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What If It's Us

Review

What If It's Us

Becky Albertalli is the best-selling author of several incredibly popular young adult novels. Her debut, SIMON VS. THE HOMO-SAPIENS AGENDA, became the film Love, Simon. She also wrote THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED and LEAH ON THE OFF-BEAT. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Adam Silvera is the bestselling author of three young adult novels. His first novel was MORE HAPPY THAN NOT, and he has since written HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME and THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END. WHAT IF IT’S US is the work of both authors and is their first collaborative novel.

Arthur is visiting NYC for the summer from his hometown of Milton, Georgia. He is working as an intern in his mom’s law firm. Ben is a New York native, spending his summer recovering from a breakup with his boyfriend Hudson and attending summer school. When Arthur and Ben meet at the post office, they don’t get each other’s names or numbers. But as both of their summers lead them to search for each other, they might just find each other amid the millions of people in NYC.

"If I had to name the one emotion that dominated my reading experience, it was happiness....I am thrilled that the plot of WHAT IF IT’S US goes for realness over perfection. "

Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera are some of my favorite authors and people. Having attended their events and signings multiple times, I knew WHAT IF IT’S US would impress. If I had to name the one emotion that dominated my reading experience, it was happiness. Not many authors even attempt collaborative novels like this one, let alone write something that we all love. Ultimately, WHAT IF IT’S US made me realize that I need to read all of the books Becky and Adam have written as soon as humanly possible.

WHAT IF IT’S US featured two main characters, clearly written by the respective authors who mirror their geographical background. Reading Becky’s novels with characters from where I live always adds another layer to the story. As someone who has never been to New York City but very much wants to visit, I adored the setting of WHAT IF IT’S US. With characters both visiting and living there, I loved reading from both views of the city. Arthur’s Georgia background made me connect with him, and he always seemed like he had just had a cup of coffee. Ben contrasted him in so many ways, but they were almost perfectly opposite from each other. I could never stop rooting for them to run into each other again. Full of “Hamilton” and “Dear Evan Hansen” references, this novel will undoubtedly appeal to many Broadway fans.

While the relationship between Ben and Arthur is the obvious forefront of the novel, the friendships, I would argue, were even more important. Ben’s best friend Dylan might have been the funniest and most interesting character in the story. Arthur’s rocky relationship with his best friends Jessie and Ethan is something he has to work on throughout the novel. Both Ben and Arthur relied on their friends to ultimately be there for them, and those friendships are some of my favorite parts of the story. Even Ben’s ex-boyfriend Hudson makes appearances so that Ben can figure out how he feels. Dylan’s love interest Samantha was another side character that I could not help but greatly appreciate. There is quite a fantastic cast of characters in this book that I do not often see.

This novel is longer than your average romance novel, but I quite appreciated the authors taking their time in developing Arthur and Ben as individual characters before putting them in a relationship. There is only one part of the story that I did not completely love. For some reason, Arthur and Ben’s voices were very similar, so I would forget which point of view I was reading from. Ultimately, I am thrilled that the plot of WHAT IF IT’S US goes for realness over perfection. It is very refreshing to have a book that just makes me feel happy about what I just read.

I highly recommend WHAT IF IT’S US to fans of Adam and Becky’s other works as well as those who want to try out both of their writing styles for the first time. Inherently a romance between two adorable characters, this collaboration is bound to be commended by those looking for a cute read. But the novel is also multifaceted, having more than just two characters but a collection of them who make it great. If you are looking for something that will leave you smiling, this is the book you need in your life.

Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board Member on October 16, 2018

What If It's Us
by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera