What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silveri

Published: 18th October 2018
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
Pages: 437
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult
★   ★   ★   ★ – 4 Stars

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 love collaboration novels because it is interesting to see the two different authors and voices coming together to make a single story. Both Albertalli and Silvera bring their characters to life on the page and their uniqueness and their complicated relationships and histories are captivating to read which results in an incredibly sweet story that pulls you along through the endearment of the two narrators.

This is a massive character driven novel. The relationships each character has with their friends and family is the centre point of their lives and the different relationships they have with those around them drive this story. The combination of the quiet, reserved Ben with outgoing and talkative Arthur sounds like it wouldn’t work but it does, they are super cute together and watching them fall in love and develop a friendship in unconventional and uncertain steps was great. Both Arthur and Ben are flawed but they also are allowed to grow in this story and find their feet which is amazing.

I love Arthur’s optimism and hope in the world around him, but I also love that he isn’t entirely idealistic either and understands there are harsh realities in the world as well. Compared to Ben’s introverted life of playing Sims and writing a fantasy novel the two are total opposites in some aspects but have a lot of similarities in others. Their personalities come across so well on the page that Arthur jumps right off while Ben’s reserved nature sits quietly in the background.

Ben’s story explores the issues about people overlooking his culture and assumptions made based solely on appearances. I like that he gets to show off his culture at home so freely and that we understand as readers without it feeling like a Message is being forced upon us. Ben’s conversations are important and perfectly suited in story and even with misunderstandings it’s a great way to get Arthur and Ben to get to know each other, it adds to the fragility of their relationship and the newness of knowing one another.

As someone who hates being late to things I cannot cope with Ben’s complete casual nature of being late to everything. It would drive me absolutely insane, especially if there are reservations or starting times to adhere to. So that is some fun stress and anxiety in the story I can side with Arthur on. I loved though how these factors impact on their fragile relationship, which is an odd thing to say I know, but sometimes it doesn’t always need to be huge events, sometimes people conflict and clash over little things and that’s where tension comes from.

There are cute romance scenes and small gestures, little relationship moments that make you smile; Arthur and Ben respect each other’s limitations and boundaries, and their nervousness and eagerness to know one another is incredibly sweet while they try and work out what they’re doing. These two make even the simplest things seem sweet and wonderful. The entire world revolves around them and even when other friends get involved, it is so much the Ben and Arthur show it’s pure delight going on this road of discovery with them both.

Do-overs are a big factor in this and I for one would like a do over of that ending because I demand more concrete answers and the ending I have fabricated in my mind while nice may not be right. Thank goodness there is a sequel coming because I cannot not know how this plays out. I love these two and I need to stay invested in their lives for a lot longer.

You can purchase What If It’s Us via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

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