Cover Image: If We Were Us

If We Were Us

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Member Reviews

If We Were Us is a diverse, voice-y romance with a vivid, specific setting. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters and was rooting for them all the way through!
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This book was okay... I wasn't the biggest fan of it but it also wasn't the worst you know what I mean. Ill try her out again with her next release.
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The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

this book was just kind of okay for me. it had great potential and then just kind of fell flat. I was expecting a fun read and I'm not sure what I got. I had to push myself to finish the second half of the book. there were parts that were enjoyable, and then I just got quite bored.
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For me this book was a DNF at 30% I so wanted to like this book but I just could get into it. It was so confusing and hard to follow.
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DNF

I had issues with the writing of this one. Forced and awkward. The cadence of the conversations feels unnatural and sometimes straight up does not make sense.
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“If We Were Us” is an exploration of how the coming experience can be like for a white upper class (financially) male.  It’s relatively tidy and clean, but still hard.  Well written and engaging with a cast of compelling characters, what marked me the most about this book was the rather refreshing maturity of Sage, who put her friendship before herself by keeping Charlie’s truth to herself at the cost of her own well-being.  She struggled and suffered but most of all, she pushed through.  I was a little annoyed at what I perceived as Charlie’s immaturity, then checked myself and tried to see it in a different angle – the difficulties related to coming out that unfortunately still exist in 2020.  I didn’t resonate with the overall school experience—basically rich kids with little diversity—but it was still both eye-opening and sweet to read.
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When I requested this novel I was into the idea of reading this novel but I discovered that I was unable to provide feedback on this book due to the series being archived prior to download and file/download issues. Again, I am sorry for the inconvenience of not being to review and thank you for taking the time to provide me an ARC of this novel.
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3.5 Stars

If We Were Us is an interesting coming of age tale by KL Walther. I love the outcome, but I struggled with it along the way.

I took me a long time to get fully invested in this story. The different povs threw me off, as I didn't know why we were getting Sage's pov. But, I am glad I kept reading. 

Charlie's the big man of campus. He's dated all the girls, but no one lasts long, as they all think he and his best friend Sage love each other. I thoroughly love his story, once it really started coming alive. I just wish things were revealed sooner. Charlie is closeted, and uses his friendship with Sage to hide as a beard. Falling for his new friend Luke throws a big complication his way. 

And then there's Sage and Nick. They struggle to be together also, as they can't quite come clean to Charlie. I like them together, but I also didn't love the way their conflict was carried out. It seems that one minute there was conflict, and the next everything is resolved, without every talking about it. 

Both couples have a long journey to get to be together. For a large part of this story I just wanted to yell at everyone. But, in the end, I enjoy the authenticity of Charlie's long and rough road towards coming out. 

If We Were Us is a compelling young adult novel. The writing threw me a bit. There was a lot going on and it took a while to figure out where things were going. But it's a sweet read and I'm glad I read it.
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DNF. Thank you NetGalley and Publisher for this early copy! I decided to not keep reading this one, it was not for me. Thanks!
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another disappointing book, all of these characters were very annoying and the plot was minimal,  i am someone who enjoys character driven stories but not when the character that are as bad as this
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*a thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an arc*

DNF at 46%, 1 star

I so rarely DNF books, but this one was just...boring? Kinda basic?

SPOILERS AHEAD 

Pros:
-The banter! Sage and Charlie’s dynamic was fun, and their banter of the few things I found enjoyable!
-The male and female MCs stay friends? Does that count as a pro? They stay friends!!!! Nothing against friends to lovers, but they stay friends!!!! I’m so sick of books shoving the male and female protagonists together, and I’m so glad they stay friends!!!!

