A ‘what-if’ summer love between two teen boys that had all the right parts from two amazing authors, but couldn’t come together for me.
What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
3 of 5 stars
This is going to be a hard review to write, ugh. I didn’t hate it. I liked it. I wanted more though.
I loved everything about this book, except the whole real important, central part of it, which was the relationship between Arthur and Ben. I didn’t feel it. I rarely felt it. There was no chemistry to me, double so from the perspective of Ben.
Let me list off the stuff I loved before I explain why I can’t rate it higher:
– It’s written beautifully, as to be expected from these two authors. They don’t fail me there.
– I love every character as an individual entity. I love Arthur and his lack of chill, I love Ben, I especially love Dylan. Every character, even the bit players like the interns and the parents, are in some degree enjoyable.
– The friendships are good. I love Ben and Dylan. I love the tension between Arthur and Ethan. I love the friendship of Arthur, Jessie and Ethan. I love the bond Samantha gets with Ben. I like the awkward and realistic break down and attempt to reconcile of the Ben, Hudson, Dylan and Harriet group.
Here is why I have an issue though. This story is made up of totally amazing components. Wonderful characters, rich and diverse friendships and relationships, an interesting premise, a romantic angle. Bring it all together though, and it went bland.
Ben seems disinterested from the get go. Honestly, reading the entire first date at the Dave and Buster’s was disappointing and sucked out all the cute build up I had gotten all eager over. It was, frankly, a let down. I kept going though. Not all first dates are perfect, they are strangers, we’re going to build up, it’s going to be AMAZING as we go. No, it never gets amazing. It feels forced near the entire way through. It feels like they are TRYING too hard because they think they should. The universe threw them together, they are all these ~signs, they should stick it out. By the time they seem to have even a little romantic chemistry it’s too late.
So the ending was not a happy one, as I anticipated. It was bittersweet. Yay they remained friends, but they seemed doomed to be friends from the start, as for me they never got that passionate, wild summer love I was expecting to be whisked away with.
Like I said, all the individual parts of this love story recipe were a-ma-zing. Mixed it all up though, and it came out a little flat. I wouldn’t deter anyone from ever reading this, but these authors other offerings are superior.
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