Review: What if it’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera


What if it’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

Pub. Date: October 9, 2018

Publisher: Balzer & Bray/HarperTeen

Pages: 448

Format: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook

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A brief synopsis:

Arthur’s ready for a day working at his summer internship in New York City, at the law firm where his dad works. He’s on the way back from grabbing a coffee when he spots a tall young kid around his age walk into the post office. In a split second decision, he follows him in.

Ben is at the post office trying to mail a box of his exes stuff back; how is shipping so expensive? This guy starts talking to him; he’s kind of cute, and they hit it off. A few minutes later they’re split up in the chaos of a marching band flash mob and lose each other in the fray.

As they both go on about their separate days, Arthur can’t stop thinking about Box Boy, and Ben’s mind is occupied by the conversation with Arthur at the post office. But how do you find someone in a city of 8.5 million? After a multimedia scavenger hunt, through exes Instagrams and minute details remembered from the encounter, they somehow make it back together. But their rekindled relationship is not off to a good start. Can they make it work in real life when it works so well in their heads? Two staple contemporary authors of today come together for a modern sightseeing tour of New York City as the reader navigates the waters with Ben and Arthur, incorporating the elements of storytelling they are both well-known for–cute relationships and heartbreak. This sweet and engrossing story feels like a summer rom-com and the Albertalli/Silvera duo works well to create two characters with traces of themselves, as well as an interesting narrative.

My thoughts:

“Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera” is all I needed to hear before dropping everything I was reading and picking this up; the eARC couldn’t load fast enough on my Kindle. Wow, this book was a really enjoyable, feel-good romp (I just wanted to use that word, but it feels accurate). I am a sucker for contemporaries that feel like they could happen and where the setting is so present you feel like you’re there. Maybe it’s because I was just in NYC a month before I read this, but I was really feeling the setting. It was so vivid and painted a vibrant picture in my head. The story at its heart is cute; I loved the first couple chapters and was definitely invested in their story. It plays out honestly like a movie; like something a little too crazy that wouldn’t happen in real life but also that it definitely could and would, especially in the age where you can find everything on the internet. It has some characters whom I would love to meet; the twins with the handlebar mustaches stole the show, and Arthur’s coworkers were people I would love to work with. Arthur and Ben were, it seemed, pretty personal characters for Becky and Adam; Adam’s character is hard at work on a fantasy novel, and if you follow Adam on Twitter you know he was as well. There are Harry Potter references in the book, which is great, and Adam and Becky both love HP. I could not for the life of me keep them straight in my head in the beginning, due to the alternating POVs and the fact that Arthur kept referring to Ben as “Box Boy”. I finally got it sorted out with the alliteration of Box Boy Ben, and the opposite letters factor: Adam writes Ben, and Becky writes Arthur.  Another thing I want to point out about the characters is that they were 16 years old, but they felt a lot older. They didn’t seem like teens, they honestly felt like 25-year-olds with everything they did, and like 8-year-olds when they got into arguments. They seemed to make really mature decisions but also snap very quickly, which did not make me feel like I was reading about kids my age. I have to say that I really enjoyed the supporting characters, especially Dylan and Samantha. Dylan seemed like a fun guy to be friends with.

I keep seeing reviews of people flipping out about it, and while I really enjoyed this story it didn’t impact me as much as Simon vs. did, for example, which is a high standard, but going into this with all the rave reviews and promo my expectations were skyscraper high. I’d definitely recommend giving this book a read; it’s contemporary read fit for the summer.


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