ARC Review: If We Were Us by K.L. Walther


Summary from Goodreads:

Everyone at the prestigious Bexley School believes that Sage Morgan and Charlie Carmichael are meant to be….that it’s just a matter of time until they realize that they are actually in love.

When Luke Morrissey shows up on the Bexley campus his presence immediately shakes things up. Charlie and Luke are drawn to each other the moment they meet, giving Sage the opportunity to steal away to spend time with Charlie’s twin brother, Nick.

But Charlie is afraid of what others will think if he accepts that he has much more than a friendship with Luke. And Sage fears that things with Nick are getting too serious too quickly. The duo will need to rely on each other and their lifelong friendship to figure things out with the boys they love.

eARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This review is spoiler free.

2 stars

Content warnings: underaged drinking, (consensual) sex between minors, internalized homophobia, smoking

One if these days, I will learn how to read. I mean, I know how to read, but apparently not summaries on Netgalley. I feel like my unenjoyment of this book is completely on me, because if I had read the whole summary instead of just the first sentence, I probably wouldn’t have requested it and we wouldn’t be here. I thought that this would be a cute friends to lovers set at a boarding school and while I suppose there was a friends to lovers plot line, but it uh wasn’t what I am expecting and so much of this book didn’t work for me, so let’s just jump into that.

I am so tired of reading YA romances where one of both partners treats the other like shit the whole time. Charlie and Luke are one of the two major couples of the book, with Luke being out and Charlie very much not being out. Since nobody knows about Charlie, he spends the majority of his time making sure no one thinks he is gay by dating and dumping girls every two weeks (including when he and Luke are officially in a relationship, when he agrees to go on a date with a girl without consulting Luke and gets upset that he is upset with him over it) and quite literally shoving Luke away in public, including shoving him into the woods where he hits a tree and ends up bleeding. The other main couple is Nick and Sage. Half of the book is Nick being mad at Sage for being friends with his twin brother? And then the other half is Sage saying that she wants to date him but she can’t because if they date they might not get married one day? I was very confused as to why we were supposed to want them to be together.

The trope or plotline or whatever about making your partner come out of the closet so that you can date is not okay and I am very tired. TLDR, Luke gets tired of dealing with Charlie being in the closet (which is valid I suppose because, as previously discussed, Charlie is kind of treating him like dirt), but he decided that the way to handle this is to pressure him into coming out (very not okay). In the end, he comes out to his twin brother somewhat willingly and then goes home to come out to his parents because Luke broke up with him and will only get back together with him if he comes out. I am so tired of reading books where this happens. Coming out is such a hard and personal thing, if you are pressuring your partner to do it and basically giving them ultimatums to do so, that’s not okay, and I really am not a fan of books marketed at teenagers acting like it is okay.

Other miscellaneous things. Apparently Luke is Japanese American?? I genuinely did not realise this until I read others reviews, but apparently he is. Other than him occasionally telling Luke that he loved him in Japanese, there is like, no mention or clues about that. Also, this may just be me, but I am not a fan of YA books basically preaching that you should follow your high school partner to their college. College is kind of a big deal and transfering is hard, so you should go where you want to go, not where your partner wants to go.

Anyways, this book was not for me. Hopefully my next post will be less negative, for those of you that are new here I swear this isn’t normal.

2 thoughts on “ARC Review: If We Were Us by K.L. Walther

  1. I agree that the trope of making your partner come out is very tiring, but I could see where Luke came from. On the other hand, the trope of the very straight Sage suffering so much to help Charlie remain in the closet really pissed me off. Like, it put so much emphasis on how the straight people suffer because of queer friends. It does show us Charlie’s struggle as well, but Sage remains at the back of your head the entire time.


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