ARC Review: What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera


What If It's Us
Series: None
Author: Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
Published October 18th 2018 by Simon & Schuster Children's UK

Goodreads Synopsis
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?

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.

This book has been everywhere, and unless you've been living under a rock, you'll have heard of it. I was intrigued when I heard the synopsis, so when I was offered the chance to review it, I jumped at it. Now, I've never read a book by either Adam or Becky - yeah, I know I'm probably one of the only ones who hadn't, but I knew how many people loved their work, so I was definitely excited to see how working together would turn out. 

In What If It's Us, Arthur is in New York for the summer with his parents, and is working on an internship. One day, while at the post office, he see's a cute boy carrying a box, and they strike up a conversation in the queue. However, he never really get's any details about the cute boy, so puts out flyers trying to find him again, and, luckily, they reconnect. Arthur and Ben try and make the summer work for them, and have numerous first dates, but it always seems that life is getting in their way. Ben has had a bit of a hard time at school last year, not least with breaking up with his ex-boyfriend, and he has to go back to summer school unless he'll flunk out of the year. Because of the break up, he's a bit more wary about trying a new relationship, but the chemistry is there between him and Arthur, so he's willing to give it a go, even if it is only for the summer.

I flew through the book, and really enjoyed it. It's told in dual PoV, and while I did enjoy that, especially how we saw into Ben and Arthur's home lives, without each other, I thought the PoVs were very similar, and not that distinct. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy both characters, but sometimes it was slightly confusing when I had thought it was Ben's PoV, but it's Arthur's parent's he's talking to. On the topic of their parents, I loved how both families were so involved in their lives, and weren't absent like many you see in YA contemporaries. Obviously their families weren't perfect - no one's is - but they supported their sons, and wanted them to be happy, no matter what.

The romance in the book was very cute, but also a bit cliched. It went through cycles of so, so fluffy, to a lot of angst, to resolution, and back to fluffy, again, and again. Some outside factors played into the angst - in particular Ben's ex-boyfriend - but it was mainly their insecurities (especially Arthur's) that messed up their chances. I get that this was to make the book more realistic, and have heard that both authors like to play with the reader's emotions and feelings, but, for me, I was just starting to get annoyed, rather than more invested in it.

The ending, for me, was perfect with how the story was going. I know some people were disappointed or frustrated with it, but anything else wouldn't have done the book justice. There are loads of pop culture references in the book, particularly for Broadway shows, so it's definitely a book for 2018. I don't know if this book has made me want to read one of the author's solo books, but I'm happy I read this one.

Dates Read:
July 27-29, 2018

4 Stars

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