Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli


Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 336 Pages
Published April 2017

Summary: 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 decided to pick up this book because I was a big fan of Becky Albertalli's previous book Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. So I already knew I was a fan of her writing, and I couldn't wait to see what she came up with next. And I'm glad I read this one, because this book was super funny and adorable and kept me laughing, tearing up, and sighing romantically in all the right places.

As the summary explains, Molly has had many crushes throughout her life, but none of them ever stemmed into anything beyond just that -- an unrequited crush. And it was hard to see her twin sister Cassie always have hookups and relationships and then even a girlfriend, while Molly sat by and had to watch it all happen. But then...things start to change for Molly, in ways that she could hardly believe. And then she learns that maybe finding love isn't as hard and as hopeless as she always made it out to be, but something simply amazing and heartwarming.

I really liked reading this book. From the very beginning, I was hooked on Molly's narrative voice, which sounded so much like Simon's from Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda that I felt a weird, refreshing sense of deja vu. She was equal parts funny and witty and sarcastic, and several of the comments that she made throughout the book actually had me laughing out loud. When it comes to witty, down-to-earth characters, Becky Albertalli definitely has the market cornered. 

My favorite character in this book was definitely Molly. Although she may have struggled with her self-image at times, and she felt like she certainly didn't have any luck with boys, she was pretty positive and confident about herself and her appearance and she knew what she wanted in life. And all of her sarcastic, witty comments kept things interesting. There's something about a self-deprecating sense of humor that just seems to make teenagers in this day and age laugh -- and I'm one of them.

Another thing that I really liked about this book was the LGBTQ+ representation with several scenarios, especially with Molly's parents, Nadine and Patty, and Cassie and her girlfriend, Mina. I know that Becky Albertalli has said several times that her book wasn't necessarily supposed to be classified as LGBTQ+ (mainly because Molly, the main character in the story, doesn't identify that way), but it was still important to see those characters represented in the story. There was even a mention about the same-sex marriage laws that went into effect a few years ago, and it made me smile because I so vividly remember getting a notification on my phone about the Supreme Court's decision as well. I was actually on a college tour at the time (the school I ended up going to, in case anybody was curious), and everyone around me started talking and laughing and cheering, and it was just such a feel-good moment that it was nice to think back on.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Upside of Unrequited. It was funny and adorable, and all of the characters had their own unique quirks that kept the story interesting. This book reminded me so much of Simon in the sense that it was lighthearted and funny, while it also managed to still tackle some serious issues. This was a super-quick read for me because I could barely put it down, and I'm really glad that I decided to pick it up in the first place. Becky Albertalli did it again with another hilarious, adorable read, and I can't wait to see what story she comes up with next!

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