Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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Rating: 4.5 stars
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 mean, here’s the thing I don’t get. How do people come to expect that their crushes will be reciprocated? Like, how does that get to be your default assumption?”
The Upside of Unrequited is an absolute must of you are into contemporary. Just like Simon VS., Becky Albertalli captures the magic of what it is to be a teenager and what it is to have your first love. This was a lovely book that I truly adored.
Molly is one of my favourite characters I’ve read in a young adult novel. She is one of the most authentic and relatable characters ever. While I don’t personally relate to many things, I did relate to the anxiety part very well (I’m on meds just like Molly becuase anxiety sucks a lot). I love that it’s just a part of her and wasn’t something that took over her entire character. Molly had flaws and she recognized them and did what she was capable of to work through them. She grew so much from the start of the book to the end and I loved her for it. I do wish I could tell her not to worry so much about having her first kiss. Girl, it ain’t a big deal, I promise.
Reid is the cutest guy ever. He was so comfortable with himself and there’s nothing more wholesome that a character who is so ok with who they are and don’t treat their romantic interest like absolute crap because of it.
One of my favourite things about this book was the diversity of all the charcters. So many amazing kinds of people were represented and it was in the most natural way. It never once felt like Becky Albertalli was trying to squeeze all these people in to fit some quota (because let’s be honest, other authors do that and they try not to make it obvious but it is and it’s the worst because they have no idea what they’re doing and probably should have hired a beta reader). Everything was natural and wonderful and perfectly authentic. Not only that, but they all fit into the story so well. Everyone had their part and everyone was important to advancing the story in some way.
“There’s just something terrifying about admitting you like someone. In a way, it’s actually easier when there’s no chance of anything happening. But there’s this threshold where things suddenly become possible. And then your cards are on the table. And there you are, wanting, right out in the open.”
Becky Albertalli is such an incredible writer. Sometimes when authors write about teens, they either write them too immature or they act way too old than what any teenager would act ever like. But not with Becky Albertalli. Like in Simon VS., she knows how to write teenagers in the most natural way. Her characters are always so fully formed and interesting to read about. They have their positives and their flaws, which they always are so in tune with and make an effort to work through.
The plot was the cutest thing. If there’s anything Becky Albertalli knows how to do, it’s write an original plot that has you smiling like an idiot. I can’t get over how cute Reid and Molly were and how fast I flew through this book because the plot just has you flipping through page after page, needing to know what else was going to happen.
The only minor complaint I have (like literally the smallest thing) was the pacing. Sometimes the story seemed like it was flying by and at other times, scenes felt dragged out. Upside is a very character-driven book and I think because of that sometimes the pacing of the novel suffered a little bit.
Basically, this is a book you should read. Whether or not you read Simon VS., The Upside of Unrequited should be required reading. It’s an authentic young adult novel with such a large amount of diversity and the cutest love story. What more could you ask for?