What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera – REVIEW
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?
“There’s something about him. It’s this tug in my chest. It’s this feeling like I have to know him, like it’s inevitable.”
When I heard Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera were writing a book together, I imagined Andy and April from Parks and Recreation. I was expecting an adorable romance with a bittersweet ending but this exceeded my expectations. I’m still thinking about Ben and Arthur months after finishing. The story takes place in New York over one summer as Arthur interns at his mother’s workplace and Ben attends summer school. The iconic setting is almost another character in the story and it’s made me want to visit New York as soon as I can.
“I guess that’s any relationship. You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.”
After a perfect meet cute and film-worthy beginning to their relationship, the pressure on Ben and Arthur to have an amazing first date is quite crippling. I loved how Becky and Adam didn’t shy away from the reality and awkwardness of getting to know someone, and their three ‘first dates’ show how hard Ben and Arthur are willing to work at a relationship. The heightened emotions of teenage love are easily relatable and I imagine any teenagers will find kindred spirits in Ben and Arthur. The writing was engaging and humorous, and I found myself unable to put the book down until I’d finished.
“I just have no idea what our next chapters look like. What kind of ending we need to brace ourselves for.”
One of my favourite elements was all the musical theatre references. This book is the reason I’ve been listening to the soundtracks of Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton on repeat (the title comes from the beautiful Only Us from Dear Evan Hansen). As usual, there are also numerous Harry Potter references, which is basically how I refer to everything.
The epilogue is set fifteen months later at college and I adored the deep feelings Ben and Arthur still share. The realistic ending was perfectly handled and happier than I expected. I loved it so much that I’ve preordered the signed edition from Canada for my collection. If you want a beautiful contemporary YA romance then you need to read this.