What If It's Usby Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera Published 09 Oct 2018
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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" Reviews
Adam and Becky co-writing a book? I can smell the gay from miles away. And I can’t wait!
never in literature history have the gays won so hard until this collab
sounds gay, can't wait
I really loved this book! I have been waiting for this book since the moment it was announced and it truly did not disappoint!
CW: cheating, homophobia, racism, panic attacks
I of course enjoyed the writing style of this novel. Adam and Becky were able to perfectly co-author this contemporary, making Arthur and Ben’s individual personalities present, whether they were writing their respective character’s chapters or writing the other’s in their own scenes. I feel their two styles blended together perfectly, creating a cohesive story full of fluffy romance and detrimental heart break *insert evil laugh here*. It is heartwarming, humorous, awkward, and inspiring. I virtually had to force myself to put it down when necessary and could not wait to pick it up again. If you are a lover of Adam and/or Becky’s work, you won’t want to miss their debut project together.
I really loved the romance between Arthur and Ben. Not only does it feature a gay romance, but Arthur is Jewish and has ADHD while Ben is also Puerto Rican. I truly loved the set up of their story – not only the charm having a “missed connection” to find each other later, but also the hilarity of their terrible, terrible dates! It’s a fantastic twist on a typical meet-cute. In that respect, they have a very unique love story that I feel is absolutely worth reading. I also loved the fact that I was able to get annoyed/angry with both main characters so frequently. I LOVE characters who’s reactions make me mad while also enabling me to see their viewpoint and fully understand their reactions. Arthur and Ben are both complex, layered characters. They are easy to love, yet remain flawed; exactly as I feel realistic characters should be, and their love story is the same.
My one main critique of the story is it felt a bit predictable. There were only two significant events throughout the entire story that I had not anticipated beforehand – One being the ending which on the plus side, was EXTREMELY surprising and closed out the story in the most satisfying way possible. (A lot of y’all probably won’t like it but if you can set aside a personal opinion for the sake of a fantastic literary ending, I think you’d really appreciate the value of it.) I just wish it had pushed the boundaries of what is to be expected of a typical young adult contemporary romance a little more. I can’t say much of my other critique without spoilers, but I would have liked one of the more intense moments of the story to be more impactful. I attended Epic Reads Day with Adam and Becky where on their panel, they discussed a scene they disagreed over regarding a character’s response to a certain plot point and how that dictated the storyline. I have a strong feeling this is the moment I was underwhelmed by and while I completely understand their reasoning for the decision based on that conversation and how it played out in text, I was left wishing for more.
Overall, I really loved my time reading What If It’s Us. If you are someone who is excited for this story, I don’t feel you will be disappointed. I would definitely recommend to all my lovers of diverse contemporary romance!
This book was sent to me unsolicited and for free by Harper Collins. I had no obligation to review this book and all opinions are my own.
ARC provided by HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review.
“I believe in love at first sight. Fate, the universe, all of it. But not how you’re thinking. I don’t mean it in the our souls were split and you’re my other half forever and ever sort of way. I just think you’re meant to meet some people. I think the universe nudges them into your path.”
My dear friend, Jules, dubbed this a “queer, modern day, Sleepless in Seattle, set in New York” and she was so damn correct. Friends, I loved this book. It was seamlessly and so very beautifully written. The characters felt so real, that I’m still convinced that they have to be real people, walking the streets of New York while you read this review. And the romance? Lord, this was the sweetest, but most realistic, romance I’ve read in years.
➽ Arthur - White, gay, 16 (but a 17th birthday does happen), and just visiting New York for the summer, because he was able to land a very good intern position.
➽ Ben - Puerto Rican, gay, 17, and trying to mend his broken heart, because he and his ex just broke up, and now he is forced to see him every single day in summer school.
And these two boys met by chance, in a post office one July day, and it changes their lives. Yet, the constant question of this book is if that meeting, given to them by the universe or some higher-power, was meant to bring them together or to keep them apart.
“I guess that’s any relationship. You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.”
I very much related to Ben, who is constantly self-conscious about his white-passing looks. That is, until he and his privilege get completely checked. This was such a minor side story in this book, but it meant the freakin’ world to me. Both, him feeling not as much in touch with his culture when he is away from his family, and when he realizes that a lot of privilege comes from being white-passing.
“Not looking the part of Puerto Rican messed me up. I know I get some privilege points from looking white, but Puerto Ricans don’t come in one shade.”
