A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Teens will learn a great deal about what it's like to live in New York City, go to summer school, struggle with ADHD, come out to your friends, and break up and start over.
Strong messages about the importance of being vulnerable and true to yourself. This is a story about the honesty between teens in a romantic relationship and the power of first love. There's also a lot about the importance of LGBTQ teens having supportive families.
Positive Role Models
Both Arthur’s and Ben’s parents are supportive of their sons and encourage their relationship. Arthur's dad tries to give dating advice ("This is your first date, and I want to hear all about it"), and Ben's mom listens to her son when he opens up about this feelings.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing and make out scenes between Arthur and Ben, with buildups to sex without the graphic details. There are many references to sex (i.e., bumping butts "as a sexual activity"), although there's not actual play-by-by sex.
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Strong language includes mentions of: "a--hole," "d--k," "s--t," "f--k" and its variations.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There's one scene of underage drinking, and mentions of drinking and smoking pot at parties.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.