Book Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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Even though it is the middle of national novel writing month (#NaNoWriMo), we still must find time to enjoy reading! I love to read. In today’s blog, I’m reviewing The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli.

One of the greats benefits of working as Shelverine (my alter ego when I work part time in school libraries) is access to lots of books all day long. I recently pulled this gem of a book from the the high school library’s shelf and disappeared into the land of high school crushes.

I recently pulled this gem of a book from the the high school library’s shelf and disappeared into the land of high school crushes.

The YA (Young Adult) story follows our hero Molly, a lovely and creative 17-year-old girl who nevertheless feels uncomfortable in her own skin. She struggles with her weight (though her family is very supportive of her many amazing qualities) and finds herself suddenly and unexpectedly without her twin sister Cassie’s constant support. We begin with Molly’s twin Cassie embarking on her first real relationship (Molly introduced the new lovebirds, adding to her feeling of abandonment) and the fallout that Molly experiences as she feels left behind in love by Cassie. This moment where Cassie moves into a relationship intensifies Molly’s feelings of aloneness, since Molly has only ever had a long list of unrequited crushes. None of the boys on her long, long list ever knew how she felt about them. Molly’s weight, her own struggles with self-esteem and her feelings of inadequacy still hold her back from making any kind of move. Cassie, emboldened by her own new relationship with a lovely girl named Mina, decides to help Molly get a boyfriend and to put herself out there.

Upside emoji quoteAs with real relationships, those portrayed in the book include the range of feelings: love, passion, jealousy, fear, embarrassment, discomfort, joy, hurt, elation. The author does a beautiful job of building believable and lovable characters in this book. The main question our hero Molly asks herself is: am I worthy of a relationship? Now suddenly, with the help of her sister and the other charming characters in this story, Molly brings us on her journey of personal discovery in pursuit of the answer to this question down a scary yet exhilarating path. Will Cassie’s “Operation boyfriend” for Molly end in success or terrible, soul-crushing failure?

She asks herself, is everybody doing these things except me? Am I the only one in the world who has not done them?

Molly’s endeavors as a 17-year-old are honest and real. She asks herself, is everybody doing these things except me? Am I the only one in the world who has not done them? Whether that be holding hands, kissing, or attaining the elusive boyfriend or girlfriend. Real, overwhelming and intense teen feelings jump off the page.

I didn’t want to put the book down, and wanted to know immediately how things would play out. I’d highly recommend this book for any teenager or adult in your life.

Real, overwhelming and intense teen feelings jump off the page.

Please share your thoughts if you’ve read this book or if you’ve read Ms. Albertalli’s other book, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda (now on the top of my to-be-read pile)! Thanks for reading and wishing everyone a wonderful and safe November!

 

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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  1. I am reading Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda right now, among other books! I’m loving Simon so far and based on your review I now want to read Upside too! Because who doesn’t need one more book added to their TBR pile. Am I right?

    1. We are operating on the same wave length right now! And yes, sometimes the TBR priorities have to be shifted. Maybe we can swap books when we’re done. I finished Upside in three days, so delightful as well as enjoyably fast.

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