June 9, 2024

What If Its Us Movie Adaptation: An In-Depth Look

Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera have made significant waves in the Young Adult (YA) fiction world with their collaborative novel, "What If It's Us." This intriguing tale, published by Simon and Schuster, brings a unique blend of Silvera’s authentic New Yorker vibes and Albertalli’s insightful storytelling, creating a memorable romantic comedy between two teenage boys navigating love and life in bustling New York City.

Plot Summary

"What If It's Us" (Book 1)

The novel is set against the vibrant backdrop of New York City and follows the story of two main characters:

  • Arthur Seuss: A 16-year-old intern at his mom’s law firm, visiting NYC for the summer. Arthur is an enthusiastic Broadway lover, particularly obsessed with the musical "Hamilton."
  • Benjamin "Ben" Alejo: A half Puerto Rican high schooler dealing with the aftermath of a breakup and attending summer school.

Their story begins at a post office, where Arthur overhears Ben talking about his recent breakup. Despite their brief meeting, they lose touch, sparking a quest to find each other again in the city. Their journey explores various teenage relationship challenges, from commitment issues to intimacy fears.

After a period of dating filled with typical teenage drama, misunderstandings, and eventual reconciliation due to a crisis involving Ben’s best friend Dylan, the novel ends on a realistic note. Arthur and Ben choose to part ways amicably, deciding against a long-distance relationship.

"Here's To Us" (Book 2)

The sequel continues the story of Arthur and Ben as they reunite in New York several years after their initial separation. This follow-up delves deeper into their characters' emotional development and explores the concept of second chances both in friendship and potentially in romance.

"Romantic Movie Stories, June 1936" by grumlinas is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/.

Main Characters

  • Arthur Seuss: Crafted by Becky Albertalli, Arthur’s character brings an outsider's perspective to New York while being passionate about Broadway.
  • Benjamin "Ben" Alejo: Written by Adam Silvera, Ben’s character offers an authentic New Yorker’s viewpoint.

Supporting characters enrich the narrative, including:

  • Hudson Robinson: Ben's ex-boyfriend
  • Dylan Boggs: Ben's best friend and a stereotypical coffee enthusiast and hopeless romantic
  • Samantha O'Malley: Dylan's love interest
  • Jessie and Ethan: Arthur’s best friends from home
  • Juliet and Namrata: Arthur’s friends from the law firm

Reception and Reviews

The first book, "What If It's Us," received critical acclaim, garnering starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and the School Library Journal, with Booklist also offering positive feedback. The sequel, "Here's To Us," similarly received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist, indicating consistent appreciation from critics.

Adaptation and Cancellation

The movie rights for "What If It’s Us" were acquired by Anonymous Content in September 2018, with Brian Yorkey set to adapt the screenplay. However, the production, initially set to begin in 2020, was ultimately canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, disappointing many fans eager to see the story brought to the big screen.

Themes and Analysis

The "What If It's Us" series excels in portraying complex themes:

  • Romantic Comedy: The books highlight the ups and downs of teenage romance with humor and heart.
  • Identity and Self-Discovery: They address issues of sexual orientation, first loves, and the emotional transitions involved in growing up.
  • Friendship: The narrative explores how friendships evolve and are tested by romantic relationships and personal growth.

Albertalli and Silvera's collaboration provides a heartfelt exploration of youthful love and the importance of self-discovery. Their storytelling is enhanced by their ability to interweave personal experiences and perspectives into a relatable and engaging narrative, resonating deeply with readers.

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