REVIEW: What if it’s us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli
TITLE: What if it’s us
AUTHORS: Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli
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 nail a first date even after three do-overs?
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?
What if you are not a New Yorker in New York and you accidentally meet the cutest guy ever just outside a post office? What would you do? Would you get inside even if you don’t need to? Arthur’s answer to this question is “Hell, yes!”. And that’s how he meets the love of his life, that kind of love the universe sends you and from which you can’t escape.
Arthur is a teenager from Georgia who is spending the summer in New York with his parents because of his mum’s job and in the meantime he’s taking an intership at the law firm where she works. Arthur is a romantic dreamer: he’s the kind of guy who stops in the middle of a street to admire the sunset between the skyscrapers of the city and who is openly gay but has never been in a relationship before; he loves the idea of love and he dreams to find a person who loves him fiercely. Ben, the cute guy at the post office, on the contrary has just ended an important relationship with Hudson and he doesn’t know if he is ready to meet someone new. Nevertheless Arthur is sure enough for both of them and he does everything he can to find out the identity of the guy he was stucked by at the post office; he knows nothing about him, not even his name… And that’s how they story begins.
Silvera and Albertalli alternate Ben’s and Arthur’s points of view and lead us through their search for each other and the haphazardness that allows them to meet again. Let’s call it serendipity; Arthur says it is the universe that wants them together.
This book is an enjoyable teen romance, a story of first love and stitched up hearts; it’s a story of wonder, trust, first times and discovery of oneself. The two main characters have quite opposite dispositions, but thanks to their differences they succeed in improving themselves, as a couple and as individuals.
The authors introduced some very nice moments, such as the first date “do-overs”, Ben’s passion for writing and Arthur’s adorable and unstopping chatting. Arthur was for sure my favourite character, since I loved his spontaneity in being himself, a sparly, lively himself.
Among the side characters we find the protagonists’ friends: Dylan, who Ben has known for his entire life and who is obsessed with coffee; Samantha, that is to say Dylan’s new love interest; Hudson and Harriet, Ben’s and Dylan’s exes with whom they have a very complicated relationship; Ethan and Jesse, Arthur’s best friends; and then the parents… The picture is quite big, but of course the whole attention is focused on Ben and Arthur.
I really enjoyed the reading, even though I can’t describe this novel as the book that will change your life: it’s just nice and it will make you smile, feeling the fresh wind of young confident love.
Just a note to conclude this review: I’m not sure I appreciated the ending and the copious references to the “universe”. I don’t know if the athours wanted to recreat the atmosphere of The sun is also a star or something like that, but in my opinion they didn’t successfully reach their aim.
Do you know these authors? What do you think about this novel?