Also, this book wonderfully touches upon how Arthur has ADHD, and how he lives a better life because of Adderall (which I know isn’t for everyone, but it still made me really happy to see). He and his family are also Jewish, and that is always as at the forefront of this story, too. And it is beautifully mingled with Ben’s very catholic family.
“We’re not old-school Catholics who live by the Bible and conveniently ignore all the verses that contradict the hate coming out of their mouths. We’re the kind of Catholics who think people shouldn’t go to hell for being nonhetero, and that was before I even came out.”
This is just such a beautiful story about these two boys coming together, by fate, while trying to discover who they are and who they want to be. Life, and the world we live in, is such a vast thing, and seeing these teenage boys try to understand it with each other, knowing they only have a summer together, is something so awe-inspiring that I don’t even have words for it.
Other important juxtapositions are in this book, too. Like, Ben’s family isn’t the most wealthy, but they get by, where Arthur’s parents are able to spend the entire summer in New York. Arthur also has plans of going to a very good school, where Ben is just trying to stay afloat in high school. But Ben’s parents are very much in love and happy, where Arthur’s parents just have a different way of showing each other love. Seriously, this book has so much good in its’ four-hundred pages!
Plus, this book displays some beautiful friendships, too. Ben’s best friend, Dylan, was so amazing in this book. Like, I feel like I keep saying the world “realistic” but it’s honestly the perfect fit. And Dylan lives with extreme anxiety and a heart condition. I also was living for Arthur's best friends, Jess and Ethan, and all their facetime calls. I ended up loving this entire friend group! And, of course, I ended up completely head over heels for both Ben and Arthur.
And this book also just feels authentically “teen” I guess I’m trying to say? I mean, I’m not a teenager, so I guess I’ll say that this book feels authentically “twenties” or something along those lines. But from the Hamilton, Harry Potter, The Sims, Dear Evan Hansen (which I haven’t seen, listened, or read, but I probably should because of the title of this book), and so many other references, this just feels authentically 2018.
“How lucky we are to be alive right now, right?” “Oh my god, you’re speaking Hamilton—I’m just so into you. I’m helpless.”
Overall, I loved this book entirely. I bet it makes my “best of 2018” list, come December 31st. Also, I can’t believe this book was written by two different authors, because it was seriously seamless perfection. This was one of the best and most realistic romances I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. And even though I didn’t entirely love the epilogue at first, now I actually think it’s one of the best epilogues I’ve ever read. The perfect amount of not enough, and enough. I mean, that’s the beauty of this book being magically and expertly crafted. Seriously, friends, please read this masterpiece; it’s so very heartwarming and I think this is the happiest I’ve been while reading a book all of 2018.
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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
Trigger and content warnings for one homophobic scene that is very quickly done and completely challenged (Chapter 20) and a very serious panic attack.
Buddy read with Julianna at Paper Blots & Jules at JA Ironside! ❤
I still can’t believe I got an ARC for this! 😱🤩.
I LOVED IT.
Is so good!
Funny, interesting, cute, realistic (too much in my mind, but oh well, life) and with friendships/families/relationship goal.
The writing, I’m in love with it. Is so beautiful and the story? YESSS.
This book really shows that sometimes everything happens for a reason and maybe not in the circumstances or way that we expected, but still it happens and it might not end the way we want but afterwards, we find out it was for the best and you would want it to change.
=>Arthur, I love him. His personality is so great and how he doesn’t full around and just goes with it is really refreshing and I highlight every chapter of his POV, it was just so, so awesome.
=>Ben, I love him too, he’s such a great character and the development that he has in the course of this book was just amazing and I really like how his vision about the universe change and why.
=>Dylan, IS THE BEST BEST FRIEND EVER. Every time he appeared I was so happy. He’s a rain of sunshine. His support and love for Ben are just so heartwarming. I love him.
=>The parents were so supportive, loving, respectful and just GOALS, and I adore them.
Okay, I love everyone in this book. Is just that good. And I really didn’t expect anything less.
I had very high expectations and all of them were achieved.
This was a light-warming read, that I will definitely reread at some point this year.
This is definitely in the “Best reads of 2018” and I could be happier.
I would love it if there were a possibility of a sequel in the future.
And a book with Dylan POV or short story, really anything, I’ll take it. Thanks, *lol.
Thank you Edelweiss and the publisher for an ARC of this book.