When the world learned that two of the hottest contemporary authors were teaming up to write a book together, the book community exploded. There was a lot of hype surrounding the project but also a bit of questioning as to how they were going to renew themselves within the teamwork and what kind of world they would build. So did they succeed?
In my humble opinion, no they did not. They wrote exactly what I’ve already read from both of them before. I loved the Simon-universe (will re-read them all soon) but afterwards I was craving something different from Albertalli who is an amazing writer. With Silvera I totally understand wanting to represent your heritage but he’s a talented author and it would be great to see more than one side of him. Here’s how I think the authors are stuck:
Adam Silvera’s character signature: a Puertorican gay teen, dorky, only has a few close friends, heavy life questions, falls in love with another gay teen etc. Meet main character one, Ben.
Becky Albertalli’s character signature: an adorable and very awkward gay teen, sensitive, says cringe-worthy stuff, also dorky, inexperienced, falls in love with another gay teen etc. Meet main character two, Arthur.
I was disappointed but I had a feeling that I would be and that’s why it took me so long to get around to this book – although it came out in October last year. However, had this been my first book from both authors, I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
The story is a typical meet-cute between two gay teens – eyes meet, instant crush, BAM! What’s a little different this time is that during this meet-cute they are separated quite quickly due to a flash mob… yes, a flash mob.. and have to find their way back to each other with basically no more to go on than appearances. This spirals into a modern love story with social media stalking and coffee shop miracles. It’s all a bit too much, a bit too lucky and a bit too forced. Thankfully, the story was very fast-paced. I needed a break from the awkwardness in the book now and then, but whenever I did pick it up, the pages flew by.
I liked the side characters better – which is becoming a weird habit in the contemporary genre – and wish they had more time in the spotlight. There were hardly any surprises between the main characters, but their friends and colleagues were pretty interesting and fun to read about.
I did enjoy reading the collab but it was repetitive and kind of cliche. I recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read Albertalli and Silvera’s work before or if you’re a hardcore fan of either Albertalli or Silvera. If you’ve read a few of the authors’ books before, I wouldn’t stop you from reading What If It’s Us but just know that you’re in for a lot of repetition.
Page count: 437
Goodreads rating: 4/5