Genre: YA/LGBTQ Contemporary
Pages: 336 (US Hardcover)
Publication Date: 11 April 2017
“There’s just something terrifying about admitting you like someone. In a way, it’s actually easier when there’s no chance of anything happening. But there’s this threshold where things suddenly become possible. And then your cards are on the table. And there you are, wanting, right out in the open.”
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?
Well, I’d just like to preface this by saying The Upside of Unrequited was just so stinking cute! Molly Peskin-Suso is one of the most relatable characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting in a story. Molly’s thoughts and fears were like mirrors of my own; her awkwardness around new people (especially around boys) is so much like me it is INSANE. I mean, Molly is basically me! Her fears about being a late-bloomer, while a tad bit ridiculous seeing as she’s only 17, were also quite understandable as she watches all her friends, and even her sister, find new and exciting relationships while she struggles to get a handle on crush, (who also happens to be her 27th one). I really enjoyed reading Molly’s story and watching her grow more comfortable with her changing circumstances and with herself.
This book is pretty much the perfect coming-of-age story. My only complaint (and the only reason I’m not giving this 5 stars) is because of Cassie, Molly’s twin sister. She filled me with rage more times than I could count. Some of the things she said to Molly were just NOT okay. And I understand that a sibling relationship is not all sunshine and unicorns, but Cassie was downright cruel at times and then would have the nerve to turn things around on Molly to make herself feel like the victim. I just wasn’t happy with that. I enjoyed the diversity Cassie brought to this novel but I did not find her character likeable.
Aside from my dislike of Cassie, I really really liked Upside! The dynamic between Molly and her moms, who, by the way, were AWESOME, was a joy to read about. I especially loved one of the characters affectionately nicknamed Middle Earth Reid and his adorably nerdy personality. There were so many cute moments in this book that I will definitely look back and smile upon thinking about them! The book’s portrayal of gay/lesbian relationships, in my opinion, was done very well and worth appreciating and felt very natural and unforced.
I have to say, I went into reading this with quite high expectations because I LOVED reading Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (you can check out my gushing review here) back in January, but I know it’s unfair to compare to different books by the same author. While I didn’t have Simon vs.-level love for this book, I still enjoyed this immensely! It’s a quick, fun read that is full of heart and humour. I’d definitely recommend this to any contemporary YA fans looking for a sweet and diverse novel to read!
Have you read this book or Becky Albertalli’s other book, Simon vs.? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear all about them!
Until next time,