✶ Summary ✶
More Than Us follows a 20 year old girl named Lora. She is telling a story, and it starts in 2008. When walking home one night in the snow, she slipped on some ice and found a guy next to a dumpster bleeding from his wrists. She called 911 and rode in the ambulance with him. She finds out from a nurse that he has no one else so she starts visiting every day while the guy, Harper, is in a medically induced coma in the psych ward. Once he wakes up, they begin a friendship. The psychologist lets him leave after a few days if he attends weekly therapy sessions. Lora says she’ll attend them with him and wait in the waiting room. He wonders why she’d do this, and she just tells him she understands. The reader learns that when she was a senior in high school her younger brother committed suicide. Not long after Harper is released, Lora goes home for the weekend to help her parents pack up the house because they’re moving. This is an emotional time for all of them because they have to clean out the dead child’s room, which hasn’t been touched since they found his body. Lora is the most upset because her parents are leaving this house and his memory behind, but she keeps it to herself to be strong for her family. After she goes back to campus, a few weeks pass. Harper and Lora are building their friendship and hanging out. She decides to bring him home for Christmas because he has no family. By this point, she’s learned that he grew up bouncing around foster homes. The first time she sees her family’s new house is with Harper. They have a moment out in the snow one day where they kiss. And after they get back to campus, Harper stops speaking to Lora. He eventually talks to her to end their friendship and whatever feelings had been building because he felt like he couldn’t handle his depression and didn’t want to drag her down. There is a time jump to 2013. Lora has graduated college, has a job as an editor, and has published a book she wrote. This section starts with her at a book signing, and Harper shows up an hour late to it. She signs his book “This is the love story you never gave me.” Over the next couple weeks, he calls and texts her. He apologizes for what he did and repeatedly asks her out for coffee. She eventually goes to coffee with him and learns he is an art teacher and has his own studio. He also offers art therapy classes. He tries to apologize for his younger behavior and get back together with her but she storms out angry. She speaks to her roommate about him, the same roommate from college, because she keeps thinking about him. Her roommate suggests it may be meant to be. Lora texts Harper to meet up. They slowly work on their relationship. From lunches to dinners to weekends together to moving in together. After six months, he proposes to her and she says yes. More time passes. They’re married and have a house. They have cats but no kids. They’re content, but Harper still has bad days. The next time jump is to 2023, and it starts with Harper’s suicide note. After that Lora attends his funeral, where she leaves a note to him in his casket. And the book ends with that note.
✶ Non-toxicity ✶
This book touches on a few important topics. The primary one being depression. Lora sees this guy, who she’s never met before, and she wants to help him. She wants to be there for him because she couldn’t be there for her brother. She doesn’t want anyone to go through what he did alone. They build a friendship, but they’re unable to start a relationship when they’re young. When they’re older, they give it a go. But it’s not quick, and it’s not easy. They have to work for it, build up to it. And in the end, depression was too much for Harper. This book is a romance featuring depression, but it doesn’t romanticize it. It doesn’t say depression is easy to live with or that it’s easy to build a relationship around. This book also covers loss. Lora lost her brother, someone who was a best friend to her, at a young age. This book shows how it still affects her, how it still affects her family. This book also touches on leaving your childhood behind, which was her childhood home. This is something most people don’t experience until college or maybe after college, so it’s something they don’t appreciate until it’s too late. I think this book is a great thing for teens to read because it covers multiple hard topics. It shows great representation for depression and suicide without romanticizing either topic. This book does not have a happy ending, and that’s also an important thing for teens to know. Some things end badly, some things are left unresolved. And that’s life. If you learn this lesson young, in a way that doesn’t directly affect you, you are more prepared for it when it happens to you. 
✶ Quotes ✶
No one understands why I felt the need to be there for Harper, and I think it’s because people lacked knowledge of my background. Everyone carries their own backpacks. Inside my backpack, people would find out why my parents called almost every night at school, asking me about my day and how work is going. They’d want to know every detail each time, from the type of homework I was assigned to the clothes I wore that day, People would think they were crazy, if they untied my knapsack and discovered all its contents, but I knew they were just parents, parents who loved their daughter with hurting hearts.
Because the best any of us can do is try.
[about their friendship ending] What happened that night tore me up for a long time, but eventually, I learned to sew the pieces back into place. I took all the unread texts and voicemail calls and wove them into a scarf that I tied tight around my heart, keeping it warm from the coldness of sadness. But the moments were still there, a reminder of what I went through and the strength it took to get over it.
[Lora’s speech at Harper’s funeral] “If your loved ones suffer from mental illness, hold them close and appreciate them for their flaws and their quirks. Because people are more than their bad days. If all they can do is cry that day then sit beside them. Hand them tissues. And if they’re laughing that day? Laugh with them too, give them a hug. Many of us don’t understand depression and will never understand the illness. I still don’t fully, because the complexities of it are more than our minds can understand.”

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