Cons:
-Nothing seems to ever happen
-The speed at which Nick and Sage get together. Like you kissed once during a spin the bottle game, and then you hang out in the woods a few months later. You kiss, and BAM! Relationship! It sounded like I’m simplifying the events, but this is literally what happens in the span of like 2 chapters!!
-Why?? Do Sage?? And Nick??? Have to stay a secret??? Like the explanation Sage gives is that her parents were high school sweethearts who got married and later realized they shouldn’t have and got divorced. So, Sage wants to make sure she gets to experience stuff unlike her parents. But like, you’re literally just dating??? It’s not like you’re getting married and having children right this instance??? So you HAVE to keep your relationship a secret???? Your logic makes no sense so it’s a nopity nope from me. And all she tells Nick is just that they have to!!!! and that gets you another nopity nope.
-With Becky Albertalli in mind, this book feels like it came from a straight person trying too hard to show that they’re an ally. Exhibit A: When Nick is secretly over at Sage’s, she thinks about where he could hide with someone were to come in. “I caught Nick throw a glance towards my overflowing closet, as if to say, Well, isn’t that a perfectly good spot?
No, I thought, heart beginning to race. Nobody should have to hide there.” And I just- ??? I don’t know how to explain it, but that’s just not- it’s just- no.
-And finally, (though maybe not technically my point) emotional blackmail! I mean, nothing like the classic I’m breaking up with you until you come out to your parents despite you being unready to wrap everything up, amiright? I mean, it must be SO DIFFICULT to date someone in the closet 🙄

TL;DR: The MCs stay friends and have some nice banter! Sage’s logic makes no sense (even though it’s meant to), nothing happens, the author’s trying too hard, and emotional blackmail!! Great stuff! Would (not) recommend!
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I was expecting a cute read, but wow, this was so far from that. 

I did not enjoy how the gay character, Charlie, was written as his character was not handled very well. He pretty much hates himself for being gay, so dates every available girl in order to hide it, but he treats these girls like shit, and after a couple of weeks will dump them and move onto someone else. And to make matters worse, Luke, Charlie’s love interest, refuses to be with Charlie if he’s not out. This was incredibly frustrating and toxic and I don’t understand why this is still being written in a Young Adult book as it’s horrible rep. 

Everything with Sage and Nick was too dramatic, I didn’t even care about them. 

If you love really angsty books, then maybe this one’s for you, but unfortunately it did not work for me.
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I was really interested in this title, but the characters were very unlikable to me.  I personally don't like the "hiding the relationship" trope when it doesn't serve a purpose and I don't feel it served a purpose in this story. It was just hard to like anyone in this book. I won't be posting a review anywhere because I know it could appeal to some people and I don't want to ruin that, but that book wasn't for me.
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At first, I was not a fan of the writing - it seemed too straight (in the sense that everything was centered around the girl needing to be in love with her best friend). However, eventually my ideas were subverted and it became an enjoyable read, that proved me wrong in all the best ways. Would reread when in need of fluff.
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This was a cute, fun read that I enjoyed a lot. It took me back to some of my later high school years and early university years. It also made me want to read an older version of this book. Let's get into it.

Characters
We follow the perspectives of Sage and Charlie in this book. I really enjoyed their friendship and their unwavering loyalty to each other. However, the characters did sort of blend together. Their voices were very similar and I had some trouble distinguishing between their POVs.

The main focus of the book is the relationship dynamics between Sage, Charlie, Luke and Nick and it was explored very thoroughly. Nick was definitely one of my favourite characters and I wish we could have gotten some more page time with them.

I don't want to be one of those reviewers that say "the characters were too juvenile for me" because this is a YA book and intended for a younger audience. BUT, I will say that the way these characters jumped from one relationship to another, especially Nick and Charlie, made the relationships that were supposed to matter, matter a bit less. Although I suppose that's how teenagers work. I can't remember, I'm like 24 going on 80.

Characters = 5

Atmosphere
This story is set in a prestigious boarding school. When I was 13, I wanted nothing more than to go to a boarding school and have crazy adventures. So this book spoke a lot to my 13-year-old self. I loved reading about the adventures they have and it made me really nostalgic for my early university days (but with more drinking and a lot more swearing).

Atmosphere = 6

Writing
The writing wasn't bad, just a bit confusing. The POV tends to shift very fast, and the scenes also shift without warning. I had to reread some things to make sure I didn't miss anything. It was jarring and made the reading experience a bit hard.

