Rating: 4 STARS
How I got this book: Read for free on Wattpad.com
They were naturally disposed to hate each other. And for a while, they did.
Bite Me is a YA, m/m paranormal romance that's currently available for free on Wattpad.com (just click the image to read!)
If you read my last blog post, you'll know that I've been spending a fair amount of my time discovering Wattpad. For those of you that don't know, Wattpad is a social storytelling community made up of readers and writers. Writers post stories for free on Wattpad for anyone to enjoy, vote and comment on - and it's completely free to join!
Bite Me is the first story that I've read via Wattpad and I truly enjoyed it!
It's full of vampires, werewolves, teen angst, insta-hate and an enemies-to-lovers style slow-burn romance that's packed to the brim with drama and lust.
There were a few problematic things about the book in terms of editing (i.e spelling and grammar and a couple of sections that were a little confusing) and there was a fairly big issue with the way that one character described another (that a lot of readers picked up) so (as is the beauty of Wattpad's edit functionality), I'm hoping the author will change this in future.
Other than that, I truly enjoyed my first Wattpad read. There were moments of humour, tension and plenty of chemistry between the two main characters.
I enjoyed the author's new take on Vampires even though I felt that the concept of 'trading your immortality' could have benefited from a little more development and backstory. '
I particularly liked Kieran who, despite being a grade A jerk from the offset is likeable, relatable and witty. Mason is a sweet, puppy dog with the best intentions even if he comes across a little strong and makes so many bad, impulsive decisions.
The book contains a nice mixture of contemporary/paranormal and, whilst I would have liked to see a little more paranormal 'stuff', the romance was sweet and kept the story moving.
Have you read any stories on Wattpad? What would you recommend?
Rating: 4 STARS
Series/Standalone: The Folk of the Air #2
How I got this book: Bought
You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.
The first lesson is to make yourself strong.
After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.
When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.
If you haven't already read the first book in The Folk of the Air series, feel free to check out my review of The Cruel Prince and stop reading to avoid potential spoilers from book one.
This book is complicated.
I don't know if I've ever read a book before where I've absolutely hated 99% of all the characters but still loved just how vile and repulsive they are.
They're so evil. ALL OF THEM ARE EVIL. Including the author because that ending was not fair!
The two characters I hate the most are Taryn and Locke, which makes them pretty well suited to each other. I love how at the beginning of book one we were presented with this meek, gentle and docile image of Taryn but as the book progressed she turned out to be the worst sister in the world.
Jude is fantastic. I love her ferocity even in the face of impossible odds and certain defeat. She's cunning, clever and complex and yet still manages to be blindsided by others (don't worry Jude, you're not alone!)
Cardan is still a, well, there aren't really words for what/how he is and I still have some huge problems about their relationship dynamic but the chemistry and tension between the two are so palpable that it seeps from the pages.
The plot twists in this book are EPIC! If you were shocked by The Cruel Prince trust me when I say that you won't even know what to make of The Wicked King. My jaw is still somewhere on the floor where it dropped whilst reading that ending...
The storytelling is compulsive. This book is filled with more politics than the first, which I thoroughly enjoyed and I was so excited to see new places and more backstory from several characters.
If you love fantasy with a dark, foreboding edge, an unpredictable plot line and characters you love to hate, you'll love The Wicked King.
Welcome to my stop of the Princess of Baker Street blog tour.
I'd been looking forward to reading this book for quite some time and I'm excited to finally share my review with you!
Big thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate.
Rating: 4 STARS
How I got this book: ARC from Xpresso Book Tours
“Always wear your imaginary crown” is Joey Kinkaid’s motto. For years, Joey, assigned male at birth, led the Baker Street kids in daring and imaginative fantasy adventures, but now that they’re teenagers, being a princess is no longer quite so cool. Especially for a child who is seen by the world as a boy.
