Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera are wonders. Together, I feel as though a masterpiece was born.
‘What if it’s Us’ is a beautiful story that is romantic, powerful, relatable and so gosh darn cute I think I died several times over. I don’t want to give away too much, but the characterisations of Arthur and Ben were so perfect for this story. Both characters came together with their own strengths and weaknesses; the narrative itself was one which did not sugarcoat emotional anxieties, but instead, I felt that both Albertalli and Silvera wrote the realities of a relationship and of growing up, without artifice. In Young Adult fiction, there needs to be more of this rawness in storytelling.
Although I could go on for thousands of words about Arthur and Ben and their story, I will keep it short. However, the reason as to why I only have this book a 4 out of 5 stars is because of two things. Before I delve into the reason, however, when it was announced that Albertalli and Silvera were to collaborate together, I wondered how their writing styles would work together in a non-abrasive way. I say this because Albertalli is known for her quite light, cute, endearing and happy-ever-after endings and stories; Silvera, on the other hand, writes intense narratives of love and loss, with less-than-happy endings. You can see the conundrum. It was the ending of this book which I felt could have given us more! It felt underwhelming, in my opinion, but I want every love story to end happily and not ambiguous at all. Another point of critique would be the ‘conflict’ that was written. Although it only lasted for a few pages, it felt like there had to be a conflict and it was just, kind of pointless. Although I do understand its purpose, to push the narrative to the next stage and of course, the relationship between Ben and Arthur, I just wanted more for these two incredible characters.
Overall, a fantastically written novel that is so utterly pure and beautiful, that it will make you laugh, smile and cry buckets.