A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that What If It's Us, the first novel co-written by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, is a sweet contemporary romance told from the alternating points of view of two teen boys. Arthur (written by Albertalli) is Jewish and only in New York City for the summer; he struggles with ADHD. Ben (written by Silvera) grew up in New York City with his Puerto Rican family and is getting over a recent breakup. There's some strong language (including f--k" and its variations, "s--t," and "d--k"), as well as references to teens dating and having sex. Parents should be prepared to have conversations about coming out, staying friends with someone you've broken up with, and having sex for your first time.
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What's the story?
WHAT IF IT'S US tells the story of two teen boys who meet each other at a post office in New York City before a flash mob separates them. The novel alternates points of view between Arthur, who's in New York City as an intern at his mom's law firm, and Ben, who's recovering from a recent breakup. Arthur's family has money, and he wants to go to Yale, although he struggles with ADHD. Ben is Puerto Rican, definitely not well-off, but more sexually experienced. The story begins with Arthur trying to find Ben, the cute boy he met briefly, and follows what happens after they finally connect.
Is it any good?
This cute, feel-good story about acceptance and love does a good job of highlighting real issues. It address what it's like to come out to your friends and date someone whose family might have more or less money than you. The romance is very sweet, with many fun pop culture references, yet the storyline remains light, like an adorable Hollywood romcom.
Talk to your kids about ...
What do you think of how What If It's Us depicts diversity? How do Ben and Arthur differ from the standard teen protagonists you often find in young adult novels? Why is it important to read both about people who are like and also those who are unlike you?
Are the friendships in What If It's Us believable? Which ones seem the most true-to-life?
- Authors: Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperTeen
- Publication date: October 9, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14
- Number of pages: 448
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: February 22, 2021
Our editors recommend
For kids who love romance and LGBTQ stories
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