Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publication Date: 11 April 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
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Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?
I absolutely adored this novel! It was so cute and sweet and real. I mean, I loved Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by the same author for a lot of the same reasons. But I think I loved this one even more (if that’s even possible).
I think I’ll have to add Becky Albertalli to my list of favorite authors. I love her writing style. It’s a wonderful blend of description, dialogue, and thoughts that gives amazing insight in to the main character. It makes for a deep and intricate character, especially because of how she integrates character thoughts so seamlessly. It makes it easy to get lost in the story because you almost become the character.
One of my favorite parts of this novel was Molly’s relationship with body image. It was never a big focus of the novel, but it greatly influenced the entire novel. As a fat girl (that’s weird to write), it was really easy to identify with a lot of the personal struggles and self esteem issues that Molly was going through. The idea of her having to “be careful” and feeling that she wasn’t good enough for her crushes was relatable. More importantly, her qualms were applicable to a lot of different situations where anyone doesn’t fit into societal norms.
Molly and Cassie’s relationship was also realistic and authentic. They fought like sisters do without it being just a means to further the plot. For anyone who has a sibling who’s a twin or very close in age, this relationship was very reminiscent of that type of relationship. I especially enjoyed the fact that their relationship was already well established as being incredibly close. I think Albertalli did it to really showcase how relationships – especially those that are closest to you – are affected by newer relationships. Furthermore, the way their relationship grew and changed because of their girlfriends was eye-opening, because too often books assume that siblings will either drift wildly apart from one another or remain the exact same. Albertalli understands and explores the dynamics of every relationship that she creates.
Cassie and her girlfriend’s relationship also had me super excited the entire novel. There were times where it felt that her relationship overpowered the story but it was never in a negative way, if that makes sense. Again, it felt like Albertalli was making Cassie and Molly’s relationship more real. There are definitely times when it feels like your siblings life is paid more attention to than your own, so much so that it over powers your own story. It was an interesting too see how Molly navigated her sister’s relationships and the assumptions she made based on how she views Cassie. But the best part was Molly finally actually seeing Cassie’s life and the struggles she faced, in spite of Molly’s almost reverence for her sibling.
Although Cassie’s relationship was really cute, my favorite part of the story was witnessing Molly come into her own person. Albertalli did an excellent job of showcasing how a person changes when they open themselves up to the idea of dating someone, especially when you’ve felt that there isn’t hope for you because your different. There were several times where I identified with Molly’s confusion and awkwardness with how to actually talk to Will. It was really nice to be able to strongly identify with the real life struggles of a character.
The Upside of Unrequited is one of those novels that I would recommend to anyone. Especially if you’re looking for a quick yet insightful read. Or if you really like the slow romantic build up with dashes of quirky comments. And definitely if you enjoy books that explore relationships, both romantic and familial. Or maybe you’re just looking for a book to pass the time with, a book that will keep you hooked from page one until the very end. If any of those sound like you, make sure to pick up a copy of this novel.