Book Review – ‘What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

The type of diverse novel I’ve been longing to read. No hate. Just meetcute.

What If It's Us Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 437

From Goodreads:

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

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This was such an adorable story. Arthur and Ben are deliciously, awkwardly cute. A realistic things-don’t-always-go-right sort of thing.

What if it’s us’ is everything I expected it to be. Well written characters, a meet cute oozing innocence, awkwardness and angst. I may have rated it higher, but in comparison to ‘Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda’ this didn’t hit me as hard… or have as much comedy. So it just missed out on a perfect score. But that is not to say that is any less of a captivating read.

Four hundred pages and still ‘What if it’s us’ flew by. I was always eager to see where the next chapter would take me. The alternating perspectives between Arthur and Ben lead off on two different storylines that happened to intertwine more and more as the novel progressed without rehashing information as we head-jumped into each narrative. I will say that the writing style did not differ too greatly between each perspective – if it weren’t for chapter titles and references I would have difficulty discerning whose voice was whose. I’d love to have seen some idiosyncrasies, habits, common word usage and tone separate the two perspectives a little more.

What If It's Us Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Arthur, the shorter college-bound nerd discovering his first love made me smile with his uncertainty in everything but love. His values in family and friendship. I think this is the first story where there is no bitchiness or bullying, so a surprisingly fun rom-com.

It felt like Ben had the biggest journey in this contemporary; discovering things about himself through introspection, friends, and of course, Arthur. He felt more like the stoic introvert that finally comes out of his shell.

It’s all about coming of age…

All of the secondary characters had their own stuff going on too: getting together, breaking up, fighting, and supporting each other. I really loved this aspect of ‘What if it’s us’ and really fleshed out the narrative.

It ends on the same note of the title as a question – like a true contemporary. One of hope that left me satisfied and hopeful myself.

The pacing is fairly steady. It’s not a fast read, but definitely does not feel like its dragging. The perfect timing for this type of genre.

Definitely recommend for lovers of stories of diversity, light romances, and New York City.

Overall feeling: A deliciously snuggy story

What If It's Us Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

What If It's Us Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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#bookporn

#bookporn What if it is us by Casey Carlisle.jpg

This cover just makes me want to squee! So cute! Love a diverse read, they are always so angsty its adorable. #whatifitsus

Book Review – More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Total Recall meets Will Grayson, Will Grayson

More Happy Than Not Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 293

From Goodreads:

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?
Page border by Casey Carlisle

The story itself was great, and the way the plot unfolded – expert! However the narration felt cumbersome. Sometimes the material was a little in your face, but if fits with the setting of More Happy Than Not: future Brooklyn is rough and still has a deep-seated old timey sense of morality, making it detrimental to your wellbeing if you stray from the norm. That clashed a little with the youngsters casual attitude towards sex, but not sexuality… for a technological developed society all of these aspects did not gel together well for me.

Aaron Soto is wonderfully cute, altruistic and naïve. He has this purity of spirit whereby he navigated the world with a moral compass, somehow always guiding him to ‘true north.’ Like any journey, there are obstacles to overcome, and even those are unique in this story. I did get plenty of small surprises, but guessed the plot well in advance.

Thomas was adorable, and surprisingly non-pressuring for his age. It was refreshing to have a cast painted so realistically where you could find aspects to like and dislike for all. It really enhances the reading experience.

More Happy Than Not makes a quaint point in the face of self-acceptance. It reminds me of the day of reprogramming camps for gay and lesbians, except approached with a sci-fi angle. Such a wonderfully unique storytelling device.

More Happy Than Not Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Pacing felt a little slow, scattered with seeming inconsequential facts and side notes. In hindsight, a re-read would illuminate their presence, but from my initial experience, the writing style felt clunky and frequently meandering.

I’d recommend this to glbt and sci-fi fans alike. It’s an interesting novel apart from your typical futuristic or dystopian type of novel.

Overall feeling: so-so. Cool, but no swagger.

More Happy Than Not Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

More Happy Than Not Book Review Pic 05 by Casey CarlisleCritique Casey by Casey Carlisle© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.