The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

Fluffy YA contemporary reviews! “What If It’s Us” and “Royals” :)

on November 6, 2018

Hello, hello lovely booknerds! Hope you are all having a wonderful Tuesday.

After a month of reading dark and spooky books for Halloween, I’m in the mood for nothing but warm and fluffy contemporaries this month! I have finished two books already this week, and I ended up giving both of them 5 stars! Here’s why you should pick them up too…


What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera:
Simon & Schuster, October 2018.

whatifitsuscover

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?


I was so happy when I heard this book was going to be a thing, because I love both Becky Albertalli’s and Adam Silvera’s writing. I’ve had an ARC of this book for a while because I won a giveaway for it back in July, but because I’m silly I have only just got around to picking it up!

I was really nervous going into this book, because some of my favourite booktubers seem to have been disappointed by it, but luckily I wasn’t! I really loved this book, because the characters were everything. They felt like real people I would want to be friends with. Arthur and Ben are quite different characters, but I felt they complimented each other perfectly. I probably related more to Ben’s cynicism, but I really appreciated Arthur’s wide-eyed optimism. I constantly felt like I wanted to give Arthur a great big hug because he was simply as cute as a button.

I have seen some people say that they felt there wasn’t any chemistry between Arthur and Ben, but I totally disagree. Their relationship definitely gave me the warm fuzzies. Sure, things were a bit bumpy and awkward for their first few dates, but to me that felt authentic to how I remember dating as a teenager. Even when you really like someone, things aren’t always smooth sailing, and sometimes the nerves you have BECAUSE you really like someone can make things awkward anyway. I liked that these two took a while to get into their groove. It goes to show that life isn’t the movies… dating is rarely this perfect and glossy thing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying to make it work.

One of the things I loved most about this book was all the references to musicals. As a result of reading this book, I went and listened to the soundtracks of both Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton on YouTube (because I’m *that* person who is always late to a party), and I loved both of them! I am desperate to see Dear Evan Hansen when it comes to London next year, even though I will probably weep profusely. Anyway, going back to the book, I loved the scene where Ben listens to Hamilton for the first time, and keeps updating Arthur on all his thoughts and feels. I think there’s something so wonderful about sharing something you love with someone you love for the first time, and them loving it too.

Another thing I adored about this book was Dylan. He’s Ben’s best friend, and I LOVED the friendship between these two. Dylan was hilarious, and SO extra. There’s a subplot all about him enthusiastically falling for this girl Samantha he meets in a coffee shop, and it was adorable. The scene where he accidentally calls her his future wife (to her face) after only a couple of weeks of dating was hilariously cringe (I told you he was extra!) and just made me love him even more. I would totally read a spin off book about Dylan and Samantha.

Overall, I just really loved this book, and I definitely recommend it if you want something warm and fluffy to make your heart happy on a cold November day.


Royals by Rachel Hawkins:
Scholastic, May 2018.

royals

Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her to join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond. 

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.


Royals was another book I really enjoyed! It was total fluff, but there’s nothing wrong with that, and it was exactly what I needed. I’ve seen lots of reviews on Goodreads complaining about the inaccuracy of there being a Scottish monarchy in this book, but come on people, suspend your disbelief and stop ruining my fun! I’m hardly reading this book for a gritty dose of reality now, am I?!

My favourite thing about this book was our main character Daisy. She was so much fun, and her banter with Miles was everything. She was witty and sarcastic, and I loved her awkward habit of saying exactly what popped into her head. She was also really down to earth, and I loved that she didn’t let the craziness of the world she’d suddenly been dumped into change who she was, despite all the pressures to do exactly that. Every time she stood up to a snobby person, I wanted to cheer.

I found Miles quite swoony. He starts off all grumpy and aloof and Mr Darcyish, so seeing him gradually warm up as Daisy begins to charm him (and he begins to charm her, with his loyalty, sweetness, and unexpected game) was very satisfying. This book uses the fake dating trope, and I am a sucker for that, so the romance in this book made me very squealy and happy.

