Category Archives: Harper Teen

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

What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera Title: What If It’s Us
Authors: Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN: 978-0062795250
Genre: LGBT, YA,
Pages: 448
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 stars

It is a classic boy-meets-boy story. Of the universe, of things working out, of some things not working out as you go along, of an age of rapidly increasing technology and yet believing in destiny, fate, and knowing that you met him and that he met you for a reason. Arthur and Ben are teenagers who meet, but will they stay? Has the great wide universe planned it that way for them at all?

I know exactly why I read queer-theme based YA novels, even though I am not a teenager, even though I am nowhere close to being one. Because I never had this while growing-up. This kind of comfort that love and companionship is possible amongst two boys or men was unknown to me. The 90s were all about ignoring, of not seeing, of the queer community being invisible. Thankfully, that’s not the case today. We need more Indian LGBTQIA voices though and that discussion is for a later day. Today, it is about What If It’s Usby Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera.

What I love the most about What If It’s Us is that while it is a queer-themed novel, it also moves beyond that and includes larger themes of friendship, family, and love on a scale that we do not seem to gauge when we are teenagers (or do we?). And of course, you cannot, the almost BIG WRITING COLLAB of all-time – Adam Silvera meets Becky Albertalli. I love their individual works, and this one is even more special because its two of them who have worked on the same book.

Arthur is an out-of-towner in New York on an internship, in his mother’s law firm. Ben is a New Yorker who is trying to get his grades up and is studying in the summer. Arthur has never had sex, let alone be in a relationship. Ben is just getting over a recent break-up with Hudson. The setting is perfect. Summer in New York and they met, and what happens next is what obviously I am not going to tell you. You have to read the book.

The writing is crisp. The context of each character could get long, but it doesn’t bother you all that much. You don’t realize which parts are Albertalli and which Silvera, but you don’t have to, because the book merges wonderfully in these collective voices. Every character is sketched well and doesn’t seem excessive. The writing is real and relatable. The teenage angst, the crush that turns to love and what happens next will make you want to not stop turning the pages.

What If It’s Us is a book that is real, kinda bittersweet, and mostly full of possibilities. The writing doesn’t become mushy. It is real. You can relate to it, because you know people like Arthur and Ben and their friends. You can also relate to it because more than time you have also looked at a stranger, who you randomly bumped into and thought: What if?

 

 

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Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson Title: Nimona
Author: Noelle Stevenson
Publisher: Harper Teen
ISBN: 978-0062278227
Genre: Comics, Graphic Novels
Pages: 272
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 Stars

Nimona is a refreshing comic debut. Noelle started it as a web-comic, till it was a rage and voila, then a book! I am disappointed that I waited this long to get my hands on this one, but I am also quite glad that I read it perhaps way at the end of the pile, so I could enjoy it so.

Nimona is a comic book anti-hero like no other. She is a shapeshifter and the comic itself is set in the near future. There is a regime at work and they want the law and order situation to be maintained as per them. Nimona is the new sidekick to her super-villain boss Lord Ballister Blackheart. Ballister Blackheart has a history with Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin (you will also know of the twist there once you read the book) who works for the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics. It is up to Nimona and Ballister to prove to everyone that the institution is not really what it stands for. How they do that forms the crux of this graphic novel and more than anything else the past of Nimona and the terrors she holds. Might I also add that Nimona is barely a young girl with a knack of villainy.

The entire shapeshifting angle in this graphic novel worked superlatively. It is hilarious and often terrifying. The plot is taut and as a reader, I am so looking forward to the sequel (hoping there is one). The comic is delightful and also the scientific angle is explained quite simply. There is plenty of action, adventure and incidents that follow throughout the course of the book. Graphic novel and superhero lovers will simply adore this book. I know I did. “Nimona” is the one graphic novel you cannot miss out on.