Becky Albertalli, author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda, the source material behind the movie Love, Simon, is collaborating with another queer author on an upcoming project.
Adam Silvera (They Both Die At The End) and Albertalli have been writing queer stories for years, and their upcoming project is set to be just as gay. The new novel, called What If It’s Us, will be written by the duo from a dual perspective, each penned by one of the authors. According to EW, the story follows “two very different boys who find fate is either drawing them together or pulling them apart.” Albertalli takes on Arthur, the Broadway-obsessed kid summering in New York, and Silvera will writes for Ben, raw from a recent breakup. The two characters cross paths when Arthur bumps into Ben while he’s carrying his ex’s things to the post office.
#WhatIfItsUs cover is live on Entertainment Weekly! @BeckyAlbertalli and I are so in love with this cover and Arthur and Ben’s love story! We hope you’ll love them too. Illustrated by Jeff Östberg. Designed by Erin Fitzsimmons and Alison Donalty. Book publishes on October 9th, 2018. (Link to interview with me and Becky in bio!)
Albertalli and Silvera agree that the book is a solid fusion of their two writing styles. “We had to let our guard down because we had to give very rough draftswe couldn’t keep polishing it for each other,” Silvera explains. “So I would get Becky’s roughest draft, which I would still think was brilliant, and I would give Becky my rough drafts, which I thought were like the worst words ever written.”
But as fans of both authors know, Albertalli loves a saccharine rom-com ending, while Silvera’s characters are prone to heartbreak, so it’ll be interesting to see which way the scales tip.
The writing pair told EW that the collaboration came about after their debut books went on sale the same week, and their agents connected them, but they quickly found a mutual adoration for each other.
“Our obsession with each other grew so deeply because we loved each other’s books so much,” Silvera gushes. “We were just learning about each other. It felt very pen-pal-yshe was in Georgia, I was in New Yorkand we were probably emailing for months Ultimately, it was just Becky telling me about this, and I’m like, ‘How cool would it be to do something with missed connections in the YA space?’”
Silvera also spoke about his experience being gay in high school, and how that’s inspired his writing, as well as the cover art for What If It’s Us?
“When I was a queer teenager, I didn’t have the confidence or bravery to read about other queer people. I was deeply closeted,” he said. “I would have never walked into a bookstore and grabbed a book that’s so instantly recognizable as being a queer book. I think we have to move with the times here. And that’s one of the beautiful things about the cover, which was illustrated by the artist Jeff Östberg: that we have two boys on this cover. It’s been done before, but I was kind of nervous about doing this. All my novels are about queer boys, and this is the first time that I have a cover that has two instantly recognizably gay boys on it.”
Albertalli agreed that the two boys are “blatantly checking each other out” on the cover, adding, “No question.” Silveri even said that writing this book felt like coming out all over again. “It’s clearly a rom-com, and for me it feels like another coming-out. It feels like I’m no longer hiding the kind of stories that I’m writing. I get to proudly say, ‘Yeah, I’m a queer author writing about queer boys, and I’m hoping that other queer boys will see this and that they will be able to take this home and get themselves recognized.’ I’m really proud of the love story that Becky and I have created.”
For both authors, What If It’s Us is their fourth book, and both are busy working on their fifth. Albertalli said, “I think when people read it, this is very much an ‘Adam and Becky’ book. It’s one thing, and I wouldn’t say it skews one way or the other.
What If It’s Us will be released on October 9th, but you can preorder it here.