It’s no surprise that Simon Vs the Homosapiens Agenda was one of my favourite contemporaries of 2015. Since then I have been looking forward to reading anything Albertalli writes, and when I received a copy for review, I dived in the second it appeared on my Kindle.
Sadly, it was no Simon.
But it was as wonderful and heart-warming as I hoped it would be.
Seventeen year old Molly Peskin-Suso is terrified of the idea of rejection. And with 26 unrequited crushes, she wishes she could be more like her twin sister Cassie, who it seems nothing is impossible for. When Cassie gets a new girlfriend and starts to drift away, desperate for love Molly realises that if she wants more than a crush, she’ll have to be less careful. She’ll never know if she never tries, right? And maybe, just maybe… being less careful will not only help her get a guy, but maybe her twin back too.
This is a book that I needed growing up.
Because I have been Molly. I too growing up felt lost and had endless questions about life, love and other topics that were not ever talked about, yet somehow everyone else seemed to know. The Upside of Unrequited is hilariously relatable, but at the same time very real and honest, and really captures the feelings of being a seventeen year old.
What is really refreshing about this book is that it features an incredibly vibrant and diverse cast of characters. Whether it be sexuality, appearance, mental health, race or religion, they are all written and treated with respect, which made it that much more delightful to read. However, I do feel like it tried to cram in too many types of people into the story, which mostly came across forced and unrealistic, as nice as the idea of it is.
The characters in themselves were great, though some not so memorable. The story is written from Molly’s point of view with a strong, clear voice throughout and I loved her snarky, and sarcastic narration, because it was incredibly relatable and many times I was sat there thinking, are we the same person? I would’ve really liked for it to have been told from Cassie’s POV also as I feel it’s one we don’t see yet I believe it would’ve made the plot a lot stronger and added more depth by getting more of an insight into her and Mina’s relationship.
As expected, the romances in this book were adorable. Reid instantly won me over with his Middle-earth t-shirt. The other relationships however fell a little flat; but it’s okay, because the hilarious dialogue makes up for it, and not to mention a certain cameo from somebody *wink wink*
What makes The Upside of Unrequited stand out are the positive messages and the feelings evoked by this story, which I am certain everyone has felt at some point in their life. Feeling lost or left behind, the excitement of first loves, the fear of rejection and drifting apart, dealing with jealousy, struggling with body image and comparing yourself to others are just a few which are touched upon. But this book reassures you that you will be ok. It’s normal to feel these things, and though it may get tough, you can get through it. The positivity in this book is truly wonderful.
Whilst the writing may not be every one’s cup of tea, it’s definitely an entertaining read, which packs in lots of feels and humour. The diversity and representation is brilliant, and it’s hard not to leave this book without a smile on your face.
I’m pretty sure this book will get a lot of love when it’s released April 11th!
*I received this book from Penguin Random House UK Children’s through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Publication date: 11/04/17
Publisher: Peguin Random House UK Children’s, Penguin
Genre: LGBTQ, YA contemporary