Title: What if It’s Us
Authors: Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: October 9th, 2018
My Rating: ★★★★★
This will be a spoiler free review.
I’d like to thank Edelweiss and HarperTeen for providing me with an eARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
First I’d like to say that the two authors of this are absolute legends and I’m still in complete awe that they actually wrote a book together. Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera have written some of the most impactful books I’ve ever read. I mean, these two have genuinely helped me in more ways than I can explain through their writing. Adam Silvera encouraged me finally address my mental health issues, and Becky Albertalli helped me laugh at a book after I wasn’t able to for a long time. That’s probably sad to bring up, or sounds dramatic, but it’s very true. The fact that they wrote a book together is so special to me.
But the point is, these two brilliant authors made this book what it ended up being: heartwarming, hilarious, a little emotional, and one beautiful love story. You can truly feel that this story came from the both of them.
We start off this book with two teenagers named Arthur and Ben who meet by chance at a post office in New York City. A POST OFFICE. IN NEW YORK CITY. Their beginning took meet-cute to an entirely new level. But, epic beginnings don’t always mean the rest will be easy, right? First, Arthur and Ben get separated without exchanging contact information. Then, even after they are reunited, it turns out that their story still might not go as smoothly as they hoped it would. They try time and time again to make their first dates perfect and to make their story as legendary as their beginning, but life and love aren’t always that simple.
I became so invested in Arthur and Ben’s journey and their efforts to try and make it work. They were faced with tons of difficulties and made many mistakes, but I was rooting for them the entire time. And while it was hard to see them struggle, it was still incredibly well written and one of the most realistic portrayals of a new relationship that I’ve ever read. This wasn’t insta-love, and neither of these characters were perfect, but that was what I loved about it. Their relationship felt like it could happen in real life.
The characters themselves were complex, unique, and had such distinct personalities. Arthur is a lot of fun; he’s talkative, outgoing, hilarious, and had his adorably awkward moments. Our other lead, Ben, is more laid back, tentative, completely sweet, and on his own journey of self-discovery. Of course, they each had plenty of flaws, but that only made feel more connected to them. I truly ended up loving Arthur and Ben with my entire heart, both individually and together.
Besides Arthur and Ben, we also have some excellent side characters who make up for some great friend and family dynamics. All of the characters were meaningful and had vital roles in this story. I especially liked the friendship between Ben and his long-time best friend, Dylan. Dylan was hilarious and supportive, and it was nice to see the portrayal of a healthy male friendship since we don’t see those often enough in books.
One more note I’d like to make is how much I appreciated the amount of diversity and representation in this book. The two main characters are not only gay, but Ben is Puerto Rican. Arthur is Jewish, and he also has ADHD. I especially loved that we got to explore Ben’s struggle with his racial identity. That was such a critical part of this story that I don’t want to get overlooked. We also get some insight on Arthur’s struggle with ADHD in the past, and how he is able to cope with it now. Of course, the inclusion of mental health issues in books will always be important to me. Several of the other characters are also diverse in their race and sexuality, and I was just very thankful to see this much representation in one book.
All in all, we have this realistically written new relationship, diverse and lovable characters, a unique plot, cute moments, difficult situations, and a love story between two teenagers who are learning a lot about themselves and each other. And if that’s not 5 stars, I don’t know what is.
There’s a lot more I want to talk about (like the perfect amount of Broadway and Harry Potter references), but I don’t want to make this too long or spoil anything. Just know that this book is absolutely extraordinary.
I just really cannot wait for you guys to read this. You’re going to love this one so much. And I promise it’s going to be worth the wait.
Have you read any books by Adam Silvera or Becky Albertalli? Are you excited to read this one? What are you looking forward to the most? Let me know in the comments!!