Eric Sinclair has always been Joey’s best friend and admirer—Prince Eric to Joey’s Princess Ariel—but middle school puts major distance between them. As Eric’s own life takes a dangerous turn for the worse, he stands by and watches as Joey—who persists in dressing and acting too much like a Disney princess for anybody’s comfort—gets bullied. Eric doesn’t like turning his back on Joey, but he’s learned that the secret to teenage survival, especially with and absent mother, is to fly under the radar.
But when Joey finally accepts who she is and comes to school wearing lip gloss, leggings, and a silky pink scarf, the bullies make her life such a misery that she decides to end it all. Eric, in turn, must decide who he really is and what side he wants to stand on… though no matter what he chooses, the consequences with be profound for both teens, and they’ll face them for years to come.
Is there a chance the two teens can be friends again, and maybe even more?
Trigger warnings: Transphobia, suicide, parental abandonment.
I'm going to start by saying that I can't comment on how well this book represents trans issues/the trans community and that I am still myself learning more about the different genders and sexuality.
From the synopsis, it's clear that this is in no way an easy, fluffy read, and it features some incredibly heavy and hard to deal with themes.
It actually surprised me that the story was told from Eric's perspective, when, given the synopsis, I expected it to have been from Joey's.
Eric is an extremely complex character. He's living alone following his mother's abandonment, he's trying his hardest stay under the radar so that no one finds out and in his attempts he loses a part of himself, the part that cares for his best friend.
Joey is a truly beautiful soul. She wants to live her own life by being true to who she is, and the view, through Eric's eyes, of her struggles and challenges is more than traumatic.
"Are you the roadkill or the vulture?" I ask. "I'm the one who's getting ripped into pieces."
Personally, I struggled a little with the writing. I'm not sure if it was because of mistakes exactly, or the style itself, I just felt as though it jolted me out of the story a few times. But, saying that, the pace and character development was fantastic!
"Even through my coat, the weight of her hand feels good because I been so lonely in my cold house this week, but the panic in her expression rips the good away."
Whilst there is a lot of pain and torment in this novel, I do think that it's important for young people, especially those who are trans to know that they're not alone, and also for non-trans teens so that they can better understand the challenges faced by their peers and how just being a good friend can make all the difference.
"I flop back on the bed and say the only important thing left. "Just tell Joey I'm sorry."
Through all of the pain and heartache, I feel that at the very heart of this story is a strong message about being true to yourself, standing up for what's right and important, and the real power of friendship.
"But you're the princess of Baker Street."
Click the cover photo above to add the book to your Goodreads TBR and enter below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card! The giveaway is open internationally so everyone can enter and it's hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.
Don't forget to click the banner at the top to follow the rest of the tour and feel free to leave your comments below :)
Rating: 4 STARS!
Series/Standalone: Fake Boyfriend #1
How I got this book: Bought
The reason I rarely go home is three simple words: I’m a liar.
When the pressure to marry my childhood sweetheart became too much, I told her I was gay and then fled to New York like my ass was on fire.
Now, five years later and after a drunken encounter, I find myself invited to her wedding. And I have to bring my boyfriend—the boyfriend who doesn’t exist because I’m straight.
At least, I think I am. Meeting the guy I’m bribing to be my boyfriend for the weekend makes me question everything about myself.
When my sister asks me to pretend to be some straight guy’s boyfriend, my automatic response is to say no. It’s because of guys like him people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m gay.
But Maddox has something I need.
After an injury that cost me my baseball career, I’m trying to leave my playing days behind and focus on being the best sports agent I can be. Forty-eight hours with my sister’s best friend in exchange for a meeting with a possible client. I can do this.
I just wish he wasn’t so hot. Or that he didn’t kiss like he means it.
Wait … why is the straight guy kissing me?
Trigger warnings: Homophobia
I had fairly low expectations about this book before I started reading, but OH MY GOSH THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN!
Let me explain why I had low expectations:
1. Fake Boyfriend - this is not my favourite trope (at all) and I thought that they were pretty over-done before reading this.
