What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
Published by Simon & Schuester

WHEN two such deeply impactful and talented YA authors as these come together it’s bound to be an unforgettable collaboration. With Becky Albertalli – best known for Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda – and Adam Silvera, author of They Both Die At The End, I knew before picking it up that I would love this book.

On the first read What If It’s Us establishes itself as something special. This, at it’s heart, despite moments of sadness and the elements of reality it manages to capture, is an LGBT romantic comedy that does not centre itself on the pain of coming out or use trauma as a plot point. It is about two teenage boys falling in love, with New York City at the centre of it all, and this is the perfect time to read it as the sequel Here’s To Us has just come out.

When Arthur comes to New York from Georgia on an internship at his mum’s law firm he knows it’s exactly the kind of place he belongs. He’s an anxious but deeply caring optimist who believes ultimately the universe is looking out for him, so why wouldn’t he take meeting Ben as a sign?

When the two run into each other in a grand post office in the middle of a flash mob marriage proposal while Ben is trying to finally send back a box of his ex-boyfriend’s possessions, he is not quite so hopeful. With a little help from the universe (and social media) the two find each other again, in a city where one would think that impossible, and they agree to meet. While the romance is a whirlwind, taking place as summer draws to a close with the background pain of knowing Arthur will have to go home, it feels deeply relatable.

For all the imperfections, mis-communications and stumbles of falling in love at only 17, Ben and Arthur feel more human and ultimately it’s impossible not to root for them.

While Ben struggles to let go of the fears he has about relationships from the failure of his first, Arthur struggles with this being his first relationship and not Ben’s. The worries each of them have about these things drive them further from the perfection it seems the universe has set out for them, allowing the lesson to come into place that something does not have to be perfect to be beautiful or permanent.

The characters themselves have more to them than simply an interest in the other person, one of the most concerning things to see in a romance. Things such as Ben’s Puerto Rican identity and Arthur’s fears about his family also emerge.

What If It’s Us is a romance for teenagers that indulges in classic romance, magic and joy while showing realistic problems and fears that might come up, and that those aren’t the end of the world.

It’s an easy and fun read, especially now with the arrival of its much anticipated sequel.