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What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

February 11, 2019

In New York City, you only see people once. At least, that’s what Ben—a New York native in summer school and recovering from a break-up—thought. Arthur believed it too, but he held his hopes out to see the boy of his dreams again in the city of his dreams. In What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, two sparklingly different voices take on a bumpy relationship while supported by comedic allies and challenged by crumbling friendships.

Arthur thinks of New York in terms of Broadway: a tourist, he fantasizes about a perfect romance full of singing and dancing.
Sometimes I feel like New Yorkers do New York wrong. Where are the people swinging from subway poles and dancing on fire escapes?

Meanwhile, Ben hardly notices the city at all.
Arthur catches me staring at him.
“Oh. I’m being an obvious New York noob.”
“You are. It’s cute. You still have the tourist glow. I can’t remember what it’s like to be wowed by Times Square. Or anything in New York.”

Since Arthur is in a rough patch with a friend back home in Georgia—that started the night he came out—his main support system lies in Namrata and Juliet, his fellow student interns at the law firm with him who advise him throughout the book. Ben has his lifelong friend Dylan at his side, and Dylan’s new girlfriend Samantha. They provide constant laughs to both Ben and the reader alike. With each boy armed with a back-up squad to assist in the mutual search for each other, the story is infinitely more genuine.

Albertalli and Silvera did a wonderful job at progressing the plot quickly so as to keep readers actively on their toes. Never was there a dull moment where I wanted to skip a scene. Every chapter is funny, refreshing, and affectionate, whether in a platonic, romantic, or parental way. There are cliffhangers and risky do-overs and emergencies and new experiences that surprise the reader every step along the way to the satisfying conclusion.

This book is by far the funniest novel I’ve ever read. There are one-liners delivered when you least expect it from characters you least expect and longer stories that had me in tears. Even when rereading sections, I continue to crack up.

Along with its comedic scenes, What If It’s Us is packed with tender moments spent together or apart that make this book even more special and give it a depth that humor can’t solely provide.

This rare gay teen romance holds a special place in my heart. You will fall in love with Ben and Arthur for their fun quirks, and root for them from page one.

Calla

HarperTeen, 433 pages


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