2. Pretending to be gay to ditch an ex - as you can see from the synopsis that's a key part of this story (and one that I was put off by).
But, the synopsis held something that sparked an interest in me and I just had to read it.
In the beginning, I was super sceptical. Maddox and Damon are literal strangers when they take off for the weekend to Maddox's hometown - to me, it seemed like they should have known each other a bit first.
But, once the story started and the humour came through, I couldn't get enough.
"It was only a dream. I once dreamed I was the spider from Harry Potter. Doesn't mean I want to f*** a spider."
First impressions of Maddox are that he's a complete ass. He lied to his ex about being gay because he didn't want to be tied down and he's a bit of a player. But, the author slowly reveals more layers to his personality, layers that make his actions more understandable. His funny side starts to come out more as the book progresses as well as revealing his fears and insecurities.
I particularly love that he has to come to a big realisation about himself and his journey of accepting this new truth about who he is was beautiful to see.
Damon on the other hand is a sweetheart from the very beginning. He's bitter about his past career and trying to work towards a future he never wanted. He's also dealing with the fallout from a past relationship that instantly puts him on his guard around Maddox.
I love the way that their relationship builds throughout the book. The chemistry is perfect, the tension builds and the result is some seriously H&H love scenes entwined with truly tender, heartfelt moments.
"I found it - where I'm supposed to be. It's with you."
There is some homophobia in this book, which both Maddox and Damon have to deal with, but it's addressed and fought against in an honest way, and I can't help but admire how selfless and understanding Damon is when dealing with some of the more difficult aspects of this.
Overall, this was a fun, fast-paced, heart-warming m/m romance with plenty of lust filled scenes. I read this in one sitting of a few hours and couldn't put it down.
Rating: 3.5/4 STARS
Series/Standalone: At First Sight #1
How I got this book: Bought via Audible
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Paul Auster doesn't. Paul doesn't believe in much at all. He’s thirty, slightly overweight, and his best features are his acerbic wit and the color commentary he provides as life passes him by. His closest friends are a two-legged dog named Wheels and a quasibipolar drag queen named Helena Handbasket. He works a dead-end job in a soul-sucking cubicle, and if his grandmother's homophobic parrot insults him one more time, Paul is going to wring its stupid neck.
Enter Vince Taylor.
Vince is everything Paul isn’t: sexy, confident, and dumber than the proverbial box of rocks. And for some reason, Vince pursues Paul relentlessly. Vince must be messing with him, because there is no way Vince could want someone like Paul.
But when Paul hits Vince with his car—in a completely unintentional if-he-died-it'd-only-be-manslaughter kind of way—he's forced to see Vince in a whole new light. The only thing stopping Paul from believing in Vince is himself—and that is one obstacle Paul can’t quite seem to overcome. But when tragedy strikes Vince's family, Paul must put aside any notions he has about himself and stand next to the man who thinks he's perfect the way he is.
Trigger Warnings: Loss/grief and some homophobia.
I listened to an excerpt of this book on Audible and instantly fell in love with Michael Lesley's narration, in particular, his voices for Paul, Vince and Helena.
Over the past few months, I've fallen head-over-heels for TJ's work. His characters are fantastic - I love Paul's self-deprecating humour, Vince's sweet, persistent nature and Helena's fierce, no-nonsense attitude.
Tell Me It's Real starts off very lighthearted and funny but grows into an emotional, touching story with an unexpected element of tragedy and grief.
Paul's family are perfect! They're hilarious, accepting and truly loving whilst Vince's father is the complete opposite.
Paul and Vince's relationship is swift but no less beautiful and meaningful.
"Take that homophobes!"
TJ's immersive writing style and Michael Lesley's wonderful narration thrust me into this story and easily brought to the life realistic and relatable (even if they are a bit ridiculous and OTT at times) characters.
