Book: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Abertalli
Publisher: Balzar and Bray / HarperTeen
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My rating: 5 stars!!!
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?
Oh my goodness! I loved this book. And by loved, I mean LOVED.
Molly is completely adorable. So is Reid. The whole story feels so normal and natural and real.
I identified with Molly so much. I was the last of my high school friends to date. The last of my high school friends to get married. I remember well the utter loneliness of being the third wheel, the extra.
When I finally joined the the dating folk and had my first boyfriend, I was a lot older than Molly, but the feelings of overwhelming joy at talking to that person, texting them, being with them, were so familiar. And the confusion over feelings, over who is attractive to you and who is just good-looking or generally attractive, over what you want or what to say or how to respond — oh, it was all so familiar.
Molly may be in high school, but so many of her feelings and experiences are things we can all identify with.
Molly is sweet and cute. But she struggles. Change is hard. Especially in high school. Especially when everyone else seems to be getting so many wonderful things and you start feeling left behind. Becky Abertalli gets this so well and writes it so well. Molly struggles, but she stays true to her character, learns and grows. It was lovely to see.
Becky Abertalli also gets teen relationships. I loved reading Molly and Cassie’s relationship. I have a twin, but he’s a boy. I’ve always been fascinated by twin sister relationships. Molly and Cassie are close, best friends. But they are also very different girls and they appreciate their differences.
And Molly and Cassie’s moms are so great. Unlike in a lot of YA books, they aren’t clueless or distant or completely flat. They are with it and interesting and full characters in their own right. And they get their daughters and are involved enough in their lives that they can see what’s happening. They are also really funny and sweet too.
The Upside of Unrequited is a sweet read all about how change happens and is hard, but that it also brings out great new things like family time, laughter, and first love.
I also really appreciated how normal having two moms and a lesbian sister was. The author nor any of the characters made a big deal about it. Molly and her family are just a regular family. I loved this representation, feel like I learned a lot from it, and I appreciated being able to join them in the joy of finally being able to get married. I loved how even though they were gay, Molly’s moms and sisters were really excited about Molly getting a boyfriend and experiencing the joy of a relationship.
Another thing that really impressed me was Becky Abertalli’s way of incorporating texting into her story. This is so intimidating to me. How do you include this everyday aspect of our lives in your fiction but make it feel natural and work and not feel forced or fake.
I don’t know how she did it, but Becky Abertalli did it. Molly and Reid text a lot, so do a lot of the other characters. And it completely works. Each character maintained their own voice in the text messages and enough was left to context for the reader to figure out, that the texting scenes really worked — even in audio.
This book made me smile in memory. It made grin wide with joy. It made me laugh out loud with glee. It made me cringe with compassion and even cry. It also made me crave cookie dough…
If you’re looking for a really fun read, that is sentimental, romantic, adorable, and really funny all at once, definitely pick up The Upside of Unrequited. I may just have to add it to my vacation reading list and reread it.