With an average of 4.03 in Goodreads, I thought this book- The Upside of Unrequited would be spectacular. But clearly, that wasn’t the case. So, what went wrong?
The Upside of Unrequited is Molly Peskin-Suso’s story. She is super artistic with crafts and desserts, is fun and hoping to get kissed one day. Molly has had a number of unrequited crushes, 26 to be exact. And even at the age of seventeen, she hasn’t kissed a boy. She longs to have a boyfriend but can never woman up and let her crush know about her feelings. Blame it on her brain which doesn’t work when it comes to talking to her crush. She has massive insecurities about her ‘fat body’ and also cannot stomach the idea of rejection.
But that’s okay because she has Cassie her confident twin-sister. They are as close as they were in the womb until Cassie finds herself in a relationship with Mina. Cassie tries to set Molly up with her Mina’s best friend Will who is a fun, flirtatious hipster-boy and could be a perfect boyfriend for Molly. Molly feels left behind because now she has a sister who has a crush. But things get complicated when Molly starts a new summer job in a quirky boutique arranging knick-knacks. And she meets Reid, her co-worker who is adorable, nerdy and a Tolkien superfan. Molly thinks she can never fall for someone like Reid, especially because falling for him means she would drift further and further away from Cassie. The sisterly bond was always the most important thing in her life.
Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
The book started on a high note! It made me grin so hard that my cheeks hurt. I could totally picture myself falling in love with Molly. She was so relatable and I was blown over by the author’s writing style. What I loved about Molly’s character was not her strength; it was her softness, weakness, anxiety, her awkwardness, her Pinterest creativity, and her flaws. She loves herself (kinda!) but is also worried about how others perceive her. Her insecurities will speak to a lot of teenagers; referring to herself as fat, yearning for love, worrying whether she will ever be good enough for someone to be her boyfriend. Man! I was just like her in many ways!
Molly doesn’t have an eating disorder. She just loves food. She bakes and comes up with stupendous desserts which she likes to feed her loved ones. I’m glad that the author penned down a “large” heroine and three cheers for not portraying her as someone who goes after fad diets and exercise and then emerges as a thin heroine in the end.
No, Molly is just Molly. Her experiences are true. Her feelings are honest. And that’s the best part of the book.
The diversity and inclusivity in this book is off the charts. The book delights in the interracial and LGBTQ features- Molly has two moms, one of whom is African American. I loved that this book represents people from the LGBTQ community like people– if you know what I mean. These supporting characters were wonderful and they are fun yet protective of their daughters. They remind us that parenting is all about love and acceptance.
The Upside of Unrequited is a story of love – both requited and unrequited. It is also about family relationships and the realization that even when your lives diverge as you grow up, you can still be close. That is the real heart of the book.
I wanted more! That’s it. More depth of character, especially. 300 pages into the book and I still was not getting what the author was trying to tell us through Molly’s story. As I said earlier, the book began on a high and then it fell flat. Of course, there were some good moments in between but overall, I do not think there is a solid plot to the book.
Maybe, it is because I am reading it a decade after my teen years. And maybe, I would’ve enjoyed the book if I read it when I was seventeen.
Favorite Lines from The Upside of Unrequited:
This is how the book begins 🙂
“I’M ON THE TOILET AT the 9:30 Club, and I’m wondering how mermaids pee. This isn’t random. There’s a mermaid Barbie attached to the door of the bathroom here. Which is a pretty odd choice for a bathroom mascot. If that’s even a thing. Bathroom mascots. (Maybe, I have wondered about it as well?!!)
“Because I have to admit: there’s something really badass about truly, honestly not caring what people think about you.”
“Here’s a frustrating thing about me: if everyone else is happy, I usually can’t stay pissed off. My moods are conformists. It sucks, because sometimes you really want to be angry.”
“You would matter. That’s the thing. I get into this weird place sometimes where I worry about that. I’ve never told anyone this – not my moms, not Cassie – but that’s the thing I’m most afraid of. Not mattering. Existing in a world that doesn’t care who I am.”
“So, maybe I should let my heart break, just to prove that my heart can take it.”
“Netflix means not having to suck in your stomach or think of anything smart or adorable to say. It means a whole night of not wondering what people think about you. No alcohol, and no flirtation, and no confusion, and every organ calm and settled.”
“Because that’s the thing about change. It’s so painfully normal. It’s the most basic of all tragedies.”
“I hate hating my body. Actually, I don’t even hate my body. I just worry everyone else might.”
“It’s funny, because you always think the hard part is meeting someone the first time. It’s not. It’s the second time, because you’ve already used up all the obvious topics of conversation. And even if you haven’t, it’s strange and heavy-handed to introduce random conversational topics at this stage in the game.
“Here’s the thing: I’m used to being told I have a pretty face. Or pretty hair, or pretty eyes. But it’s different, being called beautiful. Just beautiful, without conditions.”
Do I Recommend?
Yes! One-time read!
3.5 on 5
Grab the book from Amazon if you’re up for it.
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