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What: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Who: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

When: October 9th 2018

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Simon & Schuster Australia for review.

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?

Between them, Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera have written three of my absolute all time favourite books. So when I found out that they’d be writing a book together I thought they were the dream team, and that I would fall head over heels in love with whatever they produced. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I liked What If It’s Us, but I didn’t fall head over heels for it. And here are my three reasons why What If It’s Us is three stars:

1) I didn’t really like either of the main characters

I thought Arthur was okay, but I didn’t particularly connect with him, either. I also thought he was a little selfish and never actually gave his friends a second to talk about what their lives were like. In fact, I didn’t really learn much about his two best friends, or the two girls he was working with over the summer because he never asked them about them. There were a few random questions about romance to his co-workers, and some reminiscing about his friends but as for who they were? No idea.

Ben, on the other hand, I actively disliked. I had no time for him, to be honest. I thought he was very “woe is me” and never put any effort in, which made Arthur feel like he had to be the one doing everything and this eventually made him feel like Ben didn’t really like him at all. I just never quite believed Ben really liked Arthur because he never made an effort. He was consistently late to every one of their dates, never tried to make Arthur feel comfortable, and was just pretty much an ass.

2) Nothing really happened

If you want more than a meet-cute and the subsequent attempts at a relationship, then this is not the book for you. I knew that What If It’s Us was going to be romance-heavy, and I don’t mind that. I love romance. But I also need a plot. Which What If It’s Us did not have. The romance was the plot. And maybe that’s okay for some people, but I need a little more substance to my stories.

3) The ending

I would have been okay with the ending if not for the epilogue. To be honest, I’m pretty sure the epilogue was supposed to make readers feel better about the actual ending, but to be honest it left me far more disappointed than I would have been if it has just been left at the end of the last chapter. The epilogue didn’t add anything to the story, and it actually took away some of the specialness of Arthur and Ben.


Overall, I did enjoy What If It’s Us. I loved the friendship between Ben and Dylan, the exploration of Ben’s feelings on his Puerto Rican heritage and identity, the pop culture references, and the cute moments when they happened. It just never really hit the mark for me.

© 2018, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning

suicide jokes, ableist language, homophobia, romantic cheating, money problems, reference to panic attacks, ADHD medicated protagonist, racially insensitive comments

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Posted on: September 19, 2018 • By: Chiara

18 Responses to What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera: Not What I Expected

  1. Laurie says:

    Unfortunately your review made me quite scared to read this book. I really dislike Romance as a plot. However, I really love Adam Silvera’s books although Becky always ends up with 3 star ratings. I am wondering whether I would like this one.

    • Chiara says:

      I have seen other people fall in love with this book so I think it’s a preference thing! The story just wasn’t deep enough for me to really enjoy it. I adore Adam Silvera’s books as well so I was surprised when I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. If you end up reading it, I hope you like it!

  2. I’m intrigued by this book still! I’m glad that it was a decent read overall. :-)

  3. I’ve read plenty of “meh”

    reviews of this.
    Such a shame!

    • Chiara says:

      Just before I started reading it I found a few reviews on Goodreads that scared me a bit. I thought I might end up loving it regardless, but unfortunately that was not the case :(

  4. I’ve been seeing a lot of mixed reviews for this title, which made me reconsider my decision to read this. I feel so bad saying this, because I *know* his stories are very important for multiple reasons, but I’m just not a fan of Silvera’s books. I loved Albertalli’s Simon and The Upside… Leah, on the other hand, was disappointing, so that again makes me not want to give this a chance. :( It sucks, because the whole meet-cute idea sounds amazing.

    Great review, I’m sad it didn’t work for you.

    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

    • Chiara says:

      Reading is about tastes as well as importance! And we can’t love every author’s books, but we can realise that their content is important to the community. I’m sorry you don’t connect with Silvera! This one is very different from his previous books so maybe it would work for you? I expected there to be more emotional intimacy like his other books and that was really missing for me. If you do end up reading it, I hope you like it, Veronika!

  5. How confusing. I am with you- I would have expected this book to be a standout novel. But, I wonder how much of the “miss” here has to do with two amazing solo writers trying (and perhaps missing the mark?) on their first co-authoring project?
    I don’t have this book on my TBR (yet) because I have many more of Silvera and Albertalli’s works on my TBR. I’ll wait it out and perhaps pick this book up once I’ve read all those books. But based on your review… I don’t know if I will. I’d like to understand where you are coming from. But life is too short to read disappointing books. Particularly since I *adore* character-driven novels. Oops.

    • Chiara says:

      Perhaps! Maybe co-authoring isn’t something that works for everyone. Though I know there are readers out there who loved this. I just couldn’t connect because there wasn’t anything for to connect to.

      I agree that there isn’t enough time. I say read their solo novels, I think they’re more successful, haha.

  6. I’ve only read Simon by Becky, so I’ve read more by Adam, but I am a bit worried about this one. I have an ARC that I hope to read soon, so we’ll see what I think! I don’t really mind if the book is very focused on romance, but I have to really love the characters soooo that might become an issue. LOL Thanks for your honest thoughts though and I’m sorry this wasn’t a WOW book for you.


    • Chiara says:

      I’ve only read Simon by Becky as well but since I love it so much I thought this would be in the same vein. Unfortunately, I was wrong… I really hope you like it more than I did, Lauren! It’s never a good feeling when you think you’ll love something and you don’t end up loving ti after all :(

  7. Kelly says:

    I haven’t read any of Becky Albertalli’s novels before but have loved Adam Silverado and couldn’t wait to begin reading. I picked it up the other day while deciding what I was in the mood to read next and I don’t know who wrote which alternating chapters, but the writing in the first chapter felt frantic so I ended up putting it down again. I love romance too but it’s so difficult to immerse yourself when you find them unlikable. On paper, it sounds like the perfect pairing but perhaps two quirky, feel great authors trying to outwrite one another through the pressure, the one who loses is the reader. I know how much you were looking forward to this one darling, such an incredible in-depth review nonetheless. Really enjoyed it ♥

    • Chiara says:

      I’m sorry you didn’t click with this one straight away, Kell! If you’re still wondering – Becky wrote Arthur and Adam wrote Ben. I really can’t pinpoint one reason why this book didn’t work for me, which I guess it why I had three, haha. But honestly, it was a disappointment, and I’m sad because I thought for sure it would be a book I fell head over heels for. Thanks, lovely <3

  8. I actually agree with you a lot, Chiara! This book tried to do so much without really accomplishing anything? It was dramatic, but the focus was all off. Plus I couldn’t stand Arthur–he was really annoying, and also kind of a pushover. :(

    • Chiara says:

      It was very dramatic, but I never really felt what that was trying to accomplish, either. All in all, I wasn’t a huge fan of either of the MCs, and that always makes it hard for me to really connect with a book :/ I’m sorry this one didn’t fully click with you either, Aimee!

  9. Cheonsa says:

    I am reading this for my English class for my independent reading project. I really love gay romance, but unfortunately I can’t handle sad ending… so i am asking you if this have some sort of sad ending… bittersweet maybe? I don’t mind if you spoil in on this story. thanks.

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