Sage Morgan is starting her senior year at the The Bexley School, along with her best friends Charlie and Nick Carmichael. Everyone thinks that Sage and Charlie would be perfect together, but Charlie is a serial dater and they’re strictly friends. Besides, Sage secretly kissed Nick at a summer bonfire on Martha’s Vineyard.
There’s also a new student at Bexley: Luke Morrison, a PG (post-graduate). He and Charlie form a connection almost immediately, but Charlie has always dated girls and he’s worried about what people will think if he starts dating Luke.
This book takes place over the course of the school year and unfolds from Sage and Charlie’s dual perspectives. The pace is a little slow at times, but this is exactly what boarding school is like in real life. There’s a whole lot of status quo, punctuated by moments of high drama. Needless to say, friendships are tested and the characters have to figure out who they are and what they want out of life.
Besides, even though there isn’t a lot of action, the character development is always building upon itself. At first, I thought it would be interesting to have Nick and Luke’s perspectives, but then I realized that they are constants in this equation. They are fleshed-out characters, but the decisions they make are based the actions that Sage and Charlie make. Also, having their direct perspective would take away some of the mystery of the book; this way, the reader doesn’t have any more insight about what Nick and Luke are thinking than Sage and Charlie.
Sage and Charlie are excellent narrators. They have similar wry personalities, and I can see why their friends think they would make a good couple. While Sage changes over the course of the book, Charlie is the one who really has to figure out his identity; being attracted to another boy is something he hasn’t contemplated before, and there are tons of feelings to accompany a revelation that big.
I would recommend If We Were Us. Walther absolutely nails boarding school life, which is no surprise since she’s a boarding school alumna. This was a sweet and tender book, with a quartet of characters who mean well, even if their actions don’t always show it. I am looking forward to reading more from Walther in the future.
I received a copy of this book from Sourcebooks Fire/NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.