What if It's Us by Becky Albertelli and Adam Silvera
|What If It's Us by Becky Albertelli and Adam Silvera|
|Reviewer: Morgan Melchor|
|Summary: Two very different YA giants collaborating on an LGBT book? What could could go wrong? Although Silvera and Albertelli are known for different styles (particularly their endings), this pair have written a winner of a book. Two boys meet in a mail room in New York and pretty much hit it off straight away. But then they can't find each other. Is the universe pulling them together or pushing them apart? Great fun read with two distinctive voices shining through: a sure bestseller.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 448||Date: October 2018|
|Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's UK|
|External links: Author's website|
I believe in love at first sight. Fate, the universe, all of it. But not how you're thinking. I don't mean it in the our souls were split and you're my other half forever and ever sort of way. I just think you're meant to meet some people. I think the universe nudges them into your path.
What If It's Us is one of those books that just gives you a boost when you need it. A feel good, fun and easy read. I was surprised at the collaboration of Silvera and Albertalli – one known for happy endings, the other for tragedy – but they really work together well. Each takes a character and their voices are so distinct, so real, that you are immediately sucked in.
Arthur and Ben meet by complete accident at a mail room in New York. For Arthur, it's love at first sight; for Ben, things are more complicated right after a painful break up. Then they lose each other. Arthur is only in New York for a summer intern position (his parents are loaded), so how will they find each other, without even their names?
Fate seems to nudge them back together, with a lot of effort on Arthur's part, and the couple are reunited. But when their first date goes wrong, then their 'do-over' first date goes wrong, they start to question things. Maybe they aren't meant to be? Maybe lifeisn't a Broadway musical, maybe there is too much standing between them?
Both lead characters are easy to relate to, particularly Ben who struggles in school, forced to take summer classes to even get into the next grade: how can he measure up to genius Arthur? There's also an important side story about Ben not quite fitting into either the Puerto Rican world or the white world, something Arthur will never understand.
The juxtapositions between them are what make this novel, and it could only have been written by these two authors. Arthur's Jewish family, Ben's very Catholic family, Arthur's privileged background, Ben's family struggling to get by. Yet Ben's parents are happily in love, whilst Arthur fears a divorce lurks around the corner. Ben's boyfriend keeps popping up, making Arthur – only recently come out – intensely uncomfortable. In so many ways they are different, can they ever make this work?
This novel encapsulates what I would deem 'real' love. It's messy, it's confusing and it definitely isn't like a Broadway musical. It is also very authentically teenage and up-to-date, references including Harry Potter, Hamilton, The Sims and Dear Evan Hansen. This book is definitely a book to read NOW in 2018.
Finally, there are also some beautiful friendships on show here, which are often missing from romances. Ben's best friend Dylan is an amazing character, and I felt real empathy for Arthur's best friends, Jess and Ethan via their FaceTime calls. There isn't a character that I didn't love by the end.
But what happens in the end? Are they made for each other? What happens when Arthur has to leave New York at the end of the summer? You'll have to read it to find out. And I hope you do.
If you like the sound of What If It's Us, I would recommendMy Side Of The Story by Will Davis or try out some of Albertalli and Silvera's previous books.
You can read more book reviews or buy What if It's Us by Becky Albertelli and Adam Silvera at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy What if It's Us by Becky Albertelli and Adam Silvera at Amazon.com.
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