Review: The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

The Upside of Unrequited
Book cover: Blue background. “the upside” on a black arrow pointing upwards, “of unrequited” on a white arrow pointing downwards with a heart emoji at the top of the arrow.

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’d bought this book because I thought that it sounded like a cute romance, however it still took me quite some time to actually start reading it. I was browsing the bookshelves at a bookstore, saw this book (in English!) and looked into it. After skimming the first few pages, I knew that I had to finish this book at home with the version on my Kindle. I decided to read The Upside of Unrequited for Diversity Bingo 2017, as I was looking for a book that had a Jewish main character.

It’s #ownvoices for Jewish rep.

Let’s talk about how adorable the romance is first. It’s really so cute, and I was squealing all the time. It’s light-hearted and fun. I thought the love interest was such a sweet boy and the dynamic between Molly and him is wonderful.

The writing really makes the dating process and relationship between Molly and the love interest come to live. Actually, the writing makes all of the relationships really come alive. You are able to picture Molly and her sister’s interactions with each other, as well as Molly’s interactions with other characters. What I found very positive, was that the dynamics between non-main characters were described just as vividly.

I’m always a huge fan of minor characters having their own storylines, and Becky Albertalli does exactly this in The Upside of Unrequited. Since the minor characters have fully developed storylines and characters, I truly think almost everyone will be able to find someone to root for in the story.

Another positive aspect is the diverse cast. There is Jewish, fat, bisexual, lesbian, and POC representation. I’m sure I forgot some. Staying true, with making the scenes in this book realistic, there was quite a bit of oppression and discrimination, however all of these instances are called out. Asexuality was mentioned in this text, and I haven’t seen that in a mainstream book before.

There is slut shaming, biantagonism, homoantagonism, fat antagonism and racism in the book but it is all called out or questioned.

All in all, I’d like to conclude by saying this was one of the most enjoyable and funniest YA contemporary reading experiences I’ve had. It’s a wonderful book.

Trigger warnings: slut shaming, biantagonism, homoantagonism, fat antagonism, racism.

5 stars

Have you read The Upside of Unrequited? How did you like Becky Albertalli’s writing?

2 thoughts on “Review: The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

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