Review: The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

the upside of unrequitedSeventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. 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. 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 a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?

Rating: 3/5

Disclaimer: I am not the target audience for this book, being in mid-twenties. So I think that’s largely the reason why, although it’s a sweet book with fantastic representation, I just didn’t connect with it.

Albertalli writes with the customary charm that we came to know and love in Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda. (Although we do encounter the wonderfully horrifying phrase ‘vag-blocked’.) It took me a while to get into the book, but I do think it got stronger towards the end.

We are introduced to Molly, our principle character. She’s plus size, a pinterest queen, an anxiety-sufferer, and someone who has perpetual crushes but somehow never becomes the girlfriend. You may end up shaking your head at her constant stress re: her love life or lack thereof, but it’s a realistic thing so many teens experience. Furthermore, Molly comes across as such a genuine character – she’s flawed but you cannot help rooting for her. Her self-deprecating humour also had me grinning like a loon.

Molly has a twin, Cassie, who is lesbian, and two moms of different races. There’s also a cute lil baby brother and a racist awkward grandmother, because there’s always one of those relatives. One of the love interests is Jewish. We really get the full spectrum of different human experiences here.

I particularly appreciated the depiction of medication for mental health issues in this book, which is taken as completely normal and not something which is made into a big deal. So is Molly’s size – she mentions the awkwardness that sometimes surrounds her being a bigger clothing size than her friends, but weight is not the focus of the story – it’s just one aspect of Molly.

And the romance, while it is present, isn’t the main focus of the story. The narrative also deals with Molly’s jealousy and fear as her and Cassie seem to be drifting apart, as well as the general perils of family life, friends and growing up.

I can see why the book is getting a lot of love, and it is deserved – it just didn’t work for me.

Free copy received from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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6 thoughts on “Review: The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

  1. I really loved her book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda so I’m thrilled to hear this one is just as good! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤

    Like

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