The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: April 11th, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Siblings, Contemporary Romance, LGBT, First Love
Seventeen-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.
Sex and relationships are important subjects. Teen boys and girls are especially curious about them. How does it work? How does one get a boyfriend or girlfriend? When is the right time for those two things?
Molly Peskin wants to fall in love with someone and for that person to fall in love with her back very badly, but she’s scared. Her sister doesn’t seem to be daunted by anything; she even got herself a really cute girlfriend in a short amount of time.
Becky Albertalli did a fairly good job illustrating themes such as first love, twin connection, equality, sexuality and coming of age, which is what this book is—a Bildungsroman.
I believe, however, that this novel needed two point of views. One from Molly, which we do have, and one from her twin sister, Cassie, because, although it’s part of the story, Cassie keeps many things from her sister. Seeing unrevealed, private interactions between her and Mina would have added even more dept to this story.
It honestly was enjoyable, because of all the subjects it tackles and its constant fast-pacing. Unfortunately, I did not like the writing at all. I do, however, believe Becky Albertalli writes about/analyses interesting topics using interesting references and detail, but her writing itself did not impress me in any way. It’s not elegant, pretty or special. It’s simple, unsurprising and unoriginal.
Regardless, this is a book I find salient people read, exactly because of all the themes mentioned previously. It’s true that it’s a romance contemporary book, and maybe not ALL that different from the other ones out there, but what’s on the side—LGBT, sexuality, family, confidence—makes it stand out a little more.
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Everyone raves about Simon, so when this book came up on Edelweiss, I had to pick it up. Sounds like I made a good choice, even if this one wasn’t as impressive as Simon.
I loved Simon Vs, so I’m looking forward to reading this one, even if it isn’t as good as Simon. I think the author has an interesting take on topics that are important to teens.
This is a book I’d check out based on the cover alone. Great review. I am following your blog now.