Review: Here’s to Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Here’s to Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam SilveraHere's to Us by Adam Silvera, Becky Albertalli
Series: What If It's Us #2
Published by Quill Tree Books on December 28, 2021
Pages: 480
Source: the publisher
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Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera reunite to continue the story of Arthur and Ben, the boys readers first fell for in the New York Times bestselling rom-com What If It’s Us.

Ben survived freshman year of college, but he’s feeling more stuck than ever. His classes are a slog, his part-time job working with his father is even worse, and his best friend Dylan’s been acting weird for weeks. Ben’s only real bright spot is his writing partner Mario, who’s been giving him a lot of Spanish lessons and even more kisses. Mario’s big Hollywood dreams make Ben start to dream bigger—and the choices he makes now could be the key to reshaping his future. So why can’t he stop thinking about a certain boy from his past?

Arthur is back in New York City for the first time in two years, ready to take the theater world by a storm as the world’s best . . . intern to the assistant of an off-off-Broadway director. Of course, it sucks to be spending the summer apart from his sweet, reliable boyfriend, Mikey, but he knows their relationship is strong enough to weather the distance. Which is why it’s no big deal when his ex-boyfriend Ben stumbles back into the picture. And it’s definitely fine that Ben’s blissfully happy with some mystery boy. First loves are special, but it’s way too late for what-ifs. Right?

Even as the boys try to shake off the past, they keep running into each other in the present. Is this the universe trying to tell them there’s a do-over in their future?

I honestly don’t know if I can properly put my feelings about this book into words. I’m still kinda processing it. This book took me on an absolute emotional rollercoaster. It played my heart like a ping pong ball. I had moments where I had to put the book down and walk away, and moments where I cried so hard, it was embarrassing.

The pandemic hit me hard, emotionally, mentally and financially. It put me in the worst reading slump I’ve ever been in. The last book I read was in March 2020, and I didn’t read again until I picked up What If It’s Us in February 2021 and read it in 3 days. It was such a relief to be reading again after a year of being unable to pick up a book. I remember being sad with how it ended, but loving the book overall, and being super excited for the sequel.

And then Here’s To Us was in my hands and I started reading it right at the end of 2021. It felt right to end 2021 with Ben and Arthur, just as I had begun 2021 with them – and, consequently, began 2022 with them, as well. This series – and these characters – really were there for me when I needed them, and I’m forever grateful for that.

But it definitely put me through an emotional rollercoaster. The slow burn was torturous, and at one point, the book just… I’ve been struggling with my mental health, and it made me feel super depressed when I was halfway through and everything was still broken and a mess. I almost stopped reading. I really struggled to get through it. And I LOVE slow burns, but something about this… The idea that Ben and Arthur might NOT get an HEA…? I mean, Becky and Adam had done that once already. But I figured, why would they write a sequel just to have it end with Ben and Arthur apart? So I powered through. And I’m so, so, SO glad I did. Because that ending? Truly, absolutely, amazingly perfect. Worth every single moment that made me sad and made me cry. So damn worth it.

I loved seeing these characters grow up. Loved seeing them through their ups and downs, their good moments and their mistakes. Loved seeing their character growth and development. Loved seeing them find their way back to each other. I actually HUGGED the book when I was done reading it. Not gonna lie, I really wanted MORE of Arthur and Ben together and happy, but the ending was still utter perfection.

I know this isn’t much of a review, but… I just have so many thoughts and feelings and I’m really having trouble articulating them. All I can say is that I loved this book to pieces. I love this series to pieces. I loved these characters to pieces. I love Becky and Adam to pieces. And I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend everyone go read this book ASAP.


Review: Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Kate in Waiting by Becky AlbertalliKate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 20, 2021
Pages: 400
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theater rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.

But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.

Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.

I don’t think I’m ever going to read a Becky Albertalli book that I don’t like. Her books are just so… Amazing. Incredible. Insanely good. Like. I could go on. And Kate in Waiting was no exception. I devoured this book. I read it in three days. I just couldn’t put it down! It had a diverse cast of LGBTQ+ characters, a little bit of mental health rep, and some great Jewish rep. Not to mention a great plot. Basically, it had everything I love!

I don’t know how she does it, but Becky always manages to write such relatable characters. I always feel like I’m standing right there with them. Kate was great. I related to her on so many levels, even just with small things, like hating the rain and being a zombie demon after taking Xanax and not getting enough sleep. Anderson was amazing and so, so sassy. I felt so bad for him after that one scene (not gonna spoil it), but I understood why everyone involved behaved/acted/responded the way they did. Noah had my heart from the very beginning. He was just so adorably dorkish. I predicted what would happen with him and ____ (Sorry, no spoilers, hehe) less than a quarter of the way into the book and I definitely had a !!!!!!! moment when I found out I was right.