This is the sixth book that I've read by TJ Klune and it's completely unlike any of the others. I can't seem to get enough of his books right now and I love that he writes across so many different genres. Some of his characters share similarities i.e. Sam (Tales from Verania) reminds me a lot of Paul (Tell Me It's Real) whilst Helena (Tell Me It's Real) is very reminiscent of Gary (Tales from Verania) and yet they surprise me, make me laugh, and give me the feels each time I pick up a new book!
So, if you're in the mood for a very sweet, contemporary m/m romance that guarantees that you'll be laughing out loud alongside moments of sadness and heartache, 'Tell Me It's Real' is the book for you!
Rating: 4/4.5 STARS
How I got this book: Bought
You’ll make it out of here, Brian. I swear.
I had everything—school quarterback, popular with girls, and my dad was proud of me. I told myself it didn’t matter no one knew the real me. And then I nearly died. Landon saved my life. He’s the bravest guy I know. He came out a few years ago, proud and fierce, and he ran into gunfire to help others. Me, I’m a mess. Can’t even stand to be in a room with the curtains open. But here’s the thing about losing it all: You get a chance to start over and be someone new. Only how can I move on when the two shooters who attacked our school were never caught? And why do I feel like I’m still in the crosshairs?
Will you kiss me?
When I came across Brian Marshall,the hottest guy in school, dying on the cafeteria floor, I did what anyone would do. I tried to save him. His request surprised me, but I figured he needed comfort, so I kissed him on the forehead. When he survived and came back to school, he was broken in body and mind. He still needed me, and soon we were unlikely besties. But what I saw at school that day woke me up. I want to demand action on gun control, lead protests, raise my fist. I’ll tear the world down if I have to. And if I can get the man of my dreams and save the world at the same time? I’ll take it. Only I didn’t understand that the horror at Jefferson Waller High wasn’t over.
Trigger warnings: Mass shooting, PTSD, depression, homophobia, graphic violence.
Just from reading the synopsis I could tell that this book wasn't going to be an easy read.
I've only seen information about mass shootings and school shootings on the news and on Twitter. The coverage is always quite brief, giving only the details of what occurred, the death toll, and speculation about the shooter(s).
Boy Shattered went so much further by providing a completely vivid view of life as a survivor of a mass shooting that was incredibly painful and almost unbearable to read, but at the same time, so completely relevant and necessary that I urge you to read it.
This book is overflowing with heart-ache and tragedy, focusing on how the shooting affects the two main characters of the story in very different ways with one character retreating into himself and the other becoming an activist against gun violence.
It is a romance novel but there's a great deal of sadness, pain and angst between the two characters that makes the relationship feel raw and extremely powerful. It is a YA and so, whilst there is sex involved, it's much more character and plot driven.
To me, the book felt like a suspense novel. With the hunt for the shooters ongoing and Brian's PTSD, the pace was fantastic and the story completely engrossing.
Coupled with the tragedy, another painful aspect of this book is the homophobia which is rife in Brian's life, so much so that he's completely in the closet and terrified of making a wrong move that could reveal his secret.
I love how the characters' natures contrast and compliment each other. Brian is troubled, hiding who he is and constantly terrified, whilst Landon is compassionate, determined and supportive.
Overall, Boy Shattered is completely heartbreaking and the title couldn't be more accurate. Feeling Brian's pain and terror, experiencing Landon's fear and his need to do something about it, watching the seeds of their relationship take hold - it was beautiful, gripping and exceptionally painful.
Brace yourself going in and you'll quickly find yourself immersed.
Rating: 4 STARS
Series/Standalone: Tales from Verania #2
How I got this book: Bought
Once upon a time, the wizard’s apprentice Sam of Wilds got his happily ever after in the arms of his cornerstone, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart. A year has passed, and while Sam’s been captured five or six more times since then, things are pretty great. His parents are happy, Gary and Tiggy still eat sass for breakfast, Randall is somehow alive despite being older than the gods, the King rules with a gentle hand, Kevin the dragon is as gross as ever, Morgan sighs a lot, Ryan continues to be dashing and immaculate, and Sam is close to convincing Prince Justin they will be best friends forever.
