Title: The Upside Of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publication Date: April 11th 2017
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, 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, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review!
The Upside Of Unrequited is the contemporary novel I have always been looking for. Honestly, for someone who very rarely enjoys this genre I was surprised at how much I loved it. I can’t fault the author for her effortless inclusion of diverse characters. It didn’t feel forced at all. Not only is it #ownvoices since the author herself is Jewish, but there was a lot of other diverse representation and you just don’t see that very often in young adult novels.
The narrative was easy to follow and Molly’s voice was extremely likeable, relatable and frequently humorous. There were so many moments where I actually laughed out loud. I adored every single one of the main characters and I loved how it wasn’t just centred on Molly. The side characters actually had a purpose; they each had their own stories, making the whole thing feel realistic.
I also loved how body positive this book was. Fat isn’t seen as a negative thing and Molly is so accepting of her body, even if other people aren’t. Her Grandma makes comments about her weight and when a guy tells her she’s ‘pretty for a fat girl’ she tells him to go fuck himself.
Molly has anxiety, a twin sister and twenty-six crushes. She is also incredibly creative. I mean, who ever thought of putting cookie dough in mason jars? I loved the unstable relationship she had with Cassie. I have a close relationship with my own sister, being only two years apart, so I could really relate to both the good things and the bad things.
Cassie and Molly are sperm-donor babies to an interracial couple. One of their moms is bisexual and Cassie is lesbian. Early in the novel, she starts dating Mina, who is pansexual and Korean-American, and this puts a strain on her relationship with Molly. At times, their entire family was quite dysfunctional which was lovely to see since it’s such an honest representation of how families really are. Their aunt is also homophobic, which made it even more real since not all family members are always so accepting of certain things.
I would definitely categorise this book as a romance. Even though I can’t compete with Molly in a contest of who has the most crushes, one of my friends had quite an impressive amount during high school, and they each had nicknames too, so it was somewhat relatable. It happens. It’s definitely a thing.
I can’t remember if Molly had twenty six crushes including Lin Manuel Miranda, which would make Reid of the White Sneakers crush number twenty seven? I guess it doesn’t really matter. She’s supposed to be pursuing Mina’s cute friend, hipster-Will, so she and Cassie can end up dating (maybe even marrying) best friends, but instead she falls for her nerdy co-worker, Middle-Earth Reid. For a contemporary novel, this was the opposite of insta-love. It was literally a slow burn which I absolutely loved. It was just adorable, especially at the end during her parents’ wedding.
That was another thing I really loved about this book. All the little references that you’ll only get if you read it at this time. During the novel, same-sex marriage is legalised in all US states which is why Molly’s moms decide to get married, but the narrative also discusses so many other relevant topics in such an honest light. It’s just so important and relatable to the here and now.
In a literal sense too, since the release date is around Easter which means you’ll be able to buy Cadbury’s mini eggs! Why would you want to buy mini eggs? How is that even related? I guess you’ll just have to read it to find out.