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

Wednesday 13 November 2019

I became a Becky Albertalli fan after reading Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda. It’s now one of my favorite books of all time. They Both Die In The End Adam Silvera has been on my TBR list for a little under a year now and I just started listening to it. So a book written by both of them sounds like a sure fire win, right? Here’s my review:

What If It's Us has a simple but cute premise. Sixteen-year-old Arthur is in New York for the summer. He’s originally from Georgia but has an internship with his mother’s law firm. One day he’s off on a coffee run and he meets Ben, a handsome young man who is on his way to the post office to mail a box filled with his ex-boyfriend’s belongings. The two hit it off but before they can exchange any information, even their names, they get separated by a sudden flash mob. Can Arthur and Ben find each other again? If they do, was their chemistry a sign? Or just a flash in the pan? And if they do really hit it off, what happens when the summer ends and Arthur has to go back home?

If you couldn’t tell by the premise, this is a YA romance novel. That alone may scare some people off. My review of this book may do little to ease your mind if you’re one of those people. Trust me. I did enjoy this book. It was enjoyable and cute. But I cringed more than if Wolverine did his claws on a chalkboard.

Arthur and Ben were very realistic teenagers, for better and worse. I think part of what made me cringe so much was my memory of being their age and being like both of them. I had to remind myself multiple times during the book that the two main characters may be teenagers, but they’re still kids. There are quite a few times where both characters made stupid decisions and made a big deal out of nothing. I think that’s part of what made them realistic. I too remember having fights with friends over embarrassingly dumb stuff and thinking my life was over because some trivial thing happened. Both Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera’s strengths are their characters. They feel like real people. If one day it was revealed that all of their books were based off real people, I wouldn’t be surprised. 

While this book is technically a YA romance, I think that YA slice-of-life is a much better genre. I know, slice-of-life is not technically a genre, but I think it fits so well that I’m going with it anyway. Anime gets a slice-of-life genre, why can’t American stuff too? What do I mean by slice-of-life? This story feels like we’re peeping in on someone’s everyday life. That this could actually happen. That nothing too extraordinary happens that would require a suspension of disbelief. The type of story that you could sum up with one word. Quaint. 

At the end of the day this book was enjoyable. It was a cute story about young love and issues that modern kids would face. The characters are realistic, the story is realistic, and I found myself rooting for true love to win the day. If you’re looking for a nice romance, or even a good LGBT book, then this could be for you.

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera gets an 8 out of 11

I wouldn’t be able to consider this review complete without giving a few spoiler free examples of the cringiness from this book. Arthur feels like a stereotypical drama kid. He’s obsessed with the Broadway play Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen and can’t even comprehend why anyone wouldn’t also be a fan. He gushes over it so much I can just see him tweeting "Hamilton is life." Ben is writing a story called The Wicked Wizard War where he’s the main character and he puts all of his friends and family members in the book and it sounds like bad fan fiction. Also, Ben is in summer school and is so embarrassed! Can you imagine something as embarrassing as summer school? Yes. Yes I can imagine a lot of things more embarrassing as summer school. Out of context some of these things may not seem like big deals, but in context, when the characters were treating these like big deals, I was dying.

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