Life is good.
Until it’s not.
Because Vadoma, the leader of the Gypsy clan and Sam’s grandmother, has come to the City of Lockes with a dire prophecy written in the stars: a man of shadows is rising and will consume the world unless Sam faces his destiny and gathers the five dragons of Verania at his side.
And she brings along her second-in-command, a man named Ruv.
Ruv, who Vadoma says is Sam’s true cornerstone.
It would seem that I'm having a bit of a TJ Klune marathon at the moment since I just can't stop reading his books...even after finishing this I immediately started one of his contemporary romances. He's JUST SO GOOD, I CAN'T STOP!
Anyway, back to the book at hand.
A Destiny of Dragons is book two in the Tales of Verania fantasy series by TJ Klune. If you haven't read book one yet, feel free to check out my review of The Lightning Struck Heart.
A Destiny of Dragons starts with a rather foreboding prologue that, since finishing this book, I have a really, really, really bad feeling about but I'm trying not to think of it so that I don't cry, but Chapter One picks up not too long after where we left things in book one and it immediately falls back into TJ's hilarious rhythm, with Sam trying to show Justin how much he cares before being hit on by a stranger and discovered by a posing Ryan. I really loved being back with the insane Verania crew who I can't seem to get enough of.
The best thing about this book is 'Sam's New Destiny (capitalised so it must be true)' as much as he hates and complains about it, for the following reasons:
ALL THE FEELS!
As always TJ Klune manages to blend this incredible mixture of awesome magic and magical creatures with outrageous, very crude humour and so much emotion you feel like your heart might just burst.
Sam is on another adventure that he didn't ask for and with the help (and hindrance) of some new characters he still handles it with his classic 'Sam' attitude:
"Finally, I did the only thing a person could do if they were in my position and faced with a gigantic hill monster after having been bad-touched by an old lady into the middle of the woods. I waved and said, “Heeeyyy there.”
As with The Lightning Struck Heart, A Destiny of Dragons takes us on a journey across Verania, with some amazing new places to discover this time around.
However, where the first book in the series delivered very over-the-top comedy, this book didn't have quite the same carefree feel. Things are different for Sam, things are darker, harder and more difficult with much more at stake for Sam and the people of Verania. In this book we see strains on friendship and fear that strikes at Sam's heart, and the hearts of those around him.
I'm really excited and nervous to see how things play out in the rest of the series as there's promise of a lot of dark, depressing shit (there was a point in this book that I was so very close to crying) and I'm completely on edge having no idea what's going to happen next. I really don't think it'll be long before I read book three!
So, to finish, I'm going to leave you with one of my favourite quotes from this book, a little pearl of Sam wisdom:
"You can’t hide your head in the sand without expecting your ass to get burned.”
Rating: 4 🔥🔥🔥🔥
How I got this book: This novella is available for free exclusively at tjklunebooks.com
When he sees Satan stuck in a rut, God provides a little divine intervention, suggesting the Devil get back to basics.
Taking God's advice, Satan answers a summons to a crossroad on Earth, hellbent on brokering a deal in exchange for the soul of the human who summoned him.
The problem with that is the summoner is a deviant twink named Jimmy who immediately falls in love at first sight, much to Satan's dismay.
Blasphemy! Where God is a frat bro who wants to get his brother laid, Satan absolutely does not have time for this shit, and Jimmy wants to climb the Devil like a tree.
Important note: If you are extremely religious or find religious satire offensive, this is NOT the book for you!
First off, I want to say:
1. How awesome is the artwork above? The banners were designed by members of TJ Klune's Facebook reader group and I love each one!
2. The author provided this novella for free on his website. It's available to read on the site or you can download the PDF or Mobi files to your devices!
If you've read some of TJ's other work, specifically the Tales of Verania series, you'll be very familiar with the authors' brand of satirical, twisted humour. If you haven't, think like a really vulgar (but in the best way) Terry Pratchett but with waaay more sex, swearing and generally outrageous behaviour involved.
