The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Published April 11th 2017 by Puffin
RRP AUD $19.99
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?
I’d heard of Becky Albertalli around the bookish community, and although I haven’t read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens before, I’ve heard so many positive things about it. I had relatively high expectations because of this, but it kinda fell short. Buuut, the book itself contained a lot of diversity (races, LGBTQ+, body diversity etc.), so props for that!
The introduction was interesting, the first couple of lines got me hooked and I loved the first few chapters, but the magic was diminished when I realised the main character’s main objective was to get a boyfriend. I like my heroines strong. However, I just didn’t feel it so much in this book Sometimes Molly got too whiny for my liking, and I wasn’t a fan of her boyfriend quest, it just didn’t sit right with me.
I did like the main relationship for the most part though, it was pretty cute when it worked. BUT I also hate love triangles, and I hate it when a character deliberately tries to make their love interest jealous by using another person. The other romantic relationships represented in the story were somewhat better, but the sibling relationship between Cassie and Molly was honestly atrocious, Cassie was a terrible sister and she got written off, just because she was in love. Rightio.
There were a lot of social issues that I think the author tried to deal with, but it just came across odd. It’s great how the protagonist is a larger girl, but I wish her weight became less of a plot device in the story. Like, I understand the point the author was trying to get across, but it didn’t play out very well, and it felt not-empowering?? AAAND I am strongly against female characters whose body issues or anything like that are suddenly fixed because a boy likes them. Like WHY???
So, in general, not a big fan to be honest. I probably wouldn’t recommend this just because there are so many other similar YA contemporaries out there that have better representations and messages.
I received a review copy from the publisher
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Becky Albertalli is a clinical psychologist who has had the privilege of conducting therapy with dozens of smart, weird, irresistible teenagers. She also served for seven years as co-leader of a support group for gender nonconforming children in Washington, DC. She now lives with her family in Atlanta. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is her first novel.