Review: Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera’s What If It’s Us

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Ok so I’ve been sitting on this review for a little while. I felt so conflicted upon finishing the book that I didn’t trust myself to write a honest review right off the bat. There was a lot that I liked here, but honestly there was a lot that I didn’t. I know the internet seemed to be really championing this book, as the authors are loved and the book features very inclusive characters, but unfortunately it didn’t really work for me.

Synopsis
Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office in New York, where Arthur is working for the summer. Arthur feels its a sign from the universe – he’s ready for his first big shot at romance. Ben doesn’t buy into the whole “the universe works in mysterious ways” – he thinks the way the universe works sucks. After all, the sucky universe is one of the reasons he is at the post office in the first place – to mail back his ex-boyfriend’s things. Arthur is determined to find the mysterious boy from their meet-cute, because he can’t help but thinking what if?

Will I like this?
You might enjoy this book if…

  • You enjoy YA romance that is sweet with little to no steam
  • You love books with inclusive characters of diverse backgrounds
  • You enjoy having your romance rooted in realism

You might not enjoy this book if…

  • You prefer a romance that is more new adult/adult
  • You prefer more mature characters
  • You prefer endings with a firm resolution

Spoiler Free Review
I want to start with what I liked. I loved the representation and inclusion in this book. This is a romance between Arthur, a Jewish boy who has ADHD and Ben whose Puerto Rican. It’s so important to write romance stories for everyone, and I love this book for its inclusivity. Also, it’s obviously a M/M romance, which is awesome! For this reason alone I wanted to absolutely love this book, but unfortunately,  it just missed the mark in other ways for me.

I also loved how this book wasn’t afraid to tackle big issues. We’re talking everything from homophobia to anxiety to privilege. This book also features a host of secondary characters with diverse experiences and backgrounds. Truly, this book’s diversity is its strongest aspect in my opinion.

I also enjoyed the fact that this book was just plain ol’ realistic. The romance between Ben and Arthur felt real. There was no fairy tale aspect. There were times when things felt awkward between them or when things just did not work out the way they wanted them to. I appreciated this. I even loved the realistic relationship mirroring between Ben & Arthur and the relationship we saw in Arthur’s parents. While there were some points that I felt the parent’s relationship was a bit toxic, they also showed that a loving relationship isn’t always perfect.

Onto what I didn’t love. I hated all the pop culture references, I’m just going to say it. While I appreciate a few Harry Potter references (because, c’mon, I love HP), this book seriously went overboard. There were so many. So, so many. They were in every chapter and even became plot points in the book. (Honestly, I found this to be an issue in other Becky Albertalli books that I’ve read.) This makes the book feel so immature and young to me. While I appreciate that this is YA, the references just brought it down a level. Also, I feel like this dates the book. When people are reading this ten years from now, all the references can be isolating to a reader who wasn’t there to appreciate them. I’m down for a few, but this book overdid it.

Lastly, while I loved that the book was realistic, the romance honestly still felt forced and a bit off to me. It didn’t feel like a natural progression and it felt like both characters were trying to force their relationship to work because of all they went through to find each other again. It felt like a bit of “well after all that, we have to make this work!” Everyone was cheering them on and a fan of their relationship, so it felt like they were trying to hard to make it work because they felt like they should. I really wasn’t buying into it. As a book where the romance is such a huge focus, this is where it really brought it down for me. I think the book could still keep its realism, while injecting a bit more romance/friendship between the two. Sometimes  felt like they were making it so awkward for the sake of being like “this is real romance! sometimes its awkward!” that they went overboard and lost the heart of the romance.

Overall, I give this a 3/5. I enjoyed reading the book, but there were minor issues that kept me from really liking it or even loving it.

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Ratings
Goodreads Rating: 4.0
My Overall Rating: 3/5
Steam: 0/5
Romance: 2.5/5
Friendship: 4/5

Get More Info: visit Becky Albertalli’s website; visit Adam Silvera’s website; find What if It’s Us on Amazon.

What if It’s Us is a young adult contemporary collaboration between Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. Becky Albertalli is author of the wildly popular Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. Adam Silvera is author of the deeply emotional book They Both Die at the End. What if It’s Us released on October 9, 2018. It’s available to purchase now.

About the Authors: Becky Albertalli is a clinical psychologist who has had the privilege of conducting therapy with dozens of smart, weird, irresistible teenagers. She also served for seven years as co-leader of a support group for gender nonconforming children in Washington, D.C. She now lives with her family outside of Atlanta. She is an American author of young adult fiction, best known for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which was adapted into the 2018 film Love, Simon.

