Rating: 5 stars
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?
US: 9th October 2018
UK: 18th October 2018
This book was probably my most anticipated release of the year, and it most definitely did not disappoint! It was charming and witty and just such an enjoyable read! I was laughing and crying and had one of the best reading experiences I have ever had whilst reading this book.
This was a dual perspective novel where each perspective was written by one author. Ben was written by Adam Silvera and Arthur was written by Becky Albertalli. I love both of their writing styles separately but I was amazed at just how well they complimented each other considering they are completely contrasting! Also, by each of them solely writing one perspective, it meant the voices of the different characters were extremely distinguishable which I really loved, as often in dual perspective novels the two perspectives can almost blur into one. When I first heard about this collaboration I was, of course, very excited but also a little nervous as you can never quite predict how well a duo will work, but these two were a match made in author heaven, and I would be really interested to read another book from both of them in the future.
The characters, Ben and Arthur, were both so amazing, I truly loved both of them! Ben was a morose, slightly angsty teenager who has just been through a break-up and is trying to post his ex-boyfriend’s things back to him when at the post office he meets Arthur, an upbeat, lovable, musical theatre fanatic who is just working in New York, the city of his dreams, for the summer. That very first time we see them together at this chance encounter it is obvious how amazingly their character’s fit together which is a fantastic testament to how the authors worked together!
Ben was so typical of most of Adam Silvera’s characters and I think that is probably one of the reasons I loved him so much! He was completely realistic, which is very hard to achieve especially in a slightly ridiculous setting, and his relationships with friends and parents were so real as well, it was really refreshing to see this in a character. He was such an enjoyable character to read about and I loved how he approached everything in this book. His personal growth throughout this story was also really great to see, it really added to his character. I particularly loved him right at the end of the book, I won’t say why because of spoilers but he was so sweet and amazing!
And like Ben is to Adam Silvera, Arthur is to Becky Albertalli. He was the perfect embodiment of the style of her writing and her other books! He was so animated and optimistic even when things really were not going his way! I loved seeing a character like this, someone who hadn’t been tainted by all the terrible things in the world and still had a blind hope that everything would work out just how he wanted. Also I have never related to a character quite as strongly as Arthur, just due to his absolute love for musical theatre! I loved all of his geeky references so much, it was so much fun to read!
The plot for this book was also quite original, it wasn’t just your standard formulaic rom-com, it went in every possible direction other than the one I wanted it to! However, by the time I got to the end I was so happy with where it had ended up, it wasn’t necessarily the ending I expected but it was so touching and completely perfect for everything that had come before, but still held a little bit of hope for the future!
Another absolutely amazing aspect of this book was all the musical theatre references! I am a huge fan of musicals and so I got extremely excited every time there was a reference made (and there were a lot of them), it was such a fun addition to the book. The musical that was incorporated most was Dear Evan Hansen, to the extent that the title of the book is actually based off the song ‘Only Us’, as were the part headings throughout the book! The lyrics for the chorus are:
What if it’s us
And only us
And what came before won’t count anymore or matter?
Can we try that?
And what if it’s me
And what if that’s all that we need it to be
And the rest of the world falls away?
What do you say?
I won’t say exactly which parts were used but it was so cool to have that much of a crossover! I love it when authors use aspects or content from outside of their own creation and tie it into their novels, it is always so much fun to read and also makes it feel convincingly like it is taking place in the real world.
The final thing I would like to say about this book is that the writing was impeccable! As I mentioned earlier, the two voices, because of the two authors, were so easy to tell apart which was really great and made the reading experience even more enjoyable! I really loved all the time I spent in these two boys’ heads and although there definitely isn’t any need for a sequel, I would be extremely happy to read one if there was! A follow up could be so much fun.
Overall this was one of the best contemporary romances I have ever read, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys romance, musicals and just a feel good but also thought-provoking book set in the beautiful city of New York.
– Maddie Browse