Rating: 3 stars
“I’m just going to live in the moment. That’s the only way to see where we end up.”
(I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion)
What If It’s Us is a meet cute romance set in New York City about two boys who meet at a post office while one of them is trying to mail a box full of his ex-boyfriend’s gifts back to him. From then on, Ben and Arthur go through a series of comings and goings to try to make things happen between them. What if they’re a meant to be? What if they’re not?
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year. I mean, two of my favorite authors co-writing a book? Of course I was hyped. I think that’s the main reason it took me so long to read this ARC, the fear that the book wouldn’t live up to my expectations, that it would disappoint me somehow. Well, now that I’ve read it, I can say that it did disappoint me a bit, but it’s also not a bad book or anything. I actually think a lot of people will enjoy it.
Here’s the thing, this book is divided in three parts, and I felt differently about each one of them. In part one, I was enjoying it. It was funny, mostly cute, and the characters were a bit of a disaster, but in a good way. However, in part two, things went a little south for me. I’m usually not a huge fan of romances with too much back and forth, but by the premise I already knew there was going to be some of that here. I’m open to that, but it will depend on the execution, and the second part mostly left me irritated and a bit exhausted. I guess I didn’t like some of the characters behaviors, and things were going so wrong for them that I ended up thinking “why are you two even bothering to try anymore?”
Fortunately though, that feeling mostly went away in part three, which is the reason why I felt so conflicted about this book and gave it 3 stars. Part three was nicer, and I did like the ending (for contemporary books I tend to appreciate endings that feel more realistic, and this one did), but I also feel like things went on for a bit longer than they needed to. This book probably could’ve been just a little shorter.
What If It’s Us in general was such a roller-coaster, both the story and my personal experience with it. There’s really no better way to put it.
“Arthur, the universe just got the ball rolling,’ he says. ‘We made us happen.”
Concerning the characters, I have A LOT more in common with Ben than with Arthur, so it’s no suprise I liked him a lot better. Ben was a little older and more experienced, he would get excited for things, but be more chill about them. He liked writing fantasy and playing The Sims, he knew not to take money for granted, school was not something easy, and also he’s not the most punctual person around. He made his mistakes, but I got along with him most of the time.
Meanwhile, Arthur was a boy full of firsts, and zero chill. Everything was new to him – New York, kisses, relationships -, so he was usually overly excited and intense about stuff. At times, he’d act kind of immature, and even though I understood he didn’t have experience with certain things, that behaviour would often make feel annoyed and tired, particularly in part two. It’s fine, he got better in part three, but that still had bothered me enough to make me lower the rating. I feel like both characters grew by the ending, though, and I certainly appreciate that.
While reading this book, I was pretty convinced that Ben was written by Adam, and Arthur was written by Becky. That’s just an observation – despite my feelings for these characters, I still love both authors. Plus, I did appreciate many of the side characters, especially the ones connected to Ben, like his best friend Dylan, and his girlfriend Samantha, or Arthur‘s bff, Jessie. It was also great having New York City as the setting, because this book alternates between the povs of Ben and Arthur, each one told in first person, so you get both the perspective of a native and of a newbie on one of most famous cities in the world.
What If It’s Us is a standalone book, and even though I didn’t love it, I certainly hope to see more collaborations like this between Becky and Adam. I’m sure this book will please a lot of people out there, and I would still recommend it, as long as the person is aware of the things that I mentioned. If you’re looking for an cute gay romance, and you don’t mind this back-and-forth type of plot, you’ll probably find enough enjoyment in it.
The book has been picked up to be turned into a movie and apparently the authors are helping produce it.
So, have you read this book yet? Are you planning to? Let me know down in the comments. 😀