Adam Silvera is the New York Times bestselling author of They Both Die at the EndMore Happy Than NotHistory Is All You Left Me, and What If It’s Us with Becky Albertalli. All his novels have received multiple starred reviews. He worked in the publishing industry as a children’s bookseller, community manager at a content development company, and book reviewer of children’s and young adult novels. He was born and raised in New York. He lives in Los Angeles and is tall for no reason.

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links.

Author Highlight: RS Grey

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I want to start a new series here on the blog where I can highlight my favorite authors. I can’t think of a better way to kick off “Author Highlights” than a whole post where I gush about one of my favorite romance authors, R.S. Grey.

R.S. Grey is a USA Today Bestselling author and the queen of romantic comedy. R.S. Grey has published an awesome selection of standalone romantic comedies and standalone comedies with overlapping characters. For help on the reading order, R.S. Grey has released a super helpful infographic. I have read eleven (!!!) R.S. Grey books, and I’ve made it my goal to finish her entire collection. R.S. Grey books are not new to the blog (I wrote a review for Make Me Bad and talked about R.S. Grey in my mashup romance genre post). But for now, I thought it would be fun with the upcoming Cold Hearted Boss release, for me to reflect back on my favorite R.S. Grey books.

Arrogant Devil
Truly I think it would be difficult for any R.S. Grey book to top my favorite – Arrogant Devil. This book has everything I love in romance. It’s slow burn (y’all know I’m a slow burn queen), the setting is small town/ranch, the hero character is an arrogant jerk with a sweet/tender side, and the heroine character is badass/independent. Yes please!!

This book is classic R.S. Grey in its humor and lightness. I always laugh to myself while reading her books and Arrogant Devil is no exception. However, this one has such depth y’all, and it made me emotional. Learning about Meredith, the main heroine’s, backstory and then seeing her growth…y’all! I was her biggest cheerleader and in the end it was her that inspired me. I hope to write a full review on this one day, but for now – trust me when I say it’s a full 5/5 from me, and its the R.S. Grey book I recommend the most.

Make Me Bad
I have a full review on Make Me Bad because I was so graciously given an ARC in exchange for an honest review by R.S. Grey herself. (Yes, I did indeed fangirl a little. It’s fine. I’m fine.) I don’t want to go on too long here since I’ve already written an entire review, so I’ll keep it brief.

Make Me Bad is another one of my top favorites. I love the main characters, and I really related to the heroine, Madison’s, character. Plus who doesn’t love a bit of forbidden romance/falling for the town bad boy? This one was a 5/5 from me, and it is another R.S. Grey book that I recommend the most.

Hotshot Doc
Hotshoc Doc is another R.S. Grey book that I recommend to everyone! This book has one of my favorite tropes: boss/assistant mixed with a slow-burn romance. Mhm, sign me up! I loved reading Bailey’s story. I loved how strong and determined she was despite the hardships she’d faced in life nor did she crumble under the intense responsibility she had to carry. The emotions and depth wrapped up into Bailey’s backstory had me lining up to be her number one supporter.

Plus, I loved Matt as a hero. He was an arrogant jerk, but he was also so caring, understanding, and empathetic towards others. He made my heart swoon. His relationship with Bailey and her sister will forever be one of my favorites. This one was a 5/5 from me.

The Foxe and the Hound
Oh The Foxe and the Hound…this book will always have a special place in my book-heart, because it was the first R.S. Grey book that I ever read. In my opinion, Madeline is one of the funniest narrators in the romcom genre that I have read. I loved how Madeline was still finding her way through life in her late twenties, and that she allowed herself to feel overwhelmed at times. She was such a relatable character that I was immediately invested in her story. Plus the first time she meets the hero character, Adam, I was dying of laughter. It’s a meet cute…sorta.

However, The Foxe and the Hound finds itself at the top of my list for its emotional depth and slow-burn angst. I loved the slow build up between the two characters. There was so much angst. I was literately flying through the pages! Not to mention, I’m a total sucker for emotional depth in romance. I feel like I need it in order to really connect and champion the romance. I totally felt that here. Especially towards the end of the book in the storm. I loved the entire thing. This one (no surprise) also gets a 5/5 from me. I hope to post a full review one day.

Ok y’all that’s all I’ve got for my first “Author Highlight.” If y’all like this, I would love to do more. In the meantime, check out some of R.S. Grey’s books or get ready for her new summer release, Cold Hearted Boss.

Get More Info: visit R.S. Grey’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Arrogant Devil on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited; find Make Me Bad on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited; find Hotshot Doc on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited; find the Foxe and the Hound on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited.

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. The author was kind enough to provide me a copy of Make Me Bad in exchange for my honest review. The rest of the books mentioned were purchased by me.