Review by Booklist Review
Ben Alejo and Arthur Seuss are back in this sequel to What If It's Us (2018), picking up two years later when both are in college and comfortable being out. Ben is in an undefined relationship with Mario Colón, a creative-writing classmate who helps Ben embrace his Puerto Rican heritage. Arthur is in a sweet relationship with classmate Mikey McCowan, who is returning to Manhattan to intern off-Broadway with a well-known LGBTQ playwright-director. New York City may be a big place, but it's a small world in which the two exes cross each other's paths courtesy of old friends Jesse, Dylan, and Samantha. Every chapter ups the stakes for a happily-ever-after ending, but which couple or couples will be triumphant? Coauthors Albertalli and Silvera carefully present the boys' lives, allowing them to mature through successes and failures, pursue their creative passions, and make their own decisions while flanked by old friends and supportive parents. Ben's and Arthur's conflicted feelings while apart and together are front and center. All characters retain their unique voices and personalities, even though they've aged; they are the people readers expect them to be as they navigate coming into their own. The story works as a stand-alone, but purists will insist readers start with book one to experience maximum Ben and Arthur. High-Demand Backstory: The return of this authorial dream team comes with an automatic patron waiting list, so stock up.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up--The boys are back, and the dream team of Albertalli and Silvera have reunited for this much-anticipated sequel to What if It's Us. It's been two years since Arthur and Ben's whirlwind relationship, and Ben is enjoying the summer after his freshman year of college. He's deep into his fantasy novel with the help of Mario, his classmate and Spanish tutor turned not-quite boyfriend. Arthur is gearing up to take things long distance with his boyfriend, Mikey, for a summer in New York City as part of his queer theater debut as the intern for the assistant of an off-Broadway director. The two haven't connected in months, but Ben stumbles upon the wedding of the postal worker from their meet-cute, which prompts him to check Arthur's social media accounts, where he learns that Arthur's en route to New York. All summer they keep gravitating towards each other. Clunky and awkward at first, the two manage to reconnect while they learn to navigate their new friendship. The authors capture just the right amount of romantic tension and show teens how people and relationships change over time. The story also conveys the importance of making space for growth, not only through the relationship between Ben and Arthur but also through side characters like Dylan and Samantha. The story may wrap up too neatly for most readers, but this is still a place where readers will want to go. VERDICT A first purchase; teens will be eager to throw themselves back into this heartwarming world.--Alicia Kalan, The Northwest Sch., Seattle
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
Former boyfriends' "big Broadway love story" gets a revival in this sequel to What If It's Us (2018). Two years after their flash romance, Ben Alejo and Arthur Seuss (both now in college) couldn't have drifted further apart. But destiny intervenes when Arthur lands his "ultimate top-tier pie-in-the-sky dream job" interning at a queer off-Broadway theater for the summer. Their long-anticipated reunion comes with a small catch: Both boys are basically taken. Ben met Mario in his college creative writing class, and, while they aren't boyfriends, the connection--and attraction--is definitely there. Arthur's officially dating Mikey, whose sweetness and steadiness saved him from remaining a "Ben-addled mess." Cue the confusion--and inevitable broken hearts--as Ben and Arthur contend with their pasts and presents while trying to figure out their futures. Who will end up with whom? Albertalli's and Silvera's voices blend seamlessly, balancing the complexities of the boys' situations with heartfelt (and heartwarming) nostalgia. As in the previous book, the narrative alternates between Ben's and Arthur's perspectives with off-the-charts wit and chemistry. Lovable side characters have grown and matured, while new characters expand the world to create an even stronger sense of community. Loose ends are tied up believably with an epilogue. Arthur is Jewish; Ben and Mario are Puerto Rican, and Mikey is White. Swoonworthy wish fulfillment that checks all the right boxes. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.