Book Review: What If It’s Us by

What If It’s Us

Author: Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
Publisher: Harper Teen (October 9, 2018)
Hardcover, 437 pages
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Summary
Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?


Rating: 4 stars

Review
Aww, I just want to pinch their cute little high school drama cheeks. Who doesn’t love a couple of slightly awkward nerdboys finding love in the Big City? I love Arthur and Ben’s chance meeting and the little almost meetings and just-missed connections they have, the way the both believe in “the universe” and fate throwing them together (and pulling them apart). 

I love that this is co-written by Becky Albertalli (who wrote Arthur’s chapters) and Adam Silvera (who wrote Ben’s chapters), so the reader really gets two distinct voices for the two main characters. It also means that at times that pacing can be thrown off a bit, I think.

Ben is just coming off a break-up where he did the breaking up, but feels he was pushed into it because he was cheated on. He’s Puerto Rican but can “pass” for white (which causes him some drama?), comes from a low-income family and has some worries about money, is gay (and out), and frankly for a guy whose main gripe about his ex is that he didn’t make enough romantic gestures sure isn’t very romantic with Arthur… What the heck, Ben?

Arthur is a Southern Jewish boy (from Milton, Georgia) who is interning in New York for the summer at his Mom’s law firm. His family is fairly well off with his mom’s laywer gig even with his dad not working, though it causes strain on his parent’s relationship and he’s worried they’ll get a divorce. He’s gay and out with his friend, though while his girl-BFF is cool with it his guy-BFF is acting really cagey since he came out… 

Ben and Arthur are both flawed people and their romance is also flawed. I love that they have to work so hard to first find each other and then to make it work. What If It’s Us is a book about real love – the kind that’s messy and full of mistakes and compromises, missed opportunities and misunderstandings, small gestures that make a big difference, and the reality that even strong couples fight. It’s also not a “romance” in the traditional, strictest sense of the word, but it’s a great book. Um, maybe don’t read it if you’re one of those people who needs 100% official closure on what actually happens in the end though, because the author does leave it very open to your interpretation on what happens next… You have been warned.

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