This was my first book by Becky Albertalli. Immediately after finishing it, I ordered Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and now Leah on the Offbeat and What If It’s Us are two of my most anticipated reads of 2018! In other words, I thought this book was so cute and it certainly won’t be my last by this author.
Molly Peskin-Suso has had twenty-six crushes but despite her twin sister’s advice, she’s never done anything about them. Then, two boys come into the picture and suddenly Molly thinks it may be time to take chances. There are just a few problems: she’s insecure, she doesn’t understand relationships, and she doesn’t know which boy to pick. This is a charming coming of age story about family and first love that I absolutely adored.
I absolutely loved Molly as a main character because I think she’s the kind of character that a lot of teenage girls can relate to. So many main characters are thin and fit and know exactly how to talk to boys. In other words, they’re pretty unrealistic. On the other hand, Molly is overweight and boys seem like another species to her. In regards to her body type, I love that even though Molly was “fat,” she wasn’t obsessed with getting “skinny.” Sure, she talked about insecurities relating to her weight, but not once did she say anything about wanting to lose weight and I loved that in her own way, she is comfortable with who she is. As for boys, I think a lot of teenage girls are shy and confused when it comes to first relationships. A lot of female main characters seem so confident, but Molly is very insecure and I think that makes her more relatable.
Molly was not the only likable character in this book. In fact, most of the characters were really funny and memorable. (Disclaimer: I listened to this book on audio so I’m not 100% certain I’m going to spell all of these names right. ) Molly’s twin sister, Cassie, was fearless and her girlfriend, Mina, was hilarious. Molly’s coworker and love interest, Reid, was so quirky and nerdy. Molly’s moms, Patty and Nadine, have to be some of the coolest parents ever. Not only were the characters likable, they were incredibly diverse. There was so much representation of different races, religions, and sexualities. There were white, black, Korean, Jewish, straight, bisexual, lesbian, and pansexual characters. There was even inclusion of mental illness as Molly herself has anxiety. Albertalli really managed to include so many unique types of people and the best part was, their differences seemed so natural. All of the characters were so accepting of one another, making their community seem very ideal.
I loved the dysfunctional family dynamic. It was touching to see how much Molly and her family members really care for each other. There is some conflict between Molly and Cassie throughout the book, but it mainly stems from Molly’s fear of growing apart. The twins love each other so much and it terrifies Molly to think that one day they may not be as close. I think it’s great that by the end of book, the sisters start to find a balance between their significant others and each other. As for Patty and Nadine, I think they also have a perfect balance between support and discipline. While they’re fun and cool, it’s still clear that they have their children’s best interest at heart. I also admire their relationship and how strong it is despite how long they’ve been together.
Spoiler alert! One of my favorite things about this book is that the nerdy boy wins!! Although I did like Will, I was of course rooting for Reid. Where most girls would have gone for the hot hipster, Molly went for the nerd, which is just another reason to appreciate her.
There were so many great things about this book. It had so many amazing quotes. At certain points it was like Becky Albertalli jumped into my head and read my mind. Unfortunately, I don’t have my favorite quotes written down because I listened to it on audio while I was driving, but I’m definitely going to have to go back and reread a hard copy of it and highlight it because there were so many hilarious lines I want to remember. Overall, The Upside of Unrequited was fun, quirky, memorable, and so adorable. I absolutely loved it and would recommend it to any fans of contemporary.