Sunday 30 September 2018

Book Review: What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (YA/MM)

Title: What If It's Us
Author: Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: 9 October 2018
eBook - PDF
ARC via NetGalley


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?

I went into What If It's Us willing to be impressed. I knew both the authors had excellent reputations, and I'd enjoyed the film Love, Simon. Unfortunately, despite this open attitude, What If It's Us fell a little flat for me. I'm trying to think how to describe it, and I guess it boils down to the fact that it was a mix of too much and not enough. I enjoyed the pop references; however, they went over the top at times. The story was cute, but after 400 pages that level of cuteness began to grate. Also, everything happened too fast. The relationship between Ben and Arthur was instalove, and progressed at a pretty unimaginable rate, even though it was clear to me early on that they weren't exactly a match made in heaven. I certainly didn't hate this book, and I found it generally entertaining, but it always felt like there was something missing. It lacked any real substance. That said, kudos to the authors for great diversity, wonderful LGBT-positive character portrayals and showing a good attitude towards safe sex and mutual respect. I'm sure there are plenty of readers who will adore this story, but personally I would have liked less cuteness and more depth. So many times I rolled my eyes, wanting to knock some sense into the two boys. Also, as a side note, the title is really bugging me. Maybe it's just because I'm an editor, but every time I look at the cover, I grimace. The title is clearly a question, so where is the question mark? Punctuation gripes aside, I am rating this book 3.5 stars. It has some good things going for it, but it simply didn't quite hit the mark for me.

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