What If It's Us Summary & Study Guide

Becky Albertalli
This Study Guide consists of approximately 70 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of What If It's Us.
This section contains 898 words
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What If It's Us Summary & Study Guide Description

What If It's Us Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli.

The following version of this book was used to create the guide: Albertalli, Becky and Silvera, Adam. What if It’s Us. HarperCollins, 2018.

Albertalli and Silvera’s novel is divided into 38 chapters and an epilogue, alternating between the perspectives of the two main characters. Arthur Seuss, a 16-year-old boy interning at his mom’s law firm for the summer in New York, is one narrator. Ben Alejo, a high schooler in summer school in the city, is the other.

Arthur begins the novel following a cute boy into a post office when he should be on a coffee run. They boy is mailing a box of things to his boyfriend after a breakup. Something about the boy makes him want to talk to him and find out more. When he learns that the boy is gay, his hopes soar. Arthur mentions that he’s interning in the city for the summer, and he wants to go to Yale for college. Unfortunately, before they can really talk, Arthur gets separated from the boy. Arthur recovers a clue, though. He picks up a ripped mailing label that the boy threw away, and tries to track him down.

The cute boy that was mailing a box is Ben. He is heartbroken, still recovering from a breakup with his ex-boyfriend, Hudson. Ben goes to his best friend Dylan’s house, and learns that Dylan has met a girl that he really likes, Samantha.

Meanwhile, Arthur is disappointed that he did not get to talk to the boy he met at the post office (Ben), so he looks up the only name he could read on the mailing label, “Hudson.” He does not find anything, and his friends encourage him to post something on Craigslist’s “missed connections” board. He does not, but when he is out to lunch with his coworkers one day, he meets a boy named Hudson Robinson, who he assumes to be the cute boy’s ex-boyfriend. After he looks up “Hudson Robinson,” after much searching in other people’s accounts, he finds a picture of the cute boy, but can not find anything else about him. Then, Arthur remembers a logo on the shirt that the boy was wearing, the name of a local coffee shop. Arthur makes a poster, hoping to meet the boy, and hangs it in the coffee shop from the T shirt.

Ben is busy with summer school, and he also gets closer to Dylan and Samantha, and they also tries to hunt down Arthur. He goes to a Yale meetup, looking for him, but does not find him. After Ben’s dad suggests looking on Craigslist, he still does not see anything that could lead him to Arthur. Then, when he goes with Dylan to his favorite coffee shop, he sees a poster with his face on it and emails Arthur. Finally, the two of them have gotten in touch.

Arthur and Ben start dating, with a couple really rough dates that do not quite go as planned. They want to make things work, though, so they keep having “do-overs.” On their third date, Ben goes to kiss Arthur, but Arthur asks about Hudson. He is jealous, and not really sure that Ben is as invested as he is. After that, it seems as though they might not make it. But then Ben invites Arthur to go to karaoke with him, Dylan, and Samantha. After this, things go really smoothly for a while. They meet each other’s parents, and officially become boyfriends. Arthur gets his first kiss. They hang out alone at Ben’s place, and almost have sex, but Arthur is not ready, so they wait.

Arthur goes to surprise Ben after summer school one day, and then finds out that Hudson has been going to class with him the whole time. Arthur feels completely betrayed, and doesn’t understand why Ben did not tell him. He assumes the worst, and breaks up with Ben then and there.

A couple of days later, on Arthur’s birthday, Dylan ends up in the hospital after having a panic attack. Ben tells Arthur, breaking their radio silence, and Arthur shows up at the hospital. Ben apologizes for everything, and they go back to Arthur’s place, and they are boyfriends once again. Instead of getting to make up alone, however, Arthur’s friends from home flew up to surprise him on his birthday, and Dylan gets out of the hospital, so they all hang out at Arthur’s place and throw him a birthday party. The next day, after the friends leave, Ben and Arthur have sex for the first time.

The end of the summer comes quickly, and the day that Arthur has to leave is the same day that Ben has his exam to determine whether or not he has to repeat his junior year of high school. Early in the morning, Ben leads Arthur on a treasure hunt, enlisting the support of their friends, and taking Arthur to the places that formed their relationship. The coffee shop, the karaoke place, and finally, the post office. The two boys say goodbye, and decide to be best friends instead of having a long distance relationship.

Fifteen months later, Arthur and Ben still talk, and there is a lot of potential for their relationship to reignite in the future.

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