“Arthur – Monday, July 9th
I am not a New Yorker, and I want to go home.
There are so many unspoken rules when you live here, like the way you’re never supported to stop in the middle of the sidewalk or stare dreamily up at tall buildings or pause to read graffiti. No giant folding maps, no fanny packs, no eye contact. No humming songs from Dear Evan Hansen in public.”
Arthur and Ben. Non-native New Yorker thrown into the city, and New Yorker through and through. After a chance meeting at the post office the boys leave wondering. What if they can’t find each other again, what if they do… and they can’t nail a first date? What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work and Ben doesn’t try hard enough? What if life isn’t really like a broadway musical? But what if it is?
What If It’s Us was a mixed bag for me. I picked it up because of the cover in a busy Waterstones just before Christmas. I was buying Spike a book and she declared if she was having one I should have one too. So I grabbed three I liked the look of and gave her the choice. She chose this.
I knew I wanted to read it by the cover, the authors and the back of the blurb. It sounded fun and interesting and easy to read. And it was nearly all of those things. The one thing I didn’t find it was easy to read…
The book alternates between Arthur and Ben. Each chapter is dedicated to one then the other. I have read stories like this before and loved them but found the voices in What If It’s Us a little more difficult to distinguish. I often had to double check even though the characters appeared to be very different. This became more so towards the end of the book, which is usually when you start picking up on character quirks more so it surprised me.
The story is one of love, friendship and New York. It has lots of incredible up to date references and lots of soppy romance bits, but they are cute and I did enjoy them a bit. Where it differs from most romances though is in its realistic take on romance. The first date doesn’t go well, in fact they have not one but 3 do-overs. Things you usually expect from love stories don’t happen here. And that’s what made it stand out to me.
When reading What If It’s Us you will find yourself cringing and you will find yourself thinking – did that really just happen? I can assure you it did and it was as embarrassing as you think it would be. The book is powerful in its realism and it takes you on a journey like few others, which makes it worth the read!
I wont say it was my favourite YA romance. It was a fun story about two gay characters which wasn’t about coming out or dealing with their sexuality etc. It was a first love book and the characters happened to be gay. But it was a good one and I would recommend it for sure. Especially for the feels towards the end… but I dont want to spoil it too much for anyone planning to read!
What If It’s Us was published in 2018 by Simon and Schuster. My copy was a Christmas gift from my daughter.
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