Title: What If It’s Us
Author: Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
Release Date: October 18th 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 show-stopping 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?
–Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My Thoughts On…
Arthur believes in signs from the universe; when he has an instant connection with a cute boy at the post office and doesn’t even get his name, let alone his number, he believes if it was meant to be the universe will help him find Ben again, with a little help from social media that is. Ben is supposed to be posting his ex’s things back after their break up; he leaves the post office having failed to do just that, but he can’t forget the boy he met while waiting in line, so when the universe, and Arthur, finds him he responds.
Individually Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera are two of my favourite authors, so What If It’s Us was one of my most anticipated releases for this year. This book is a perfect blend of both of their styles; each chapter switches between both Arthur’s and Ben’s POVs, with Becky writing Arthur and Adam writing Ben, but the story flows really well. It didn’t feel choppy, or consciously like I was reading something written by two different people.
Arthur’s and Ben’s first date is a disaster but it doesn’t stop them from attempting a do-over, a second chance at a first date, and then another one, and as many as it takes to get this thing between them right. But Arthur is only in New York for the summer, and Ben is still dealing with a lot of complicated feelings over his ex, and it seems like Arthur’s and Ben’s is doomed from the start.
What If It’s Us is a cute YA contemporary story, which I’ve come to expect from Becky Albertalli, but with a touch of realism added to keep the plot from being too fluffy, which I’ve come to expect from Adam Silvera. A lot of reviews I’ve read have talked about the ending, how it was slightly disappointing, however I loved the way this book ended. The story and the future of all the characters was left open but it felt true to Ben and Arthur’s relationship and their development throughout What If It’s Us.
Arthur is a big believer in fate and the power of the universe, he’s an idealist and although I loved both the main characters Arthur was my favourite. He’s intoxicated by New York, by the fact that he gets to live and work in this incredible city, and seeing it through his eyes was like being there again myself. Arthur wants his relationship with Ben to be perfect, something worthy of the epic start their love story had, however the reality of dating someone isn’t quite what Arthur thought.
Although What If It’s Us is Arthur’s and Ben’s story there were some incredible secondary characters, and I loved the glimpses we got into Arthur’s family and friends. After coming out to his two best friends Arthur worries he may be losing one of them, uncomfortable with his sexuality, and with his parents constantly fighting about his dad’s lack of work he fears they may end up divorcing before the summer is over. It weighs on Arthur, but he doesn’t say anything, trying to hold things together and pretend everything is normal.
Ben also believes in the whole ‘if it’s meant to be it will be’ thing, but his belief has been knocked down by his recent break-up. Hudson was a huge part of Ben’s life, a close friend before he became something more, and Ben’s having trouble letting go despite knowing their relationship is over. Ben’s heritage is a big part of his character, and it was interesting reading his struggles with people not seeing him as Puerto Rican enough because of how light his skin is.
Like Arthur Ben has an incredible relationship with his best friend, but there was a lot more development in the friendship between Ben and Dylan, as well as the broken friendships that used to exist between Ben, Dylan, Harriett and Hudson, than there was between Arthur and his friends. Dylan and Ben are like brothers and they’ve stood by one another through it all; summer school and health scares, Ben’s coming out and Dylan’s many break-ups.
I loved seeing the relationship between Arthur and Ben develop. From the beginning Arthur puts more effort into whatever it is that’s growing between them than Ben, a result of his idealistic personality and the fact that this is his first relationship, but that doesn’t mean Ben doesn’t care and doesn’t want them to work out. Both characters have things which get in the way of their relationship, but they always bounce back. No matter how many disastrous first dates they have they’re not willing to give up on each other when the universe seemed determined to make them meet.
What If It’s Us ended up being everything I wanted, and everything I hoped, it would be. Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera are an incredible writing duo (not that I had any doubt they would be) and I would love to read more books written by the both of them. Until then though I’ll just have to wait for the film adaptation of What If It’s Us to experience this incredible story all over again.
What did you think of What If It’s Us? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.
All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.