The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
When it comes to love, “…you have to be your own heart’s goalie.”
The Upside of Unrequited is an adorable story. Molly Peskin-Suso is a seventeen year old girl who ahs experienced a lot of crushes, twenty-six in fact. Each new crush has a story, some short, and some a little more complicated. However, Molly has never had a boyfriend or kissed a boy. This is a story of first love, relationships, and understanding. It is beautifully written and captivating.
The characters are relatable. I feel like I was Molly at seventeen. I never had a relationship in high school and sometimes boys/significant others felt overwhelming to me. I completely identified with Molly’s multiple crushes. Molly’s twin sister Cassie is someone we all knew. There was a friend that got so caught up in a new relationship that they forgot that their friends and/or family members were there. But that’s okay. A first love is something special, but we need to remember not to get carried away with it. We’ve also met a Mina, Max, or Will. The kids that were “too cool” for our typical social circles. The ones who are overly artistic or just ooze awesome. Olivia and Abby are the kind of friends we were always grateful to have. The ones you could share everything with and knew what we were thinking without saying a word. Finally, there’s Reid. The boy who is a little nerdy but owns it and doesn’t care what other people think. Secretly, I think we all strive to be a little like Reid.
There are some deep topics covered in this book as well. There are undercurrents of dealing with self-image and the impressions of others. Molly compares herself to her skinnier sister. She’s afraid of what people might see under her clothes. Self-image issues are common for teenagers and I think Albertalli deals with them well. Molly has a grandmother who nags about her weight or makes snide comments. Cassie and their moms come to Molly’s defense and tell the grandmother that her comments are uncalled for. But slowly, Molly learns to see herself as beautiful even when she’s not trying—like with rumpled pajamas and unbrushed hair. There are moments that we all find ourselves beautiful, and those are the ones to hold onto. There are also quite a few LGBT relationships. Cassie and Molly’s moms are getting married; Cassie gets a girlfriend; and even the caterer Molly once had a crush on has a boyfriend. I love that most of these relationships are nonchalant because love is love. But there is also a component of a homophobic aunt, but even this issue is overcome.
I LOVED this book. It has been on my TBR since it came out but I couldn’t bring myself to pay retail prices for it and the waiting list for the library was driving me insane. Then, fate brought this book to me because I found it at my favorite used bookstore for a more than reasonable price. I devoured this book in one night, staying up too late and falling in love with the characters.