Title: What If It’s Us?
Author: Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
This is a sweet YA LGBTQ+ romance with possibly the best meet-cute I’ve ever read! Arthur and Ben meet in a post office in New York. Ben is posting a box of belongings back to his ex-boyfriend, and Arthur can’t resist saying hi. Ben lives in New York, and Arthur is only in the city for the summer, as an intern at his mother’s high-powered law firm. When the meet-cute ends (spectacularly!) without an exchange of contact details, Arthur decides to track Ben down. In a city the size of New York, how is he going to make contact?
What follows is a wonderfully realistic story. Disastrous dates, romantic plans gone wrong, and touchingly clumsy attempts at intimacy as Ben tries to move on from heartbreak, and Arthur navigates a relationship with his first boyfriend. Both boys have best friends who involve themselves in their romantic planning, and bring relationship dramas of their own to the story.
There’s a maturity about the book that reminds me of Forever by Judy Blume. Despite the amazing meet-cute and all the attempts at a successful date, there is no sense of a pre-destined future for Arthur and Ben. Throughout the book they are aware that Arthur will leave New York at the end of the summer, and this is not presented as a tragedy or a cause for heartbreak.
This is a sex-positive story, while being refreshingly messy and rejecting the idea of a perfect relationship. It doesn’t push the idea of an ideal partner, or a forever love-match, but allows the characters to enjoy the time they have together.
And what if it is going to work longer term? At least the boys understand that romance isn’t all hearts and flowers, and relationships require effort from both sides. A refreshingly down-to-earth story, and a romance without exaggerated drama.
Have you read What If It’s Us? What did you think of Arthur and Ben? Did their story feel real to you? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!
YA review: What If It’s Us? cross-posted to GoodReads.
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