“I don’t entirely understand how anyone gets a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. It just seems like the most impossible odds. You have to have a crush on the exact right person at the exact right moment. And they have to like you back. A perfect alignment of feelings and circumstances. It’s almost unfathomable that it happens as often as it does.”
― Becky Albertalli, The Upside of Unrequited
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. Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. And then there is 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?
Young Adult / Contemporary / 336 pages
This is such a cute love story that had me smiling from beginning to end. Note that I did listen to the audiobook (which is amazingly narrated), which means that I was walking on the street with my earphones in, smiling from ear to ear like a crazy person. It’s all good 🙂
I absolutely love the diversity in this book. Molly isn’t your typical skinny heroine who is beautiful without knowing it. She is… well, kind of fat. There aren’t that many books out there that feature fat characters, and there should be, because people come in all shapes and sizes, and everyone is worthy of a love story. Molly’s twin sister Cassie is gay, and her Korean-American girlfriend is pansexual. And Molly and Cassie have two Moms, which means that they are sperm donor babies. How awesome is that?
Molly is such a relatable character, and I love listening to her internal dialogue. She is a shy and quiet person who thinks twice (and sometimes three or four times) before speaking. While being quiet on the outside, she is a storm of emotions on the inside, which she holds back from expressing to others. She is convinced that she will never be loved because of her appearance, and because of this, she never really put herself out there. Despite her twenty-some crushes, she never told anyone how she felt. Molly’s internal dialogue is written so convincingly that she sounds like a real person, rather than a character from a book. (Did I mention that Molly thinks and talks SO much like me?)
I love the supporting characters, who each have distinct personalities. Cassie is the opposite from Molly. She is conventionally beautiful, loud, outgoing and has plenty of “flings”. Will is that noncommittal and flirtatious guy, and Reid is dorky and adorable. However, there is more to each character than what meets the eye. They have lives of their own.
I also love the relationship between Molly and Cassie, and their parents: Patty and Nadine parents are open-minded and genuinely cool people. They are the sort of parents who would sit you down and discuss birth control options. Still, being teenagers, Cassie and Molly can’t help but keep secrets from their parents. Patty and Nadine also have their own struggles as well. Being gay, they face stigma from the world around them, and sometimes even from their own family members. I love that, as the parent figures in this book, Patty and Nadine are portrayed as being empathetic and having problems of their own.
The writing is humorous and witty. I also love how the dialogue flows and how the chemistry between Molly and her love interest (I won’t mention which) never feels forced. It’s such an adorable story and a fast read.
The audiobook is narrated superbly.
The Upside of Unrequited is a light-hearted love story with the most adorable and relatable main character. If you love reading about characters of all sizes, sexual orientations, and skin tones, then give this one a try!
(The lovely quote images are courtesy of Amazon.com)
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