I need to shout-out Kate’s relationship with her brother, Ryan. I love the way Becky handles sibling relationships in her books. Media always makes siblings hate each other; they either fight all the time or they just ignore each other. And, yeah, that’s relatable for some people. But some people do get along with their siblings, and it’s a breath of fresh air to see that.

Sending a shout-out to Matt, Raina and Brandie and basically everyone in this book. Seriously, how does Becky Albetalli always write such amazing characters???

Also, shout-out to the Dear Evan Hansen reference and what I think was a Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda reference.

So.. Yeah. I loved this book. More than words can say. I loved everything about it. The only negative thing I can say is that I want more of these characters and this world, but I’m pretty sure it’s just a stand-alone. So that’s disappointing, haha.

But yeah. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves books about friendship, first love, and high school or musical theater. Also for anyone who likes LGBTQ+, mental health and Jewish rep. If you’re new to Becky Albertalli, this is a great book to pick up. And if you’ve read and loved her other books, then I can promise this one won’t disappoint!

Kate in Waiting releases tomorrow, so there’s still time to pre-order!!! Go do that, right now! You won’t regret it! And if you pre-order, you can get this adorable necklace!!!


Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam SilveraWhat If It's Us by Adam Silvera, Becky Albertalli
Series: What If It's Us #1
Published by HarperTeen on October 9, 2018
Pages: 437
Format: Hardcover

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?

This book has been on my TBR for a VERY long time. It was also the first book I read in almost a year – and I can’t express how happy I am that this was the first book I decided to read. It was fun, cute, fluffy and a little bit angsty. It’s by one of my favorite authors – Becky Albertalli – and it made me even more excited to read more of Adam Silvera’s books.

First of all, the Dear Evan Hansen references. Oh my god!!! If you read my newest On Meredith’s Mind post, you’ll know that I’ve been obsessed with Dear Evan Hansen for over a year now. So that, right off the bat, was one of the main reasons I wanted to read it. And it definitely did not disappoint! All the DEH and broadway references made me so happy!

Also, Arthur!! I adored Arthur to pieces. He was so relatable and adorable and anxious and Jewish and I just wanted to hug him. I loved him and being in his head. His relationship with Ben was adorable and felt so realistic. I loved the series of awkward dates. The “getting to know you” phase of a relationship can be SO awkward, and it’s a nice change from all the perfect fairytale dates that Hollywood always plays up. That’s not always reality and it was nice to see that acknowledged.

I also loved Ben and Dylan’s bromance. It was hilarious and adorable.

This book was also super quotable. Some of my favorites were:

“Box Boy dates guys. I’M A GUY.”

“I need to ship myself with me for a bit.”

“Speaking from the dick was never a logical step.”

My only issue with this book was the ending, but it definitely didn’t ruin the book for me, or lower my overall rating. I still loved the book with my entire heart. Knowing there’s a sequel also helped quell my disappointment. Waiting until October is going to be torturous, but I’m so so so excited for the sequel!!!

Overall, I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book and HIGHLY recommend it for fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, as well as for fans of rom-coms and broadway musicals.


Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky AlbertalliThe Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 11, 2017
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

This book was so freaking adorable!!! Describing a book as “down to earth” like you would a person seems weird, but that’s exactly what this book is – down to earth. The characters were incredible and beyond relatable. The writing was magnificent. And the plot was intriguing and held my attention until the very last page. Becky Albertalli is an incredible story teller. Much like her first book, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, this was an adorable coming-of-age story that everyone should read!

For me, Molly is the most relatable character I have ever come across. I don’t talk much about myself or my personal life, but like Molly, I’m fat, Jewish and have anxiety. Those three things alone make her incredibly relatable, but there were other things mentioned throughout the book that made her EVEN MORE relatable. I’m not ready to specifically name/discuss those things, but if you’ve read the book, Molly could be my Personality Twin. I felt like I was her, or she was me, or something like that. She is now one of my favorite characters of all time.

I loved how complex Molly and Cassie’s relationship was. It’s very common in YA novels for the siblings to not get along at all, to despise each other. I’m not saying that doesn’t happen in real life. But sometimes, siblings DO get along. Or get along sometimes, but not always. And I loved that this book showed that. It showed how close Molly and Cassie were, but also showed that siblings can fight and drift and still love each other. It was so refreshing to see and I wish more YA books showed that.

Molly, Cassie, Olivia and Mina are squad goals. Cassie and Mina were adorable together and I loved the way they made sure to include Molly and Olivia in almost everything they did. But I also liked the way they showed the ups and downs of friendship and the whole “balancing friends and boy/girlfriends” thing. Because it CAN be a balancing act and it’s not always easy.

Reid was AMAZING. He was kind, sweet, nerdy and funny. I wish I had a Reid in my life. I loved the progression of his relationship with Molly and how neither one played games. They were very real with each other.

Just like with Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I loved that Molly and Cassie’s parents were THERE. Unlike so may YA books where you never see the parents and wonder if the main character even has any, Nadine and Patty were there for Molly and Cassie. They set boundaries and rules and punished the girls when they did something wrong. But they were also fair.

