What If It’s Us – Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera – HarperTeen – Published 9 October 2018
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?
What If It’s Us is a cute boy-meets-boy, missed connections, do-over, sweet, funny, charming kind of book. Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera are huge names in YA fiction right now and they pull off this collaborative work seamlessly.
Arthur is in New York for the summer. Ben lives in New York year round. Arthur is working as an intern at his mother’s law firm. Ben is hoping to pass summer school so he doesn’t have to repeat his Junior year. Arthur has never been on a date let alone had a boyfriend. Ben is reeling from his first breakup. When Arthur and Ben meet, they both feel something, but they leave without exchanging names or numbers. So begins a search across New York to find each other again. But when they do meet again, will they be able to start a relationship?
I have both of Adam Silvera’s standout novels, They Both Die At The End and History Is All You Left Me sitting on my library shelves waiting for me to read them, but I jumped into What If It’s Us, first. With Love, Simon (based on the novel Simon vs. The Homo Sapien Agenda) currently in the box office, Becky is the go to girl for humorous, heartfelt stories, and teaming up with Adam is clearly a well-made match. What If It’s Us is funny, gripping and an all-round enjoyable read.
The first large chunk of What If It’s Us is spent with the two boys first meeting and then trying to track each other down. From cyberstalking and questioning random people to enlisting their friends for help, the city-wide search is a fun (and my favourite) part of this book. Once the boys meet again, the remainder of the book is devoted to them attempting to start and re-doing the start of a relationship. Are they right for each other? Will it ever work out? You’ll have to read to find out.
What If It’s Us is written in alternating chapters from Ben and Arthur’s perspective. I much preferred Arthur as a character. He is adorably awkward, outgoing and charming. Ben is a little more reserved, worried about things and sometimes harsh in his judgement of people. I’m not sure if Becky and Adam co-wrote each character’s chapters or split the boys between them, but the story flows very well.
Along with romance (or the possibility of romance) friendship is a huge part of What If It’s Us. Dylan, Ben best-friend is hilarious. Supportive friends, friendship going through a tough spot, friendship rebounding, new friends, and changes to old friends – Ben and Arthur both have great friends and experience a range of changes in their relationship with them.
What If It’s Us is funny, heartwarming and an enjoyable read.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: LBGT, romance, New York, relationships, family, friendship, sex and dating.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Frequent sexual references, implied sex scene. Frequent coarse language, fu** (82), sh** (73), co** (5), sl** (2), as***** (22), pi**(9), bi*** (3), di** (22).
Published: 9 October 2018 by HarperTeen.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 448 pages.