The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. is a sweet, happy, and relatable feels-good book.
I loved Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda so much that I wanted to stay in her wonderful universe and read all her other books at once. I really, really liked The Upside too, but not quite as much as Simon vs. Still, The Upside is an amazing character-driven cute and relatable story about sisterhood, family, body image, and first love. And Simon himself does a couple of appearances in this book too! As does Abby and Nick. The crossovers from Simon vs. were so wonderful, it made me so happy and warm at heart, that I could recommend this book for that reason alone! Besides of course the fact that this book in itself is an amazing and touching novel about reaching outside of your comfort zone. And with my favorite literature parents ever!
In brief, the story revolves around 17-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso, She is a bit on the larger side and has never dated or kissed any guy, despite her 26 crushes, since her fear of rejection and low self-esteem keeps her from taking chances in her life. Her twin sister, Cassie, on the other hand is Molly’s totally opposite; bold, courageous and popular. She’s had many hookups, but not any serious relationships. But in the beginning of the book, Cassie meets her first real girlfriend, Mina, which changes the twin dynamic and in a way pushes Molly to open up a bit more, just in time for crush number 27, Mina’s cool hipster friend Will. At the same time however, Molly meets co-worker Reid, who is a Tolkien fan and the kind of guy who wears nerdy t-shirts, but who Molly likes more than expected.
With Molly trying to figure which of the boys she’s into and if she should dare to put herself out there and make herself vulnerable, there are some really fun plot twists and realistic teenager situations. Especially the struggle between choosing the boy Molly herself actually likes the most and the one that seems ideal to everyone else. Overall, this book has some of the most realistic portrayals of teenagers I’ve ever read in a YA book; they drink, they talk about sex, they lie and make stupid decisions, they are selfish and immature and wonderful and adorable and freak out about stuff. What I didn’t like so much after a while though was how pushy and selfish Cassie acted when pushing a crush on Molly without caring about her wishes or feelings. There were also times when reading the book that I got a bit annoyed at Molly’s indecisiveness. Luckily though, Cassie did end up being nicer and Molly did make a decision (the right one too!) by the end, so the book ended in a funny and fluffy, give-you-all-the-feels kind of read.
What I loved most about this book was the diversity and inclusivity. There’s Molly with an underrepresented body type without making excuses for it and with anxiety issues, there’s the twin sister who’s into girls, they have two moms, Patty and Nadine, and the twins themselves are sperm-donor babies. Patty and Nadine are such a lovely couple and amazing mothers (seriously, I’d love for them to adopt me…) and their wedding was one of the best things in the book. I really loved all of the family dynamic in this book, it felt so real and warm.
All in all, this is a wonderful book! Even though I didn’t love it as much as Simon vs. it’s a sweet, relatable, fast-paced and touching book, with awesome characters and dynamics, that I highly recommend.
Find out more about the book and the author here: Becky Albertalli