Thursday, 4 May 2017

Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

If you know me, you know how much I love Becky Albertalli's work, therefore I couldn't wait to pick up and read her latest as soon as it was released.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. 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. 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 a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there's absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. 
Right?

Upside tells the story of Molly (The cousin of Abby from Simon Vs The Homosapiens Agenda) who overthinks and overanalyses to the point where she has a long list of crushes, but a non-existent one in terms of boyfriends. It's only when her twin sister, Cassie, gets a new girlfriend and - by extension - introduces Molly to Will that things start to get interesting. I'll be honest that I saw a lot of myself in Molly and that's one of the reasons I loved her so much. I too way overthink everything so it was nice to feel not so alone. I also loved her strength and tenacity, her determination to reach her goal. I also loved her body positivity. She may have felt shy or socially anxious but she never once used her weight as a reason to change. As Becky herself has pointed out, she doesn't lose anything. She is totally positive, true to herself, and I think that's a wonderful thing. As someone who could be deemed 'overweight', the body positivity reinforced in the story is just wonderful.

Cassie was a wonderful character also. I loved her relationship with Molly as well as her interactions with the other characters. She's strong and knows what she wants in life, but I also loved that she had her own moments of weakness which only built her character and strength further.

Will was a lovely character to play against Molly, a cheeky guy who knows how to have a good time. My favourite character however was Reid who was so adorably geeky and shy that I actually saw most of myself in him. Reid is quite easily me in another universe, and I just loved how his character played out and his own chemistry with Molly.

As always though one of the things I love most about Becky's books is her commitment to diversity and representation. Like Simon, Upside features a wonderfully diverse cast, and personally I loved the LGBT elements of the books. Cassie herself is a lesbian, while her and Molly's mothers are Lesbian and Bisexual themselves. Cassie's girlfriend is also pansexual. It's wonderfully refreshing to see accurate representation in YA which can sometimes be hard to find.

Overall The Upside of Unrequited was a story I absolutely enjoyed, loved and admired. I almost sobbed when I finished it, it was that good. I absolutely urge everyone to read it, award it a more than well deserved 5 stars, and cannot wait for the next instalment.

Have you read Upside? What did you think?

As always thanks for reading and do feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf


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