Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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Genre: Young-Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336
Series: None
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Penguin

Star

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This is the second novel by Becky Albertalli. I adored her first book, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, so there were a lot of expectations. That’s probably why it took me almost three months to get to it. And despite my hesitations, it did not disappoint.

This is a very different story from Simon’s. The protagonist is very different and therefore, so is the narrative. But it still has the cuteness and lighness that I loved so much with Simon. The book follows Molly, a self-proclaimed fat girl, who very much wants to find love, a feeling that’s only hightened by her sister, Cassie, being a lovesick mess over her new girlfriend. But Molly is shy and cautious. She’s had twenty-six crushes and acted on none of them.

Cassie decides that its time for Molly to take a chance and tries to set him up with one of her girlfiend’s friends, Will. Will is sweet and charming and the one that will keep her close to her sister. But there’s Reid, Molly’s geeky co-worker who may just be crush number twenty-seven.

Now, if you’ve been following my reviews, you know how much I despise love-triangles. And initially, it felt like there would be one here. But there wasn’t; at least it didn’t feel like there was, to me. It was clear who the right choice would be and the only reason it was ever a choice at all was because Molly was afraid that her relationship with her sister would suffer if she dated someone Cassie didn’t know.

Cassie and Molly’s relationship was a big part of the book. Cassie is the outgoing and confident twin who sometimes says stuff without thinking how hurtful it can be, while Molly is painfully reserved and self-conscious, not to mention, very sensitive. They both love each other but they’re also starting to date or like other people and that new experience of being in a different kind of relationship, outside of each other, complicates things. They both screw up a little bit and need to find a way to navigate the change.

Change is also an important theme in the book. As is family. And Love. And family.

Then we have Molly. I love Molly, I really do, but she can also be extemely frustrating at times. Her narrative consists of a lot of self-conscious monologues and even more of feeling sorry for herself. But it’s also relatable, even if it does make me want to grab her by the shoulders and shake her until she snaps out of her pessimistic funk. Seriously, she’s the person who would look at a full glass and still manage to ruin the moment by thinking about the milk being half a milimeter from the top. It can get to be a bit much.

But thankfully, it’s balanced by all the funny and all the cute. Reid, for example, is adorable and perfect. I love him and I love Molly with him. His and Molly’s relationship was everything that I could have wanted. Every time Reid showed up, I had the biggest smile on my face. I mean, I was smiling for most of the book anyway, but Reid made me smile extra wide.

Overall, I love this novel and can’t believe I waited this long to read it. I also can’t believe I’m going to have to wait till next year for Becky Albertalli to release another book. One book a year is so not enough. But I have no other choice. As for those of you who haven’t read this one, highly recommend it. But read Simon first.

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