Blasphemy! was a really short read (around 20,000 words) and is a tale about the lord of the underworld and his growing loneliness. Throw in some help from his (and I quote) "brother-dad" God who's incredibly interfering, and a very naive young human who falls head over horns in love and you have a classic, hysterically funny TJ Klune story that will keep you laughing out loud from start to finish.
"And while Satan had never been too fond of labels, he sometimes wondered if he was a bear now, like the type who could be called Daddy."
Featuring appearances from a Demon named Derek, a man named Carl, and a very teenage Jesus Christ this story is pretty much un-quotable but I did manage to find this little snippet to give you a taste of what's in store:
"Jesus! Jesus Christ, you better not be making a mess in the kitchen. We just had it cleaned!"
A surly response came crackling through the monitor. "I'm not! And don't tell me what to do! You're not even my real dad. Joseph is! When he and Mom get back from their vacation, I'm going to tell them you never let me do anything."
As I said above, this book is really not intended for anyone who's highly religious or easily offended, but if that's not you, and you're looking for a quick-paced read that promises some heavy belly laughs, go and grab this book!
Enjoy 🤣 and once you read it, feel free to leave your comments below!
Rating: 4 STARS
How I got this book: ARC from Penguin Random House UK via NetGalley
Meet Jack Rothman. He's seventeen and loves partying, makeup and boys - sometimes all at the same time. His sex life makes him the hot topic for the high school gossip machine. But who cares? Like Jack always says, 'it could be worse'.
He doesn't actually expect that to come true.
But after Jack starts writing an online sex advice column, the mysterious love letters he's been getting take a turn for the creepy. Jack's secret admirer knows everything: where he's hanging out, who he's sleeping with, who his mum is dating. They claim they love Jack, but not his unashamedly queer lifestyle. They need him to curb his sexuality, or they'll force him.
As the pressure mounts, Jack must unmask his stalker before their obsession becomes genuinely dangerous...
Warning: Some strong language below...
Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts) is the unapologetically honest queer YA you never knew you needed.
Let me start by saying that I know there are going to be a lot of people who don't like this book and that the book and the author will probably face a certain amount of backlash, whether it's because there's, 'too much sex for a YA novel', 'it's too open about sex', 'it's too crass', 'it promotes slutty behaviour', 'it victimises straight people'...yeah, you'll probably see all of those opinions at some point or another, I've already seen a few of them myself from other readers. Personally, I found the honesty and openness in this book refreshing.
It's important to realise that teens are having sex (no, obviously not all of them, but some of them) and surely it's better to promote open discussions about sex whilst at the same time letting teens know that they're not alone and also strongly encouraging safe sex - all of which, this book does brilliantly.
Don't get me wrong, I didn't like everything about this book. I found it difficult at times to relate to Jack and his friends who are rich, vain, rude and at times, not very good friends at all. The fact that they all eat cucumber sandwiches, drink champagne and smoke pot before attending the parties of their private school peers had me rolling my eyes and reminding me very much of a much more queer Gossip Girl.
There were also times where I felt that the drama was made out to be more complicated than it actually was, like if Jack was completely honest about his stalker, the threats would have held no power and so things wouldn't have escalated the way that they did, but then I suppose, there would have been no story.
Intermixed with the drama and suspense was a lot of humour, mostly from Jack who has a very sarcastic, dry and witty sense of humour, something that I really loved about him.
"I'm not sure what constitutes a 'special blowjob.' Violins, maybe?"
The darker subject matter, particularly how it completely destroys Jack’s sense of self, was extremely difficult to read. It was painful to witness Jack's building anxiety and the short and long-term effects that it has on him, but I think this made the overall message even more powerful.
