Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Publication date: April 11, 2017
Source/format: e-ARC from publisher
Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Synopsis (from goodreads.com):
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.
M Y T H O U G H T S
With twenty-six crushes and zero kisses in her life, Molly Peskin-Suso wonders if she needs to step outside of her comfort zone. Her twin sister, Cassie, is the the totally opposite. Cassie is an extrovert and she can get a girl's number super easily. The problem for Molly is finding the right person at the exact right moment which is hard to come by.
Becky Albertalli opens up The Upside of Requited with humor. Molly is introduced and she is very likable from the start to the point where you can relate to Molly wholeheartedly. She is the type of person you want to befriend. Molly ends up befriending Middle Earth Reid at her new job. Who would have known that love can blossom from a friendship? With Reid, Molly can be herself and she doesn't have to pretend to be someone she is not. The anticipation, the disappointment, the jealousy and even the butterflies in the stomach are all rolled into one depicting accurate emotions attached to crushing on someone and falling in love.
Albertalli succeeds at writing genuine characters. She represents teenagers of all sizes, sexuality, faiths, ethnicity and even teens with mental health issues. People can relate to this novel because Albertalli is honest and sincere. She doesn't sugarcoat anything. I love how the novel focuses on Molly as a whole. Although Albertalli's novel is bursting with diversity, she doesn't shine the spotlight on diversity directly which is a good thing. The Upside of Requited flows seamlessly.
The family dynamics in Molly's household is fantastic. Molly has two moms. One of Molly's moms conceived Cassie and Molly via a sperm donor. Her other mom conceived another child with the same sperm donor. I love how Molly's family can still be connected via DNA despite having two moms. Her mothers are very open-minded and care about their children very much. They want to be involved in their children's life and they are super supportive of their children's decisions. Also, Molly and Cassie have a wonderful sisterly relationship which I enjoyed reading about. Molly's shows growth in character development throughout the novel. She breaks out of her shell and overcomes many of her fears.
Like Albertalli's debut novel, Simon Vs. and the Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Upside of Requited will have readers craving for something chocolatey and cookie like. Instead of Oreos, readers find themselves yearning for Cadbury Mini Eggs or Cookie Dough.
The Upside of Unrequited is a coming-of-age novel about first loves, sisterly relationships, family dynamics and trying new things. If you loved reading Simon Vs. and the Homo Sapiens Agenda or if you are on the lookout for a cute contemporary read, definitely pick up The Upside of Unrequited. All teens need to read this book!