Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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.



Song For This Book: Cry Me A River – Justin Timberlake
Why? This is is relevant to a scene in this book. As all good ’00s pop should be.


I received a copy of this book through HarperCollins Canada Frenzy’s Spring Reading Giveaway.

Contemporary isn’t usually my genre, but when spring rolls around and the weather starts getting nice, I always start craving contemporary books. There’s just something nice about reading a light, fun romance-y, summer-y book when the sun is shining and you don’t need your big, heavy winter sweaters.

And The Upside of Unrequited fits this bill perfectly. It’s a fun, lighthearted read about falling in love, family, friendship, and making the most of your summers. It tugs your heartstrings just enough, but leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside every time you set it down.

The Good Points of The Upside of Unrequited:

I loved the emphasis on family in this book. Molly has fantastic relationships with her parents and her sister, and we even get some looks into how cousins and aunts and uncles can fit into the family sense. So many young adult contemporary books don’t bother to develop these relationships, so this is a wonderful change.

As well, the diversity in this book in great. We get a little bit of every type of person in this one, but unless it’s relevant to the plot (such as Molly’s two mums), the author doesn’t make a huge deal about it. It’s just there, which is how diversity exists in our society anyway.

I loved the characters in this book. Even the ones that only show up for short periods are well developed and unique. Molly is a fun character with lots of quirks and personality,  and all of her family and friends are the same.

This is one of the more accurate representations of teenagers I’ve come across over my years of reading young adult books. They make dumb choices, do things that don’t make sense, talk about sex and drinking, worry about things that don’t matter, and want to be accepted. The sound like teenagers, which makes it easy to remember that they’re not just little adults.

The Downsides of The Upside of Unrequited:

I feel like this book will ultimately be fairly forgettable. Some details may stick, but I doubt I’ll remember most of the plot in a year’s time, because nothing that big or different or special happened. Despite it’s diversity, it’s a pretty standard contemporary novel.

I would have loved to see some of this book from the perspective of Cassie. I think it would have added so much to the story. Molly’s point of view was great, but it limited what could be done with the book.

I’m not entirely sure about this title. What was the upside? Maybe I just didn’t catch that bit, but with how the book turned out, the meaning behind that is probably redundant anyway. I won’t say too much, because I don’t want to give it away (let’s be honest, though. You can probably predict what will happen), but I would have liked to see more on the topic of ‘unrequited’.

All in all, this is a fun, feel-good summer read that lives up to quite a bit of its hype. It’s got some good diversity, realistic characters, and a quick, enjoyable plot line. If you’re a young adult contemporary fan, you are going to love The Upside of Unrequited.

Find it on Book Depository

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