“I want to know what it feels like to have crushes that could conceivably maybe one day turn into boyfriends.”
I was lucky enough recently to win a Spring giveaway through HarperCollins Canada, where the prize was advance reader copies of three of their young adult novels. Two of them, including this one, were actually released a few days after I received my copies. However, I am just hear to give you my honest opinion about The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli.
I will admit, I tend to be skeptical these days when it comes to young adult fiction. I am not entirely sure why. In any case, I was a bit skeptical about this one at first.
But I have to eat my words.
The Upside of Unrequited is about a seventeen year old girl, Molly Peskin-Suso, who has had a grand total of 26 crushes but has never had her first kiss. She is entirely terrified of rejection, which means she is always playing it safe, regardless of the way her twin sister Cassie thinks she should act. Until of course, new developments and a potential crush number twenty seven enters her life.
This is essentially what the book boils down to, though of course it does get a little more complicated. A few things stood out to me while reading this novel. Perhaps the first part of it is how there are actually two LGBT relationships in the story: her sister Cassie (with whom you will find out), and her two moms. I really liked how the author chose to include these relationships. LGBTQ characters are not seen as often in literature (or much of anywhere in fiction) and I think having the representation is important. I also enjoyed their specific portrayal, since they definitely seemed organic and not just there to be the LGBTQ representation. This is further illustrated by the inclusion of other LGBTQ characters both prominent as well as secondary. You also have minority characters, Jewish characters, et cetera. There is definitely diversity in this book. In fact, I think this book is an excellent example of how diversity should be included.
The writing itself is, as you would expect for a young adult novel, quite easy to read. It is not always the most poetic, sure, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it all the same. Frankly, I was very grateful to have a quicker read, because I have definitely been working my way through a few more difficult books lately.
I think the thing I enjoyed the most about this book, however, was how much I could connect with Molly. There are a few things we differ on in significant ways, but there are also many things similar about the two of us, like her fear of rejection, believing no one is going to like her, et cetera. There are many poignant moments involving Molly I connected even more with, though I cannot really share any details lest I spoil the book for you.
I recommend The Upside of Unrequited whole-heartedly to you, whoever you are. It is definitely a great read and I very much hope you will enjoy it. When you do read it, I hope you tell me what you thought! Which character did you like/identify with the most? Would you have reacted as Molly did when she and her sister seemed to drift apart? Is there anything you would change? Do you share Reid’s passion for Mini Eggs? I want to hear all your opinions in the comments!
Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)