What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
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?
⭐⭐ Two Stars – A disappointing read that never hooked me enough to finish
I want to preface this review with the fact that I did not finish the book because it never hooked me enough to make me want to keep reading. So I’m sorry if the story improves toward the end.
I wanted so much to like this book. I got it soon after it came out and was extremely excited to read a popular book about a love story between two guys. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I really looked forward to reading a book that would allow me to connect with the characters in a way that most other books will never do. But after reading over half the book, I never felt connected to the characters.
With the story being written in multiple point of views between the two main characters, it has the unique opportunity to really flesh out the characters and develop them in a way that makes you feel connected to them. But this never did. And the struggles that each go through as a gay teen don’t encapsulate the experience of the vast majority of guys out there, including myself. I love the idea of writing the story in a way that makes it almost a utopia, where being gay is considered normal by everyone around you. But in doing so, it takes away any kind of relatability it seeks to have with the readers, which is what I personally look for in a book.
Speaking of relatability, the way Arthur and Ben eventually couple up seemed like a cop out and way too much of fantasy. I picked up the book with full awareness that it would be a meet-cute type of story, so I can prepare myself for situations that likely would never happen in real life. And as long as they’re written a way that allows you to hope for that to happen to you one day, those situations can be perfectly acceptable and even fun to read. But when Arthur and Ben proceed to find each other in ways that any normal person would deem creepy and stalkery, I’m not left with any of that hope, only confusion and the three words of WTF?
I wanted to share my real opinion about this book not to bash it and discourage others to read it. Instead, I’m seeking to outline what could have been stronger in hopes that that book will one day be written and published for the masses. A true and relatable love story between two guys that connects the reader to the characters in the special way that we all deserve.