I don’t know what else to say about this book. This review doesn’t do the book justice AT ALL. All I can say is it was effing fantastic and if you don’t read it, you’re missing out. So go buy it and go read it ASAP.


Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky AlbertalliSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 7, 2015
Pages: 320
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is the epitome of epic and adorable. Right from the opening line, I was hooked. Save for a handful of moments in the first half of the book when I felt a bit of a disconnect with the characters and the story, there was nothing about this book that I didn’t love. With real, relatable characters, an adorable coming-of-age/coming out story and Becky Albertalli’s gorgeous writing, this is a must-read for everyone!

Also, just so we’re clear, there’s no way this review can possibly do this book justice. It’s just one of those books that you have to read and see for yourself! But I’ll do my best to put the awesome into words :)

I loved Simon! He was adorably awkward and his internal monologues/one-liners were hilarious. Some of my favorite quotes in the book come from him. Albertalli did an incredible job capturing Simon’s voice and personality. I felt like I was right there with Simon, living and experiencing everything he did. He would bring up middle school and I’d instantly be back in middle school, remembering all the awkwardness. His fears and insecurities were spot on.

Martin was … Well, I don’t really know how to describe Martin because I’m still trying to figure him out myself. He had no problem with Simon, he just saw an opportunity and went for it. I hated him for the things he did to Simon and the way he treated him. But as the story went on, I also started to feel for him a little bit. Not as much as I did for Simon. But Martin showed he had an okay side at times and I like what he did in the end.

I loved Simon’s group of friends: Nick, Abby and Leah – Nick and Abby especially, though. Even though Abby was a new friend in his life, she was an incredible friend and I loved their dynamic. My heart broke for them near the end, but all ended up being well, thank goodness. Nick was just really cool and I loved the way he stood by Simon. As for Leah… I loved her in the beginning and I understand why she was so hurt in the middle/end, but… I hated her attitude and I felt so bad for Simon. It really changed my opinion about Leah. I get it, I do.. But she just annoyed me.

I loved that Simon had an awesome, supportive family. I loved that Simon’s parents were THERE. Unlike so may YA books where you never see the parents and wonder if the main character even has any, Simon’s parents were there for him and they set boundaries and rules and punished him when he did something wrong. But they were also fair. Simon got along with Nora and Alice, his sisters, for the most part. They didn’t always get along 100% and they sometimes had small fights, but nothing crazy or explosive. I’m so tired of YA novels where the siblings despise each other and are mean to each other and where the parents are practically invisible. It’s just not realistic and it was so refreshing to see something more realistic and relatable.

Also, another notable “character” that deserves a shout-out is Bieber the Dog! As a dog lover, I really just wanted to cuddle with Bieber! And I never thought I’d say “cuddle” and “Bieber” in the same sentence, but there ya go! I also liked how Bieber was always involved. Like, some authors mention the family has a pet and then the pet is never around. When you own an animal and it bonds with you or someone in your family, it’s ALWAYS around and ALWAYS wants attention. So I loved that Albertalli never forgot Bieber and he was interactive in the scenes at Simon’s house.

Simon and Blue’s emails were the actual best thing ever. They were my favorite part of the book and so adorable and sweet and real. Honestly, the whole book could have been made up of their emails and I wouldn’t have minded. I wish we’d had MORE emails. I grinned like an idiot for most of the email chapters. And a few times, they made my heart break. But they were the absolute best part of everything and I adored them. I especially liked the autocorrect fail Simon experienced near the beginning! Bahahaha!!!

When it came to Blue’s identity, I had three main suspects in my mind. One would have ticked me off, one wasn’t completely practical and one seemed really possible, if not a bit far-fetched. Roughly half-way through the book, I formed a very solid theory. Once in awhile, something would happen and my theory would shift among the main three suspects, but I mostly stuck to the belief that my original theory was correct. And, you know what? It was! And when we finally discovered who Blue was? I grinned like an idiot and pumped my fist and swooned! Because it was absolutely perfect and epic and I loved it and I could keep going on and on, so I’ll stop now… ^_^

My only (half-joking) complaint is that I would have LOVED more Simon & Blue (post-identity reveal) together time! They were adorable together and I wanted more of them!!! So.. Hey, Becky? Sequel, please?!?!? Or.. belated epilogue? Or deleted scenes? SOMETHING?!?!? *Puppy eyes*

So yeah… If you couldn’t tell from my gushy, fangirly, nonsensical review, I adored pretty much everything about this amazing, adorable, epic book. We need more diverse books and we need more books like this one. You just really need to read it cause my review didn’t do it justice. I recommend it to everyone. I will shove it into people’s hands if I have to. It’s a MUST read!!! I seriously can’t wait to read Albertalli’s next book! And every book she ever rights, period.