Friday, October 12, 2018

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

What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
Release Date - October 9, 2018
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  448 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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?
I love books that take me out of a reading slump. Those books that engross you from the first page and make it so that you're entirely invested in the story being told. Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera offer just such a read with their first (and hopefully not last) co-written book. Take a dash of humour, a little New York City magic, a swoon worthy romance, and a lot of heart and you have What If It's Us.

Arthur and Ben both have such distinctive voices. Their characters leap off the page because the authors take such care to bring them to life. Arthur is a Broadway musical loving ray of sunshine who has absolutely no chill. Ben is more laid back, more experienced, and perhaps a little more jaded. The writing styles used for these characters mesh well together to create a very cohesive story. Two authors writing a novel together always has the possibility of feeling clunky but this novel avoids that entirely. It is also impressive that I felt both authors knew both characters really well. The division of writing was done by character point of view chapters, but because both characters were in many of the chapters together both authors had to technically write for each character.

New York City is a character in its own right in this novel. There is something about New York that is a little magical. It's the stuff of movie legend and it translates very well within Author and Ben's story. Becky and Adam show the magic in the smaller moments of living in New York and make the little things sparkle in their own way. The setting makes this story in so many ways and it definitely does not disappoint. This story is absolutely movie ready and a large part of that is because of the setting.

This is a story that may make you believe in the possibility of fate and the magic of putting yourself out there. It's a romance that has all the classic elements of a rom-com. It's got the adorable meet cute. It's got the obstacles standing in the way. It has the big grand gestures. It would be easy for the relationship to not have a lot of heart as a result. The character stuff is there though and that makes the reader's connection to Ben and Arthur that much stronger. You'll want them to end up together so badly and that comes down to the fact that you love each of them as individual characters just as much as their love story.

While the romance does take central focus, there are a bunch of really great friendships that are presented within these pages. Each of the boys has plot points that have nothing to do with the romance and elements that focus on other parts of their lives. Arthur is dealing with the fact that his group dynamic is changing. Ben is dealing with his own breakup's impact on his friend group.  Ben's best friend, Dylan, is a stand out that I predict many people will love. The story becomes this larger, more complex narrative because of these other relationships in a way that is really interesting.

The biggest question surrounding this novel is what kind of ending it would have. Becky Albertalli is known for her more happy, rom-com style endings while Adam is known for endings that rip your heart out and crush it for good measure. While I will not spoil the ending, I will say that it the perfect ending for this story. It's the perfect ending for a novel written by these two authors. It's exactly what the characters and the story itself needs from an ending.

Fans of both of these authors will love their joint venture. It's got everything you love from each of them meshed together in a way that feels effortless. It's an adorable romance with a ton of heart wrapped in a larger story of finding yourself, discovering what you want, and making the choices to get you there. 

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