Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Book Review: What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

What If It's Us
Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a show-stopping 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?

Todd's rating:

I guess that’s every relationship. You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.”

I LOVED this story so damn hard!

And I absolutely HATED HATED HATED how it ended!!!

The entire story was compelling and full of humor, which immediately hooked me and left me dying to find out what was going to happen next.


The book ended with no HEA, not even an HFN.

Only a "what if", where *IF* they end up living in the same city at the same time *MAYBE* they *MIGHT* pick up where they left off, instead of remaining forever in The Friend Zone.

After going through everything they did (they had FOUR "first dates" FFS!!!) to finally become a "we", the romantic in me hates that shit with the heat of 10,000 suns.

Yes, I understand when authors don't want to write the typical romance, but an epilogue with them together, finally, even 10 years down the road, that would've left me feeling as if this were a much more fulfilling story.

BUT (again)...

Until Arthur left NYC, never actually 'seeing' Ben again (at least outside of FaceTime -- for over a YEAR, with zero plans to meet up again, UGH!), the book was nearly absolutely perfect.

Right from the beginning, Arthur was completely blurty and adorable, while Ben was a bit more of a guarded, cool character, and I loved them both immediately.

Some of the lengths that Arthur went to to find his Missed Connection at the post office were bordering on stalker'ish, but nonetheless endearing. He was determined to get a second chance with the boy of his dreams, full stop.

When they finally reconnected, though, their relationship wasn't immediate and effortless. They kept having repeated do-overs of their first date, but neither of them were ready to give up, because they *did* have a true connection. They just needed to find their rhythm, which they eventually did.

The drama with the side-characters was a bit distracting, much like with Albertalli's "Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda", but I couldn't get enough of Ben's girl-crazy, best friend, Dylan, who reminded me an awful lot of Stiles from Teen Wolf.
Dylan calls me on FaceTime as I’m getting ready to meet up with Arthur.

“Hey,” I say. I’m naked from the top up because I’m not sure which shirt I want to wear yet.

“Morning strip show,” he says. “Dylan like.”
Their close, usually-easy, nerdy friendship was a joy to read about and I wanted more.

Both sets of parents were also great here, too, being completely supportive, going above and beyond the call of duty for their respective boys.

So yeah, the book was 'mostly' great, but I'm taking off a half-star due to the truly disappointing lack of an HFN or HEA and rating it at 4.5 stars, because the rest of the book was just that good.

** Pro Tip:

If you aren't a huge musical theater fan, like I'm not, do yourself a huge favor in following the story and watch the YouTube video of Ben Platt and Laura Dreyfuss perform ‘Only Us’ from ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ (below) *before* getting too far into the story.



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