BOOKS
What If It's Us
448p. HarperCollins/Harper. Oct. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062795250. POP
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OrangeReviewStarGr 8 Up–This team effort is a meet cute between two high school boys in New York City. Broadway-obsessed Southerner Arthur (in the city for a summer internship) wants his magical New York moment. So he follows a cute boy into a post office in the hopes of making it happen. But fate—in the form of a flash mob proposal—separates them before Arthur gets the chance to learn Ben's name. Each boy tries to find the other using small clues from their first meeting until, eventually, they're reconnected. When their first date—Arthur's first date ever, Ben's first since breaking up with his ex—doesn't quite go as planned, they have a do-over date. And another. And another. But, as Arthur's return to Georgia at summer's end draws closer, is their flash relationship fate? Alternating between Ben and Arthur, the first-person chapters give readers both sides of the story. The supporting cast has diverse and endearing characters—including one friend who identifies as a biromantic ace. Ben is Puerto Rican, while Arthur is Jewish and has ADHD. The quippy dialogue is chock full of pop culture and musical theater references (especially to "Harry Potter" and Hamilton). Albertalli and Silvera balance cynicism and starry-eyed optimism to paint an honest, compelling picture of adolescent romance.
VERDICT A must-purchase. Part feel-good, part star-crossed, this seamless blend of the authors' styles will appeal to fans old and new alike.

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