Another thing I enjoyed in this book was the relationship between Daisy and her sister Ellie. El seems kind of stuck up to begin with, and she did annoy me at times, but you start to realise that she’s just trying her best to fit into a crazy world that’s just as hard for her to navigate as it is for Daisy. I liked the exploration of their relationship, seeing how Daisy feels her sister has changed, but eventually recognising that she’s still the same person underneath, and realising how important fitting in with Prince Alexander’s family and lifestyle is to Ellie.

Alex felt slightly underdeveloped to me, but he was nice enough. I enjoyed the character of Prince Sebastian (Seb) more, even though he was a hot mess, and always causing tabloid scandal. He reminded me a lot of young (pre Meghan Markle) Prince Harry. I couldn’t help but fancy him, even though he was a bit of a dick. He definitely got props for being a secret book nerd too.

I loved all the different settings we get to see in this book. Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities, so I enjoyed the parts of the book that were set there, but I also loved seeing the Scottish highlands. I really want to go back to Scotland! In general I just loved all of the fancy houses and palaces Daisy explores whilst she’s there. Reading about rich people’s glamourous lives is my guilty pleasure.

All together, this was an entertaining book I absolutely whizzed through. It was perfect fun, fluffy reading and I can’t wait for the sequel!


Have you read either of these books? What did you think of them? I’d love to hear from you! ❤


11 responses to “Fluffy YA contemporary reviews! “What If It’s Us” and “Royals” :)

  1. Yay, I’m so glad you enjoyed What If It’s Us!! I definitely had the same feelings with the bit that I started reading so I’m sure it’ll continue!! Great reviews, Jess 😀

  2. Marie says:

    Lovely reviews, Jess! I’ve read What If It’s Us and really enjoyed it, it was such a fun, entertaining read and these characters were adorable ❤
    I have Royals on my TBR, it sounds like a fun and fluffy kind of read and I love these so much 😀

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks Marie! Ahhh yay, I’m so glad you enjoyed What If It’s Us! I have seen quite a lot of negative reviews, especially on Booktube, and I just don’t get it – I personally loved it! And ooh I hope you enjoy Royals, it was so much fun! A nice light read 🙂

  3. I’m glad you weren’t disappointed by what if it’s us- I was happy with it too 🙂 Oh I definitely felt the chemistry between Art and Ben too. And I loved the references to musicals too 😀 And Dylan was the best!! Royals sounds like fun- even if it’s total fluff (sometimes that’s exactly what I need). Great reviews!

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you! 🙂 Ahh yay, I’m glad you enjoyed it too and felt the chemistry too. I kept seeing these negative reviews so I was really worried I wasn’t going to enjoy it, but I personally thought it was wonderful. And yesss Dylan was brilliant wasn’t he? I would love a Dylan spin-off! Definitly recommend Royals – pure fluffy fun 🙂

  4. There’s been so many spooky books around that it’s nice to have something different now! And NOT Christmassy! I am so happy you weren’t disappointed by What If It’s Us!

    • mudandstars says:

      Definitely! I felt a bit burnt out on spooky books… but I’m sure I’ll pick some up again before the end of the year 😛 Yesss it was lots of fun and very sweet, definitely recommend. 🙂

  5. andywinder says:

    Aww, I loved What If It’s Us and Royals sounds equally fluffy and adorable! Always good to have some uplifting and positive YA books, especially this time of year 🙂 Do you read a ton of queer YA fiction and, if so, do you have any recommendations?

    • mudandstars says:

      I’m glad you loved What If It’s Us too! Definitely agree – I don’t read enough uplifting and positive books, but it would do me so much good if I did! And I have read a fair number of queer YA books but definitely want to read more. I love both Becky Albertalli’s and Adam Silvera’s books (although his aren’t exactly uplifting… 😦 😦 ) Other than those, I’d recommend All of the Above by Juno Dawson (f/f YA with bi rep), Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson (not YA but kind of has a YA vibe… adorable m/m gay romance, reminds me a lot of Becky Albertalli’s writing), Autoboyography by Christina Lauren (m/m YA), Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg (m/m YA, also has gender-fluid rep with a secondary character, although I can’t remember if that’s in the first book, or the second one, which is called Honestly Ben, which I also enjoyed.) Those are my favourite ones I can think of, if you have any recommendations for any more I should check out then let me know. 🙂

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