IMPORTANT: this is not an #ownvoices review. If you are an ownvoices reviewer of this book and would like your review linked to this, please let me know and I will add it!
So, safe to say I’m disappointed. If you know me you know I LOVE Adam Silvera (TBDATE is one of my favourite books of all time), and I enjoy Becky’s books as well, but this just did not stand up at all to the quality of storytelling that either of them has shown in the past.
I read this throughout a few of my lectures and my friend was getting pretty amused at all the times I would just turn around and look at her like I was looking into the camera on the office.
I’m just gonna get into it, but I wanna say that this book seems like something that some will LOVE and some will be like me, and won’t like it much.
Firstly, this book just felt like Becky and Adam got really excited about writing a book together (understandable!) but threw everything in it that they could, and kept running and got ahead of themselves because of the excitement of building this world and story together. It feels like they didn’t put the amount of attention to this as they do with their other books, the length of this book could definitely warrant some more editing.
The amount of references to pop cultures is insane, it almost became unreadable at parts because I got tired of reading about the insane about of random references to movies, shows, board games, video games etc. etc. etc. Seriously, guys, I’m not kidding, there are SO many. I think I have read the word ‘Hamilton’ in a book way too many times and I almost didn’t make it through because my sanity was fleeting me everytime I had to read about Hamilton again.
I was surprised as well to find the dialogue feel very out of touch. I’ve found both Adam and Becky do a good job writing dialogue for teens, but the dialogue in What If It’s Us just felt so strange. The amount of times emojis are written out is way too many times. I really don’t think it’s necessary to constantly add them in in texts like “winky emoji” “thinker emoji” “fingers-crossed emoji” when the tone of the text could be easily understood by the reader without them (makes it feel like adults think emojis are the only way teens communicate their thoughts now) Craigslist was also used A LOT for some reason, like there are an extreme amount of discussions about craigslist. I’ve never met anyone that uses/knows craigslist outside of it being a joke about being a creepy place on the internet. The relationships between Arthur/Ben and their parents were also strange. I can’t say anything specific because of spoilers but wowee there were some strange conversations they had.
Welcome back to this weeks edition of “Wren is frustrated that authors make it difficult to tell their characters apart” because WHEW this was a doozy for me. By the end of the book, I still wasn’t sure who was who and have to keep referring to the synopsis of the book to try and remind me. There were TWO main characters and I could not remember for the life of me throughout which personality belonged to who.
Some of the chapters/POV changes came at really awkward moments, with some of them switching in the middle of a conversation/moment. Really off-putting and made it so hard to follow along with the situation, especially when I’m already struggling to remember who is who.
As for the romance, it felt like they have zero chemistry in the beginning and was painful to read until they start becoming more comfortable with each other. The book is almost 450 pages long and it isn’t until very far into their relationship that they have some semblance of a realistic feeling and comfortable relationship. I can see them being unsure of the relationship, it’s totally normal especially for a first relationship, but the entire time they are together it just feels like they throw in unnecessary tension and drama because without it the book would have nothing else to talk about.
In order for the characters to have actual rational and needed conversations with each other, it takes intense, emotional and scary events happening, It is so frustrating reading a multiple POV book when the two characters won’t talk to each other about whatever they are thinking when you have to read about whichever issue it is over and over again, and it could easily be solved if they just had basic levels of communication.
to give you more of a sense of how frustrated I got reading this, this was one of the points I kept on my notes app while reading: “who doesn’t know what a churro is???”
I’m going to stop writing now because if I keep writing I’ll just find more things I want to mention. But, I want to mention that the ending of this book was <b> the best part for me.</b> It was the most logical, realistic situation that happened in the entire novel. It was satisfying and I am really glad that is the ending they decided on.
Unfortunately, not every book can be a favourite, and I am really upset that I didn’t enjoy this as I hoped I would.