Pride Review: The Upside of Unrequited

1:42 PM Serena 2 Comments

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Expected Publication Date: April 11th, 2017
Format/Source: ARC, borrowed from my dear friend Emily
Rating: 5/5 stars
Part of a series? Nope!

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?

*Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers. Also, because I'm awful and behind at everything, this should've been posted in January when I first read the book. A thousand apologies.*

Oh. My. GOODNESS. You GUYS. It's been a while since I've read a book that I've loved as dearly as I loved this. Becky's debut, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is so perfect and fluffy and hit me so close to the heart that I wasn't sure Upside would measure up, but it honestly surpassed all of my expectations. This book is glorious. 

One of the reasons I loved this book so much was because I was able to relate to Molly so hardcore. She's had a plethora of unrequited crushes in her lifetime that she's never acted upon, and she is always subconsciously comparing herself to her thinner, prettier twin sister, and oh MAN do I feel that. While I don't have a sister, it is so easy for me to play the comparison game between me and my friends, and it's also so dang easy to believe that you're not worthy of love when your only experience with it has been watching it happen to others, so Molly felt like a soul sister. Her struggles were written so realistically that I felt her pain, but it also made her triumphs very believable and like they were my own. 

As Molly begins to fall for Reid and realizes that she can like him and date him without caring about what others think of her as a fat girl dating a dorky boy, her confidence was like a balm to my heart. She and Reid are so adorable together and of course Reid (to quote Rent, he is the most lovable geek) is great on his own, but as much as I loved watching these two get together and figure out their relationship, Molly figuring out that she's worthy of love was what made the novel a winner for me. 

Another reason I fell for Upside so hard is because of its excellent and diverse spectrum of representation. Becky doesn't write about these characters as if she's trying to get points for diversity - they're integrated in a way that mimics our reality of today where families are no longer fitting into a mold. It's obvious that she put care into making sure she did justice to the people she represented. Molly and her lesbian twin, Cassie, have two moms, one of which is black and the other is Jewish, so the novel covers some of the struggles of being in both an interracial and same-sex marriage, including not supportive family members. Speaking of marriage, the book takes place two summers ago and it describes the faithful day when the United States legalized all marriage, and it such a joyous day in the Peskin-Suso household that I could not stop smiling. There's also a scene where Molly is feeling down, and her mom Nadine drives her to see the White House lit up like a rainbow in celebration, and it's probably one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever read. I sobbed like a baby - I'm getting teary just writing about it right now. 

So even though this review is a mess, I hope my love for this incredible gift of a novel shines through. It's told with a genuine voice, features lesbian and pansexual women of color, and is heavy on the fluff and self-love. I cannot recommend The Upside of Unrequited enough. 

Have you read Upside? What have been some of your favorite books you've read this month to show your pride? 

2 comments:

  1. Great review, Serena! I loved this one so, so much. (Well, not *quite* as much as Simon, but still.) I loved the way Becky was able to mix utter adorableness (is that a word?) with more serious themes. Reid was simply precious but I agree with you that it was Molly's growth that was the real highlight. I loved that she was so completely relatable.
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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    1. Thanks, Tanya! I'm always so happy to see that people love Upside like I do because I want to push it on EVERYONE. Molly is definitely one of my favorite heroines!

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