Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Published: 11th April 2017
Acquired: Bought in local bookstore
Book Blurb:: Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly is always careful. Better to be careful than be hurt.
But when Cassie gets a new girlfriend who comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick, everything changes. Will is funny, flirtatious and basically the perfect first boyfriend.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s co-worker, Reid, the awkward Tolkien superfan she could never fall for… right?
Oh my gosh, GUYS. I am in love ❤ This has to be my new favourite book of 2017, for sure!! ❤ I may ramble a little, so apologies in advance!
After reading Albertalli’s debut Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda earlier this year, I’ve had my eye out for her next release. I was a bit hesitant to buy a copy in case I wouldn’t like it (contemporaries can be a bit risky for me), but in the end I couldn’t resist grabbing one during its publication week. 🙂 And boy, I’m so glad I did!
The Upside of Unrequited centres around Molly Peskin-Suso, who is desperate for a boyfriend. She has had 26 crushes but no boyfriend, as she is scared of getting rejected. As she says herself: “Fat girls always have to be careful”. However, things start to change when her outgoing twin sister Cassie gets a new girlfriend, and introduces Molly to her friendship group. Molly is suddenly faced with flirtatious Will, who could be a perfect first boyfriend. That said, Molly also sees a friendship blossoming with her awkward new co-worker, Reid. Could love be on the horizon?
Okay, my little summary really doesn’t do the book justice, as it is certainly a bit more detailed than that. But this is heart-warming love story that deals with the idea of being comfortable in your own skin. This was such an amazing read- if a bit cringey at times- I actually cant believe how much I love this book ❤
First things first: this book is full of diversity. Molly is our MC; she is fat and has anxiety that she is on medication for. Her twin sister, Cassie, is gay, while Molly is straight. The twins are part of a Jewish family, and they have two mums, rather than being in a nuclear family stereotype. The parents used a sperm donor for the twins and their baby brother Xavier. There are also an array of other characters of different races and sexualities. What’s nice about this is that all these diverse characters fit in to the story so effortlessly! They are not ‘token’ characters, and at the same time their diverse traits are completely accepted and normalised. This is how society should be, and it is so important that this book has treated it in this way. It was not forced into the story to fit any ‘trends’ in the book world, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The main plot of the story is all about Molly’s desire to get a boyfriend. She feels a bit left-behind as, although she has certainly been attracted to a number of boys, she has never taken the plunge to confess, nor has anyone confessed their attraction to her. It really gets her down and, although her desperation can seem a bit over-exaggerated at times, it is certainly a topic a lot of girls face when growing up. As with any good contemporary the story delves into a bit more than that. The Upside of Unrequited also deals with growing up, loneliness, fat-shaming, and more. It is great to see Molly tackle these issues and develop through the book. She is able to accept who she is, and I was rooting for her all the way <3.
To be honest, Molly is the main reason why I adored this book. I mean, sure, she does complain and wallow in self-pity a lot, but she is a teen. Teens and their hormones go through a lot of growing up, and a big chunk of this is learning to deal with/accept your new self and your relationships with other people. Of course, this means there are going to be a lot of exaggerations and complaints that come with this. Furthermore, a lot of her complaints are internal, and we only see those as we are reading her point-of-view. Ordinarily she would be suffering these thoughts by herself, and no one would know until she spoke up.
Now, I am sadly no longer a teen, but I was so surprised at how much I identified with her. Honesty time: I’m in my 20s, overweight and I have had zero love interests. Though I actually haven’t had any crushes since I was about 7, so Molly is doing better in that regard! Granted, I don’t have anxiety or anything like that, but I definitely worry about my appearance (or rather, society’s perceptions of it), and whether I’ll ever find a partner (#foreveralone). In fact, there are certain parts in the book that 100% illustrated some of my worries, and I was shocked at how much I related to them:
“Fat girls always have to be careful.”
“Because chubby girls don’t get boyfriends, and they definitely don’t have sex. Not in movies- not really- unless it’s supposed to be a joke. And I don’t’ want to be a joke.”
“That’s another thing about me. If someone says I’m sad, or asks me what’s wrong, or tells me not to cry, it’s like my body hears: NOW CRY.”
I don’t recall ever relating to a character in this way, and at times it shocked me so much at how similar my experiences have been that I shed a few tears for Molly. This was particularly prevalent when Grandma starts making comments about Molly’s weight (this has happened to me before), as well as the feelings of loneliness/third-wheeling.
I was so immersed in Molly’s storyline that this book has shot up to one of my favourites, without a doubt. Molly’s development was also really interesting too. At the beginning it felt like Molly was just reacting to everyone else’s storylines while avoiding her own. It was so nice to see her gain more confidence, step up and create her own story, even if her anxiety meant she was overthinking parts of it! I was rooting for her so much, and the ending made me so happy ❤
Now, now, I know that this book is not just about Molly. I mean, there are also changes in sibling relationships, a blossoming romance with Cassie and her girlfriend, acceptance and legalisation of gay marriage, amongst other things. I felt this all worked really well, although I felt the notion of gay marriage could have been given a bit more depth, as I didn’t feel it received as much significance it could have done.
I did have a couple of things I didn’t like as much, as always. I didn’t like the “tumblr-esque” conversation details Molly had in her brain, but this is mainly because it was suuuuper cringey (and a little unrealistic, maybe?)! I felt like Molly judged Reid too quickly as a Tolkien “superfan” as, although he wears themed T-shirts, there wasn’t a lot of conversation about his interests. This could have been given more depth, as it was far too generalised for me.
Lastly, I realllly didn’t like the inclusion of Molly’s Grandma and her history regarding weight. Although it added character understanding to a small degree, I really didn’t feel it was necessary. Instead I felt that it seemed to validate the Grandma’s opinions more? No one has the right to make those comments unless they have been given permission. I feel that the book would have been better to not include that relation at all. Buuut, I will admit that this is a personal preference, as when this has happened to me, I 100% do not care if my relative felt the way the Grandma does, it does not justify what has been said.
..Phew, rant over! Now, I will say that these issues are really, really minor, and did not make me love the story any less! My identification with Molly triumphs over anything! ❤ ❤
Have I gushed enough about this book yet guys? I rarely rate a book a full 5 stars as, although I have read some stunners, I never feel they are complete, or they affect me emotionally as much as I would like. However, my emotions are well and truly smitten with The Upside of Unrequited!! ❤ I couldn’t believe how much I identified with this book; I smiled, I cried, and I loved every second of it.
The Upside of Unrequited was OH SO GOOD, and I hope my review has done it justice. It is a great contemporary read, and the ending made my heart so warm and happy! ❤
Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! ♥