Change is fucking hard. It’s fucking tragic. – 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. 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?
Apparently there’s something about the month of June that just makes me love every book I pick up.
The Upside of Unrequited is not immune to the power of June.
Let’s start with a truth universally acknowledged — being a teenager is fucking awful. Being an awkward teenager with anxiety is even worse. Being a teenager with all of those things and body image issues to boot is a hell like no other.
Becky Albertalli tells Molly’s story in such a beautifully relatable way that as I was reading The Upside of Unrequited I actually continued to take pictures of entire pages of text because I related so hard to it.
I mean, I’ve never felt more in common with a fictional character than when Cassie, Molly’s twin sister, threatened to “hook him up with her fist,” and then called said character a “motherfucking douchebag”.
And naturally, since I have so much in common with Cassie, I decided to use a quote from her at the start of this post because I think Albertalli got it right when writing it.
The Upside of Unrequited is a coming of age story in some ways, but if I want someone to really understand what the actual story is about the simplest way to put it is that stuff is changing in Molly’s life and, guess what, it feels tragic.
What I think makes this book even more real is that Albertalli isn’t afraid of being inclusive. She incorporates a real world with real people. All of her characters aren’t straight or white and it’s just so refreshing.
I’ve yet to read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda but after reading The Upside of Unrequited, I know I’ll be picking up her other book. This is another easy 5/5 stars for me.
Have you read The Upside of Unrequited? What did you think? If not, do you think you will?