The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Published by: Balzer + Bray on April 11th, 2017
SPOILER-FREE REVIEW AHEAD
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?
Alright, I’m confused.
The only things I liked about this book were the diversity and Reid. Unfortunately, that was not enough to keep it going. Molly was annoying and selfish, and it bothered me how she constantly saw her self worth only through her weight or whether or not a guy liked her. Also, she made everything about herself. Like when gay marriage got legalized, she said:
“There really is a dreaminess about today. Even our customers seem unusually coupled up. They’re all holding hands. It’s like a Valencia-filtered Noah’s ark. And it’s nice. Except…sometimes I feel like I’m the last alone person.”
NO ONE CARES because today just isn’t about you! But that wasn’t even the worst part. No, the worst part was when this book exposed its true “feminist” colors.
“Here’s what I would never, ever admit out loud: a part of me always thought it was some kind of a secret compliment when someone got called a slut. It meant you were having sex. It meant people wanted to have sex with you. Being a slut just meant you were normal. But I think maybe I’m wrong about that. Maybe I’m so wrong.”
I CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO EXPLAIN HOW MUCH THAT BOTHERED ME.
I also didn’t like the writing style in this book. While it was quirky and funny in Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, it was just annoying and childish in this book. But maybe that’s because I loved Simon and hated Molly, so.
Another one of the reasons why I really didn’t enjoy this is because all the characters felt the same. Not necessarily to each other, but for example, Molly felt like every other “shy virgin heavier girl” I’ve ever read about. Cassie was the cool one. I don’t even remember the other characters’ names. Let’s compare this to Fangirl for a second. Yes, Cath was the shy twin, and Wren was the cool one, but they were developed so much further than that!!! We learned so much more about both of them, even though it was in Cath’s pov the entire time. I never found that to be the case with this book, unfortunately.
Another reason why I was so excited for this book was because I was expecting another interesting twin relationship like we got in Fangirl, one of my favorite books of all time. INSTEAD, we got fucking Cassie, who is horrible to Molly. Molly always complains about it, but nothing ever actually gets resolved!!!!! Like…..okay.
Writing this review and thinking about this book too much has made me realize I’m dropping my rating to a 2 stars, while it was originally 3. This is sad because a) so many people are in love with it and I thought I was going to feel the same, and b) I loved Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda!!! Sooo much!!! So I am not giving up on Becky Albertalli. I still think she is a great author because of that book. This one just didn’t do it for me. I hated the characters, there was no plot, and, also that “love triangle”???? Yeah, no thanks. I should have just turned away after finding out that there was one.