I was super excited to read this book. I absolutely loved Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli and I really liked They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera. When I heard the news that these two authors would be collaborating on a book, I was stoked! In fact, the entire online Young Adult book community was talking about it for DAYS.
When I saw the book in the bookstore on my last bookstore run, I picked it up immediately. The reader friends I was with were surprised that I decided on a book so quickly. We usually pick out all the books we want and narrow down according to our budgets, but I was set on What If It’s Us.
The two authors have completely different styles when it comes to plot and endings. Becky Albertalli goes for happy endings with adorable characters while Adam Silvera is known for sad endings and layered characters. I looked forward to see how it would be if they worked together on a story.
Unfortunately, I didn’t like the book. I did not expect that. When I mentioned that I started reading it, a friend of mine said that he’s expecting me to not like the book. He turned out to be right. I liked the book at some parts, I didn’t like it at all at some parts, and I was disinterested for most of the book.
“But maybe this isn’t how life works. Maybe it’s all about people coming into your life for a little while and you take what they give you and use it on your next friendship or relationship. And if you’re lucky, maybe some people pop back in after you thought they were gone for good.”
What If It’s Us is all about missed connections and two people who try to find each other. This is one of my favourite concepts and another reason why I expected to like the book. The book follows Arthur and Ben who, after meeting for the first time and parting, look for each other again in hopes of having a relationship. Watching Arthur and Ben look for each other was interesting to read.
That was the only part of the book I truly enjoyed. I love the concept of missed connections and people looking for others through good ol’ sleuthing with the help of internet. I was rooting for Ben and Arthur to meet again.
The problem came after they finally got in touch. I was so excited for them to get together but everything after that was disappointing. What disappointed me the most were the characters and their actions.
Ben and Arthur had their individual issues to sort through in life, Ben more than Arthur. I started to dislike the book because of Ben. He broke up with his ex-boyfriend Hudson recently and still had feelings for Hudson. Ben hadn’t moved on. This made me wary about him pursuing a relationship with Arthur immediately, because he wasn’t ready to move on.
Ben had other issues as well, such as the fact that his family wasn’t well-to-do. He ended up being a snob to Arthur, which I hated. Ben didn’t handle the subject of money well with Arthur. Ben constantly thought about Hudson on his first date with Arthur, which really annoyed me. I was disappointed with the story by then.
Arthur had his own issues as well, although his were less obvious. I found Arthur to be a pushover. He went along with whatever Ben said, just happy to be on a date with Ben. I found it unhealthy. Arthur had never been on a date before and, to him, this date had to fulfill all his dreams. Arthur was a dreamer and someone who had way too much hope in everything. He thought his first date with Ben would go great, but it didn’t. He got over it quickly, though. I found it endearing that even after a bad date, Arthur still had hope.
But I was disappointed. I didn’t like how Ben behaved during the date. It was at this point that I started to dislike Arthur and Ben together. From then on, I just could not ship them together.
There was a lot of drama and friction between Arthur and Ben. At times I felt like extra drama/teen angst was added to make the book more “interesting”. The characters acted very immature at times and I was annoyed because they’re meant to be 17 year olds.
There were a few nice bits throughout the book, a few really cute scenes that made me smile wide, but they did not make up for my disappointment. I just could not get on board the Ben-and-Arthur train. Once I started seeing how they don’t fit together, I couldn’t ignore it.
I also didn’t like the fact that there were SO MANY Harry Potter references. I get it, the characters love Harry Potter, but I don’t want to read about it several times. There were also way too many Hamilton references. Hamilton songs were spoken about at key points and I found it irksome. As someone who hasn’t seen Hamilton or heard any of it’s songs, it felt like I was missing a significant part of the book just because I wasn’t into a pop culture thing. In fact, there’s very little about the book that I found enjoyable.
The one and only thing that I truly liked about the book was the diversity. Ben is gay and Puerto Rican, and Arthur is gay and Jewish. Diversity is always something that I like to see in books.
Since I didn’t like the book, I took a LONG time to read it. In fact, I considered not finishing it when I was three-fourths done with the book. I somehow pushed through, though. I wanted to see if I would change my mind after finishing it.
I didn’t, sadly. I think I expected too much. I did appreciate how the authors ended the book, though. I found the ending realistic and I’m happy with how it ended. I wouldn’t really recommend it, especially to readers who like fast-paced books, but if you think you might like the book, go for it.
Untill next time,
Happy Reading !