the title and the cover. ;p