What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera & Becky Albertalli | Review

Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC. All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own and receiving a copy of the book did not impact my views. 


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Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Release Date: October 9th, 2018

Dates Read: August 16th, 2018 – August 16th, 2018

Trigger Warnings: a homophobic scene on a train which escalates to threats, cheating, ignorant comments about race (called out), panic attacks

Pages: 448

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: young adult, contemporary, romance, LGBT+

Goodreads blurb:

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?


 R E V I E W 

I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed in What If It’s Us. I didn’t expect a lot from this book and it still managed to disappoint me and drive me to a breaking point. I am a fan of Adam Silvera’s books but Becky Albertalli books have never been for me. Combining two authors in which I have such differing opinions on was really interesting for me to jump in to, I was expecting for this to not be my favourite but I wasn’t expecting to not enjoy it as much as I did. What If It’s Us is a book that plays of miscommunication and jealousy to form chemistry throughout the book. I don’t like either of these tropes. What If It’s Us also relies heavily on pop culture references to push forward the story, in a way that feels as if they’re being shoved down your throat. I truly feel sorry for anyone who isn’t a fan of the musical Hamilton that tries to pick this book up.

What If It’s Us follows two teenage boys in New York. They both come from extremely different backgrounds and have an extremely different romantic history. Hell, the pair meet in a post office when Ben is sending a box of things his ex got him back to his ex.

Arthur is from Georgia, he has two best friends, Jewish and is in New York for the summer to intern at a law firm that his mum works at. Arthur is full of jealousy. The guy gets jealous over everything. Another male could blink at Ben and I think that Arthur would full over as he reached for assumptions. Arthur truly had no personality throughout this novel. He completely and utter is happy to follow Ben around. His personality stems from liking musicals, which is truly the extent of it all. Oh, and that he liked Instagram. That quickly ebbed out of the story though as Ben came more into play. Arthur truly lost his personality and struggles.

I feel we get to know Ben more throughout the story. Ben grew up in New York and is Puerto Rican. There are some interesting discussions about race and how Ben is white passing. However, throughout the book, it is clear that Ben is not over his ex-boyfriend, Hudson. No matter how the authors tried to play it. It was so clear that Ben was still into Hudson, no matter how much they tried to force Arthur as the love interest. Ben is cagey and embarrassed about going to summer school, but he at least has some character development through the book. Which I was thankful for because this story truly feels like it comes to a standstill.

There are a couple things I liked about this book. However, they can usually be contradicted with something I didn’t like. Which is unfortunate, but I guess I’ll get started.

I guess I liked the fact that the characters text in full words. It was nice to see that the text language in this book read like actual teenagers. That’s all I have for this point.

Both Ben and Arthur’s families are incredibly supportive of their sons being gay. There are no homophobic comments being made by either parent and they actually get together for a dinner, which was nice to see. Both parents just support their sons a lot, which was truly great, I feel there aren’t enough supportive parents in YA fiction. However, this book had disappearing parents. Whenever something important was playing into the story the parents were suddenly gone. They also let their kids out at all hours of the night that seemed confusing to me. I know it’s New York, but bad things happen there and I don’t think I’d want my kid walking around the streets late at night.

The other thing I liked about this book was that it was sex-positive and promoted safe sex. I know it’s not that big of a deal, but it is always nice to see that combo in a YA book. I don’t really have a negative to back up this claim. This was basically the only other thing I did like about this book though, which is unfortunate.

To start off, the two authors writing a story together can always end up messy. The characters voices may get lost or they may simply not work together. I feel that with What If It’s Us. This book lacked that BAM that the authors needed in their execution. It was truly lacking in spark and flare. It was as if combining the authors made them lose the spark from their solo books that I hear everyone talk about.

Have you ever read a book where there is zero chemistry? What If It’s Us is the book to pick up if you haven’t but are curious. Obviously, I’ve only read the eARC, but oh boy. Ben and Arthur straight up have no chemistry, hell on their first date Ben spends the whole time thinking about Hudson. If that wasn’t bad enough, the pairs best friends also have their own relationships going. Ben’s best friend with a girl from a coffee shop and Arthur’s two best friends getting together. We all come together at one stage of the book and the story feels…stagnant for lack of better word. The characters have no spark by themselves let alone with a romantic love interest.

If you don’t like excessive pop culture references playing into your books, avoid this one. Hamilton is a major plot point throughout this book. They discuss the musical in depth and Arthur thinks of Lin Manuel-Miranda so many times. It just wasn’t interesting. It was wasted page space and this book was already longer than it should be. I am a massive Hamilton fan too. I made all my friends listen to it and I even rapped it while drunk at a party, but I didn’t talk about it this extensively. This book made me hate Hamilton. Also, were Becky and Adam sponsored by Lyft? This book mentioned Lyft so much that it was literally strange. I don’t get why it had always had to be ‘I’m calling a Lyft’ like okay? Just say you’re calling a ride?

Finally, the romance in this book is whirlwind as hell. The characters have been seeing each other for two months and they said ‘I love you’, yikes. Not only that but the whole plotline and basis of their relationship stems from jealousy and miscommunication. I have never been more frustrated than I was reading What If It’s Us. Ben is the master of keeping secrets or simply withholding information and Arthur is the master at jumping to conclusions and getting angry. Honestly, it was exhausting to see Arthur get mad because Ben had been late. I just wanted to scream at them to break up and end the story. Obviously, that didn’t happen because there are 400 pages of this book and I like to torture myself. The miscommunications in this book were annoying as well. I just can’t. Arthur had no reason to leap so hard for the conclusions he did and I really don’t get why Ben withheld so much damn information. In real life, and in this book actually, this couple would be extremely toxic. They both seemed incredibly clingy, as did their friends, in a way that still makes me a little uncomfortable and it’s been 12 hours since I finished the book.

