Hello, hello! Today I will be reviewing a collaborative project from 2018 by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli, What if it’s us (without the interrogation mark.) I would not be lying in saying that this book changed me. I’ll never be the same.
What if it’s us was recommended to me by Goodreads after I read Simon vs The Homo sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli whose review you can read Here. I have never read any of Adam Silvera’s books but I am really looking forward to reading them (one of his books is literally titled “They Both Die at the End” like woah, spoiler much? 😂)
My #RMM Rating: 4.5
(Read it. Just go read this.)
The synopsis was cliché but the type I was willing to read. The story is about two boys, Arthur and Ben. Arthur – a sixteen, soon to be seventeen year old – who is in NYC for the summer for an internship. He is a cute kid from Georgia and is the only child to lawyer mum and computer programmer dad. He has ADHD which makes an interesting character trait and defines most of his decisions and of course, he is gay.
Arthur happens to meet Ben – a Puerto Rican New Yorker – who was on a mission to mail a ‘Break-up Box’ to his ex. He is super geeky and really amazing human. He had recently broken up with his boyfriend (hence the Break-up Box) and naturally, he is not up for a new relationship right off the bat.
When they meet they don’t exchange names (not really) or numbers and they go their separate ways like many strangers do who meet by chance. But of course, this is not how the story ends.
This book is about the efforts both Arthur and Ben take to reunite and when they finally find each other within the masses of New York City (which is some miracle, really and super cute) they have to work harder towards their relationship which is a train wreak from the beginning and later on is going to wreak your heart.
This book is written in First Person with POV shifting between Arthur and Ben throughout the book. That is something I don’t like in most novels but it works brilliantly for this story. What generally happens is that I like one POV more than the other or there are parts of story which I wish were from the other POV but that does not happen here. Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli have done a great job with storytelling.
The writing style and language is great. I sensed bits of similarity with Simon vs The Homo sapiens Agenda with Arthur which was a nice throwback but felt like a repetition at times. Like Simon vs The Homo sapiens Agenda, this story too was packed with popular culture references but it is not as jarring as Simon vs The Homo sapiens Agenda probably because I was desensitized to it after reading Simon vs The Homo sapiens Agenda (WTF is the acronym to Simon vs The Homo sapiens Agenda because shit that title is long.)
The ending, I liked it. I can see people might agreing with me but the ending was more practical and there was still some space, some hope for Arthur and Ben to be have a magical Hollywood ending after the book ends. (TBH I am hoping there will be a sequel)
I said this book changed my life and that was for two reasons.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda
Arthur is a drama-theater kid and he is obsessed with musicals like Dear Evan Hansel (which is great) and Hamilton (of course). Now, I knew about Hamilton but I was never motivated enough to go looking for it on our overload Google. And I knew about Lin-Manuel Miranda but again I had a polite respect for his art and it was not an obsession. Until I read What if it’s us.
Arthur convinces Ben to try out Hamilton and in attempts of convincing him, Arthur also convinced me to check it out and oh boy, oh boy. I am a super goner.
I am not American. I don’t know shit about American history and I spend an afternoon crying over America’s ten-dollar Founding Father Without A Father, Alexander Hamilton.
(I am literally listening to Hamilton right now as I am editing this post.)
You can Click Here to see,
what effect Hamilton has on me.
I am crying day and night.
It’s giving my parents fright.
Why does it have such a power over me?
Why am I writing in poetry?
I gotta stop, wait I gotta stop.
This blog, wait I gotta stop.
Let’s go back to What if it’s us review,
Before I start describing Hamilton
And what he has put me through.
Yup, it’s a problem.
Moving on to the Queer Factor. This story is cute, it’s adorable with great characters who are gay. That’s it. That the Queer Factor. The story itself does not much light on the life of people or struggles or anything from the LGBTQIA+ community. There are few instances like when Arthur is hesitant to holding hands and such in public because he isn’t sure if people would judge or not and there was this one verbal attack by a homophobic person. But that’s it and that was enough. Some light in our oppressed existence.
Both of them are out to their parents and people around them who are all very supportive and great. Let me tell you their parents are totally amazing and that got me kind of jealous.
So, should you read this book? Hell, yes! What are you waiting for?
It’s beautiful and all I want is a boyfriend like Ben… or Arthur.