Thursday, October 11, 2018

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

* * * * *

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?

Source: advance e-galley provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Before I get going I want to put this out there: I am an ardent fan of both Albertalli and Silvera. I love them for all the warm fuzzies and waterworks that their books bring on, and that the two of them have combined their superpowers to write a book together is nothing short of magical!

What If It's Us starts with a meet-cute at a post office of all places. Arthur sees a hot boy walking in to the post office with a large box. For a good-looking guy Arthur is willing to take a little detour and so follows him inside and strikes up a conversation with him. The boy, Ben is returning his ex-boyfriend's belongings and this gives Arthur hope that maybe Ben will be interested in him. Now before you go thinking he's being stalkery, Arthur is the sweetest guy who has only recently come out. He's never had a boyfriend before but his willingness to put himself out there is so darn admirable. Ben who's dated before is the one who's hesitant. Arthur is the kind of guy who believes in fate but before things can go any further they're abruptly separated and all they have is the other's first name. They do eventually find each other (social media to the rescue!) and then they embark on a series of dates, some hits, some misses, getting to know each other along the way. They only have a limited amount of time as Arthur does have to head back to Georgia at the end of the summer. In the meantime, they're going to have the best summer ever.

The story that unfolds is definitely the best of both worlds with Albertalli and Silvera taking us on an adventure as Ben takes Arthur around New York and Arthur learns the ins and outs of dating. What's interesting, too is the parallel subplots happening with regards to their own friends. Arthur's wondering if his coming out has negatively impacted his once close friendships back home and Ben's trying to figure out his own friendships which may or may not include being amicable to his ex. 

There's so much joy in reading What If It's Us. I was expecting to cry because let's face it, Silvera has a history of doing that to us but that wasn't the case this time. This is a heartfelt, coming-of-age story and I was especially touched by the ending. I love it because only is it realistic, it offers such an open and optimistic view of love and life. Their time together in New York has changed them and you can witness that as Ben and Arthur mature into the impressive men they're becoming. You definitely need to add this to your reading list now!

~ Bel

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