So no, in terms of plot, I can’t say this book was perfect for me personally, but in terms of the messages contained within it, the message that we all have the right to be happy and to be who we are (as long as we're not hurting anyone) without owing anyone an explanation, was much needed, the message that teenagers are having sex and so better to have open discussions about it whilst promoting safe sex, hell yeah and then there’s highlighting the harsh reality that no matter what you do or how you live your life there’s always going to be someone who has a problem with it and who’s going to try to make your life difficult.
But, in the words of Jack himself, "I get to be me. And if you don't like that, fuck off."
Jack's book is so resonant, especially in the LGBT community because as someone who doesn’t define as straight/hetero, there still (even today) seems to be so much drama/expectation surrounding your life choices. Like you have to justify who you are and what/who you like when actually, how you choose to live your life is no one's business but your own.
"It's not about making myself less amazing so I blend in - it's about making sure everyone around me sparkles with their own shade of glitter, that they feel as amazing as I do."
Overall, I like Jack, I think his story is extremely important for all teens (and some adults too), no matter their sexual orientation. This is a book that should exist, and I have no doubt that it will start conversations both good and bad, but at least we'll be talking about it, and talking about the important messages that the author is trying to convey.
Trigger Warnings: homophobia, anxiety, suicidal thoughts
Rating: 4 STARS
Genre: Contemporary YA/LGBT
How I got this book: Won in a Twitter competition!
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?
Trigger Warnings: homophobia, panic attacks, mental health and cheating.
I had such high expectations for this book, something that doesn't usually happen, but was probably caused by the enormous amount of hype surrounding this collaboration and the fact that I absolutely loved Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, and They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. Sadly, for me, the hype and expectations fell just a little short of the reality.
Don't get me wrong, in no way was the book bad, it just didn't quite meet those expectations and I was left with some pretty mixed feelings once I put the book down.
I loved the writing style of this book, I was initially a little worried about how Adam and Becky's styles would fit together since they're both so different, but the collaboration works really well and I quickly fell into the story.
Personally, I feel that What If It's Us is very much a Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda meets They Both Die at the End crossover. You can see that in the writing style and I love that you can immediately tell which author 'wrote' each character and that they pretty much wrote fictional versions of themselves, which is kind of adorable.
"Box boy dates guys.
I'M A GUY."
Arthur is very cute, and very naive, and he reminds me so much of Simon, but I do feel that he has a few character flaws, particularly his jealousy and overreaction to certain things about Ben's past, that, considering they only just met, make me feel that he has no real justification to act the way he does.
The actual relationship was pretty realistic (for the most part) although I felt as though maybe one too many cliche's were thrown into the mix and there were a LOT of pop culture references that may go over the heads of people who aren't musical theatre/Harry Potter lovers.
"I mean, I don't want to read too much into things, but wow: I meet a cute boy, and five seconds later, I'm in the middle of a flash mob marriage proposal? Could this message from the universe be any clearer?"
I liked the secondary characters, Dylan being my favourite character of the whole book, I just loved his openness. He's really adorable.
It might be an unpopular opinion, but I don't really feel that there's a huge amount of chemistry between Arthur and Ben, especially from Ben, who I never really feel is 100% invested in making things work and who treats Arthur kind of badly. I actually think he displays more chemistry with his ex than with Arthur.
That being said, this book does an important job in terms of the representation, it manages to address both homophobia and racism, whilst showing some cultural differences between the two characters, Ben who is Puerto Rican and Arthur who's Jewish, and who also has ADHD. It was also really nice to see the strong familial bonds in this book, and to see supportive, accepting parents.
What If It's Us started off as a very cute gay fairytale and it really was, for the most part, but Adam's more tragic/sad style took the story in a direction that I hadn't expected, giving a very non-typical, in some ways 'unhappy' ending that leaves a lot open for the reader to think about. Happy endings are kind of my thing, so I'm not going to lie, the unconventional ending isn't my favourite thing about this book but it still works.
"I guess that's any relationship. You start with nothing and maybe end with everything."
Overall though, this is a very sweet YA romance, packed to the brim with important messages about sexuality, love, racism, friendship, privilege and much more.
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Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, aspiring writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
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