Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Series: Standalone
Published: April 11th, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
352 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Acquired this book: Via Edelweiss in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}


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.

Right?

 
 
From the synopsis of The Upside of Unrequited and things I’d heard early readers saying, I knew I’d love this book. I adored Albertalli’s debut, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, so that added to my confidence I’d enjoy this book. I honestly wasn’t prepared for just how much this book would affect me. How much I’d love it. I didn’t just like and connect with Molly, I AM Molly. I’m the fat girl. I’m the one with the unrequited crushes (and a lot of them...I’ve always been famous among my friends for my crushes, just like Molly). I’m the one who often feels like she’s being left behind. I feel like Becky Albertalli wrote this book just for me, and it’s a really long time since I felt that way. It’s also been ages since I didn’t want a book to end, but I didn’t want this book to end; I could have read about Molly and her family and friends forever. I loved this sweet, hilarious, heartfelt book from the first page to the last.

A million little things made me love The Upside of Unrequited. Molly’s crushes, her love of Pinterest, her sense of humour, her intelligence, her friendships, her family. This book had one of the best, most diverse and complex cast of side characters I’ve ever read. Each character had a purpose, and each one of them leapt of the page. Besides Molly being relatable, the situations she dealt with were realistic and relatable. They were things we all experience - change, growing apart from your friends or even your family, learning to deal, figuring out how and even if you fit. The romance was beyond adorable and made me giggle and swoon and happy sigh. There was a perfect amount of tension and enough conflict to make you wonder how or even if things would work out for Molly. I also loved the tie-ins with Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

One of the many things that stood out to me (as much as I’d like to touch on all of them, I can’t or this review would be endless) was the fact Molly’s weight never became an *issue*. She knew she was fat, she had moments of being self-conscious, and she worried her weight could be a reason for all the unrequited crushes, but not once did she think she should lose weight because it would make her happy or make boys like her or make life easier. I admired that so much. There are so few books with main characters who are fat, and most of them turn it into a ‘book that deals with weight issues’ but in this case, it was just one of many things about Molly, a part of the whole. As a girl who’s been fat her whole life, I appreciated that so much.
    
This book left me feeling warm and fuzzy, airy and light, happy and hopeful. It’s rare to read a book that packs such an emotional punch without being full of tragedy or major drama. Albertalli perfectly captured not just the teen experience, but the LIFE experience - confusion, lust, heartache, joy, hope, love, and every other emotion you can think of. This is one of those books that while it’s meant for teens and I feel like it’s a must-read for teens, it will be a story just about anyone can connect with. We’ve all been through at least some of what Molly goes through during the course of the story. I’m nearly twice Molly’s age, but I saw myself reflected in so many of her thoughts and actions. So much so, in fact, that this book had a huge emotional impact on me. I found myself crying through a lot of it - not because it was sad, but because Molly’s emotions rang so true and because I’ve been where she was and often felt very alone. Her journey was beautiful and poignant and left me with such a wonderfully hopeful, happy feeling.

I didn’t think Becky Albertalli could top Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, but I loved The Upside of Unrequited even more than Simon. Simply put, this book is perfection. If I could go back in time and give any book to Teen Me this would be it. Honestly, though, 33-Year-Old Me needed it just as much as Teen Me would have. I can’t often afford to buy physical copies of books after reading an eARC, but as soon as I was done reading The Upside of Unrequited, I got online and bought a copy. This is a book I need to own, need to see on my shelf every day, and need to reread. Whenever I’m feel hopeless or down, I’ll think of Molly and I know I’ll smile.



Read my review of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Buy Simon ~ Amazon || Chapters

Have you read The Upside of Unrequited? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Have you read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda? What's the last book you really connected with?
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1 comment:

  1. Hello fellow Canadian! I was lucky enough to read an ARC of UPSIDE as well! It was incredible. I loved both it and Simon VS :D Becky Albertalli is wonderful, I'm so happy you felt such a strong connection to Molly! I think it's been a long time since I read a book where I REALLY connected with it or a character in it. But I have a big TBR and maybe some of them will be that special 😁

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