Overall, no way do I recommend What If It’s Us. I enjoyed some elements of the book and the fact it was diverse is great. However, that doesn’t mean that this book was perfect and is above criticisms. I’m interested to see other peoples opinions once this book does release and I do feel it will be loved by many. I just can’t, in good faith, recommend it when the story is weak and the characters bland. I truly hope another edit happens for this book because it needs it.

Star-DividerHappy reading everyone!

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27 thoughts on “What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera & Becky Albertalli | Review

  1. I’ve read two Silvera books and thoroughly enjoyed them (definitely want to read them all)but I’ve only liked one of three Albertali books. I’m hesitant to start this because I don’t know how their styles will work together for me and by the looks of it I’m not going to love the romance. Maybe one day though hm. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! This is definitely a book that is okay to sideline for a later date (at least in my opinion). Hopefully you enjoy Silvera’s other books + this one if you pick it up!


  2. “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” — YUP.

    “I didn’t expect a lot and it still managed to disappoint me” — ALSO YUP.

    As someone who only knows a little bit about Hamilton and has literally no interest whatsoever in furthering my knowledge of it, holy fucking shit, did those references get old SO FAST. It’s funny that you mentioned that you felt sorry for anyone who wasn’t a fan, though, because I thought to myself at one point, “Wow, there are so many people like me who undoubtedly will not be able to appreciate LITERALLY ANY of these references.”

    Okay, what else… the jealousy, YEAH. I had a major issue with that. And you’re right, Arthur has no real personality besides musicals. And Ben, ugh. I also felt like it was so obvious that he was still into Hudson and I got super tired of the book pretending otherwise.

    The parent thing! (!!!!!!) Augh! I loved both sets of parents but I legit was CONCERNED multiple times over how absent they all were. Like, when Arthur is going to meet Ben, and they’re just all “have a good time!” and I’m over here like, “the fuck, y’all, this child is 17 years old and five and a half feet tall walking around looking like a rich little snack and you’re just gonna let him go meet randos who may or may not be serial killers????”

    And the no chemistry complaint — WORD. I can’t tell you at how many different points while reading it, I thought, “Well, THIS will never last.” I should’ve kept a running tally of just how many different spots made that thought run through my head. AUGH. I’m sorry this comment has been so damn long, but as usual, AMBER, YOU GET ME. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • I absolutely love when you do these comments. They make me feel so seen and like someone’s really read my review (does that make sense?)

      I still feel that even if you are a fan of Hamilton, it would be difficult to still be after this book. I feel this book would make you never want to actually hear this mentioned every again. The fact there were literal pages discussing Lin Manuel Miranda. Like, why? Was it Adam and Becky literally speaking through their characters?

      The authors really never made it clear that Ben was over Hudson. It just made me feel sorry for Arthur (no matter how much he annoyed me).

      Holy shit same! I don’t know if maybe my mum’s just drilled into me the dangers of society + my love of true crime has morphed my view but like??? My mum would not be pushing me to post an ad on craig list (or whatever it was, we don’t have it in Australia so I didn’t even understand it lmao).

      I am literally so damn glad that someone understands what I went through with this cursed book! I am sorry you didn’t enjoy this book but ugh I love discussing with you books we didn’t enjoy (and ones we did obviously). Thank you so much for your comment. Seriously Destiny, made my day ♥

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha it does make sense!! I’m just glad it doesn’t get on your nerves! ♥

        Oh my god, what you said about Becky and Adam speaking through their chapters honestly feels like you’re hitting the nail on the fucking head. Self-insert much?

        Bahaha it’s like… this really anonymous site where people post sales ads, free stuff, “in search of” stuff, etc. It has a personals section where people can find sexual partners, new friends, etc., and then of course the missed connections they talk about in the book. But like… it legit has the potential to be SKETCHY AS FUCK. There are so many scammers on there and worse. In the town I used to live in, the police department actually opened up a section of their lobby that would stay unlocked at all times JUST so people could come in to that little walkway and meet Craigslist people with the protection of the cops being right there (and cameras and all), because an elderly woman went to meet someone for a puppy or something and they got there and murdered her. 😦 And this was in a town that had legitimately, like, NO violent crime rates at all, so it’s not like that was normal. If Isaac were old enough, I would never ever ever ever encourage him to meet people on Craigslist!

        Awww, your review made my day and I love having these chats with you!! ♥♥

        Liked by 1 person

      • oh my god craigslist actually sounds so fucked. i can’t believe his dad was pushing him to do that??? that’s so scary about your town too! like my heart actually dropped. i’m guessing Isaac is your son (i ADORE that name!) and i can understand why you wouldn’t! it seems too dangerous to risk it!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve come across a few negative reviews of this one and I’m so sad about it. I was so excited to see these two authors write together, but I guess, even if you are amazing on your own, it doesn’t mean you’ll be amazing together. I love Hamilton, but tons of references sounds like overkill. Sorry this one wasn’t as great as it promised to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review, Amber! ❤ I think this is the first negative review I’ve seen of this book, I’m always wary of two authors writing a book together – it can go very great or be a total mess 🙈 I’m still somewhat interested in it, but I loved your review ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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