What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
A Book Review by Mina Nguyen
What If It’s Us is a fast-paced, coming-of-age, fated universe contemporary romance. When Arthur meets Ben at the post office, it’s an instant click. As they continue their conversation, Arthur deems that it’s fate: the universe wanted them to meet; however, their conversation ends as a proposal with a dance number splits them up. In order to find Ben again, Arthur tries everything: toying with the idea of putting up a Craigslist missed communication ad, going to the same post office again (multiple times), and major instagram stalking but nothing works until Arthur remembers the shirt Ben was wearing of a local cafe. In one last attempt to find Ben, Arthur puts up a poster of a picture of Ben at the cafe, hoping that Ben might see it and give the universe another chance at letting them meet up.
I got this book at the Andover Public Library Book Sale for a dollar, and it was a signed edition, and I’m so glad I picked it up. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. It was super fast-paced and really funny; I laughed a couple of times. Both these characters were extremely lovable and super relatable. I’m usually not a fan of the “fated love” trope since it’s almost always cheesy, but this book did a great job of making it youthful and hopeful. It was really well done. The romance was really fast, but it makes sense due to the book being revolved around high school relationships. While I’m not a big fan of the miscommunication trope, both characters were able to fix their mistakes quickly, without it being blown up. I also enjoyed the discussions of the pressure of being a first timer in romance and trying to plan everything perfectly down to the first date clothes. It was super relatable, and it showed how some dates/clothing options might not be perfect, but firsts in romance can still be enjoyable without it being exactly perfect.
Besides the romance, I also enjoyed the family and friend aspects of the book. A lot of LGBTQ+ books often discuss how some parents are non-accepting of their children’s identity which also happens in real life, more often than not, but I loved how this book had both sets of parents who were extremely accepting which is rarely seen in LGBTQ+ books. The friendship dynamics were super healthy and supporting. The side characters each had their own personalities and their own lives besides being there to move the main characters along. I also loved how this book discusses and normalizes not always excelling in school. A lot of books always have characters being the smartest person with the biggest aspirations, but I loved how this book had characters who weren’t always the best in school and characters who didn’t know what they wanted to do in the future, which is a more realistic description of high school teens. This book also did a great job of explaining the difficulties of trying to be a person of color but also white passing. This book had so many important elements for a coming-of-age book.
I definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy a happier, bubblier read. It’s super fast-paced with a bunch of Broadway references. The romance was cute and the characters are worth investing in; they’re down-to-earth and very relatable. This is a great book for those who enjoy dual point of views and the divine universe/fated romance love without it being too cheesy.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera / Simon vs. the Homo sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli / Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz / I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston / The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes