Yay! Becky Albertalli is back with another wonderful novel, The Upside of Unrequited, that was in no way written for me, but which I loved immensely anyway. You may have read her first novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, but if you have not please do that first. There isn’t a ton of overlap of characters, and it is not a sequel, but I am bossy and opinionated and I think you just should, okay? I read both of these books in one day each, and they really scratch my itch for great YA novels, which have been difficult to find lately – unless I am missing something, in which case please DM me.
In Unrequited, we meet Molly Peskin-Suso who is 17 years old, has a near-perfect twin sister, an adorable baby brother, great lesbian mothers, a Pinterest obsession and a small weight problem. She also has had twenty-six crushes in her short life, but no boyfriends yet because she doesn’t exactly understand how anyone gets a boyfriend (preach) and so she stays mostly on the sidelines avoiding rejection. On the other hand, her twin sister Cassie has plenty of confidence in her ability to attract people, but has never had a very meaningful relationship.
One night Cassie meets a new girl, Mina, who flips her world upside down and she loses some of her confident certainty. Cassie and Molly start to keep secrets from each other for the first time ever, and Molly feels more pressure than ever to actually turn a crush into a real thing. Cassie and Mina are eager to throw Molly together with Mina’s best friend, a hipster boy named Will. Molly is more than willing to try, but starts to realize that she is more intrigued by her coworker who is nothing like she would expect.
The Upside of Unrequited is a sweet and funny book. Albertalli really nails the insecurity and all around terribleness of adolescence and Molly is a wholly relatable character. Turns out, those feelings of idiocy and worrying about how you measure up to others never really go away even when you are an adult, and this book is like a warm blanket. In addition, the progressive nonchalance of having gay parents and a bi-sexual sibling is refreshing and the fact that these facts have almost nothing to do with the central story just made me very happy.
The Upside of Unrequited – Grade B+