Title: What If It’s Us
Author: Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Source: ARC (Thanks to S&S!)
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?
When I received this book, I felt both very happy but also guilty. I’ll be honest with you all, I have read two of Becky’s books and one of Adam’s. Those being Simon and Leah and They Both Die at the End which I read via an audio book. So you may be wondering, why do you feel guilty? Because I feel like I haven’t read enough of Adam’s books and because I haven’t read Becky’s other book. However, after hearing about this book and seeing the reception it’s had on social media, I knew that I just had to request it.
I already knew I was a fan of Becky’s two books I’d read and although I’ve only read one of Adam’s books, I knew from that one that I would probably enjoy this duo writing together. Well friends, I am pleased to tell you that I was not wrong.
Although this book did take me almost a month to read, that is not a reflection of this book at all. It’s simply because I have two exams coming up and so my efforts have been focused on revision instead.
I really liked the characters in this book and thought that they were both written so well. I’m really not sure who I liked more and I’d really love to be friends with both of them. Arthur is a nerdy/geeky sort of guy and is so enthusiastic and interested about things. He’s figuring life out over his summer break whilst in New York. Meanwhile, Ben is going through a rough break up whilst slogging through summer school. Oh, and he happens to be going through summer school with his ex.
This book really gave us two different characters but they both worked really well together. I loved the relationship that developed between them throughout the book and really felt that it was a huge part in the development of the characters themselves. Arthur’s relationship with Ben was a real introduction to love and romantic relationships. With Ben, I felt that though he had been in a relationship before, this was one that really gave him confidence and encouraged him to be a better version of himself, not that he wasn’t great before.
This book didn’t just involve love. It had a good dose of friendship and family. Both families were important to our characters and their friends played a huge part in this book too. There was a contrast between Arthur and Ben’s families but I think that while they both offered different family experiences, they had things in common such as a good support system. Friendship played a big part in this book too, with Ben’s best friend Dylan being a prominent secondary character. Arthur’s friends are also featured but as they are in another state, it was a little more difficult for them to play such a big part in this book.
What If It’s Us? tackled homophobia in this book in one scene which I thought was sad but this is something that lgbtq+ have to deal with on a daily basis. It was interesting to see how two different people handled being in that situation but it was also frustrating to sit through the scene and not see anybody else around them really take a stand against the homophobic treatment they bore the brunt of. I thought that it was fairly important to include this scene as this is something that lgbtq+ people do face and it really made me think about how these characters, and how real life people, must feel on a daily basis.
As well as homophobia, racism was also touched on in this book. It demonstrated how comments can be made with no thought or malice behind them but how it affects people even if offence wasn’t meant. What If It’s Us? also showed how personal identity can be affected by racism. This book tackled two important and serious subjects in a way that really gets you thinking.
The ending isn’t quite the one I was looking for. I love a good happy ending and the one book of Adam’s that I have read did not end in that. And the two books of Becky’s that I have read? Both of those ended in a happy ending. I feel like the ending on this was a compromise between the two and I was really sat there thinking ‘really guys? Come on, why you gotta do this to us?’ But it was a decent ending and I felt like it really left the futures of Arthur and Ben open to the readers interpretation.
I really enjoyed this book and I’m very grateful that I was in receipt of a copy to review. I definitely want to read more of Adam’s books and I would like to finish reading Becky’s so that I have finished her collection of books (so far). I would fully recommend reading this book if you’re looking for a Meet-Cute contemporary that also deals with real world issues.