Writing = 5

Plot
I will say that the plot is not exactly something new, but I enjoyed it a lot. We can never have enough LGBTQ stories that explore the themes of friendship, relationships and coming out. The plot goes in circles for a while, but it picks up toward the end.

Plot = 6

Intrigue
As I said, the plot goes around in circles for a bit, and it gets repetitive. There were a lot of secondary characters to keep track of and I didn't care about half of them most of the time. I loved the shenanigans though, and that's what kept me reading most of the time.

Logic
This book makes use of the miscommunication trope, and its cousin, the "keeping secrets to protect someone else but letting that secret ruin your own life" trope. It annoyed me, although I do understand why Sage was keeping secrets. I know it's not always the easiest to talk to people, especially where sexuality is concerned, but an honest conversation between Sage and Charlie could have saved us a lot of trouble.

Logic = 5

Enjoyment
I enjoyed If We Were Us. It was a cute, fun contemporary read that was a nice break from the heavier fantasy stories I read.

Enjoyment = 6

CAWPILE = 5.4/10

Stars = 3 Stars
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DNF @ page 115: I am so bummed that this one didn't work for me. This was my fourth attempt to read it and while this is now the furthest through I've gotten, I think it is safe to say that this book was just not for me. It starts off by just kind of throwing you into the madness that is the Bexley School and never really stops to give you a second to catch your breath or get your bearings. I couldn't keep any of the characters straight and it made it impossible for me to follow anything that was going on because I just kept getting more and more confused. I am SO bummed because I really thought this would be the queer boarding school book of my dreams, but sadly that was not the case.
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"If We Were Us" was a really fun read, perfect for the start of summer. This book centers around childhood friends, Sage and Charlie. From a young age the two of them were always told that they would end up together and while at boarding school everyone assumes they are "endgame." This book is about how these teens deal with expectations that have been placed upon them.
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This ARC was provided for review, but in no way affects the following impartial and unbiased review:
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3,5*
Pros: LGBT+ representation. Flowing and immersive scenes and dialogues. Cute and belly-warming romantic moments. Interesting and fun characters. Focuses on being true to yourself and finding who and what you want to be. Emotional portrait of family and friendship love.
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Cons: As a supposed portrait of two "difficult" relationships, one was completely nonsensical and all "issues" easily avoided, so it shouldn't have been a PoV at all. Rushed and clunky beginning. Egocentric male lead. Includes many tropes and cliches.
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I really enjoyed this compulsive read. I really loved this characters, and I loved seeing their friendship. This book is definitely great for sparking discussion on coming out and LGBTQ issues.
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At a surface level this was good, swoony and fun - all the stuff you want from a YA romance. But if I examine it a bit more there are a few things that irked me and reduced my enjoyment overall.

Other reviewers speak about this better than I will, but it ostensibly seems as though this is not own voices LGBT+ rep, which in itself is okay except that there's some arguably harmful stuff in here. For one, the closeted gay character routinely dates girls and then unceremoniously drops them in order to keep his sexuality hidden and it's never really addressed that this is a shitty thing to do. Secondly, one of the big complications in the book is that one character breaks up with the other because he's not out, and the solution to this is that the closeted character comes out so that he can be with the other guy. Nobody condemns this either. Part of this book's marketing is comparing it to Becky Albertalli, and that's pretty spot on, in fact I think that's partially what this book is relying on to be a success.

The plot also relies quite a lot on the miscommunication trope which I'm just over at this point. I didn't buy that Sage and Charlie were really such good friends because they don't tell each other anything!!! Sage's entire plot was simultaneously frustrating and boring tbh, boring in that it seemed like it was just there as background to Charlie's plot, and frustrating in that Nick basically disregards her feelings at every turn, and doesn't trust her?

Ultimately this book is a fun enough read, and I enjoyed the setting of a boarding school, but I wouldn't go out your way to read it, it's not doing anything new and has some harmful ideas.
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