Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera co-authored What If It’s Us; a cute, gay romance with some diverse and realistic characters bursting with personality. Ben is broken-hearted and stuck in summer school. Arthur is interning at his mother’s office and in love with everything New York. After a chance encounter at the post office the boys hit it off, lose touch, and – after some A-grade internet stalking – reconnect. They develop a sweet and imperfect relationship over a series of dates which swing from hilarious and heart-warming to strained and dramatic then back again.
I guess that’s any relationship. You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.
The complicated relationships between potential lovers, friends, parents, and exes are what make Ben and Arthur’s story believable. This book captures so well the early stages of crushing on someone, the awkward missteps, the joys, the jealousy, and the uncertainties of where this might be going. Often frustrating but always charming, this book kept me turning the pages to see what would become of these boys.
Some of my other highlighted quotes, to give a flavour of the story:
- “On the sad scale, how are you feeling today?” Dylan asks. “Opening-montage-of-Up sad? Or Nemo’s-mom-dying sad?”
- I look up from my phone to find an old lady watching me, and when our eyes meet, she doesn’t look away. She doesn’t smile. She just stares at me and pets her giant purse like it’s a cat. New York is the weirdest.
- And yes, it could be a solidarity thing, like some kind of Kinsey scale Sorting Hat. “Better be . . . GAY!!!!!!” cue cheers and rainbow flag waving from Hudson of Gay House
- The coffee shop smells like pretentious writers who would hate the stuff I write.
- Dylan claps. “Okay. I’m sold. I am shipping you with the boy you met when you were supposed to be shipping relationship relics to your last boy.”
- I’m going to find him. It’s going to happen. My heart slams in my chest as I picture it. He’ll be behind the counter, bored and dreamy and adorably disheveled. I’ll walk in, in slow motion, perfectly centered in a beam of flattering light. And obviously the handlebar twins from the post office will be there too, but we’ll barely notice them this time.
- “Yeah it does. He’s got those a.m. breakfast-date vibes. Not the p.m. take-me-into-the-bathroom-and-let’s-bump-butts vibes.”
- Honestly, how am I supposed to know how to pick a destination and set the mood and charm Ben’s pants off? Not literally. Kind of literally, though.
- “WE’RE HAVING SEX!” Dylan shouts from inside. I open the door and Dylan and Samantha are flipping through the binder. “Straight sex is so weird,” I say.
- Me: Meet my boyfriend, Ben! Parents: showering us with condoms HELLO, BOYFRIEND BEN!!! Ben: launches self into the sun