//I received this via NetGalley for review. That, in no way affects my opinion.
Title : The Upside of Unrequited
Author : Becky Albertalli
Genre : YA Contemporary
Release date : 11th April, 2017
Goodreads summary :
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.
Okay, before reading this review, you should probably know that I’m not the hugest fan of YA contemporary (okay here’s a secret : I kinda dislike the genre) so if I say that I liked this book, and you’re a huge fan of YA contemporary, you’ll probably love it. Just getting this clear, before I get into the review.
Okay, so I liked this book. It’s most definitely better than a lot of other YA contemporaries I’ve read but was it a ground-breaking, earth-shattering ball of amazingness? Ahem, NO. Basically, the whole book summarised : Molly keeps on whining about not having had any boyfriends and then finally meets a guy and falls in love and they end up together.
I read Albertalli’s previous book Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda whenever it came out (I think last year?) and loved it, but then again, I know that if I were to read it again now, I probably wouldn’t love it as much.
What I absolutely loved about this book was its writing, pace and length. Because of my ongoing board examinations, I cannot remember the last time I finished a book in less than a week. This book though? Took me three days. That’s almost a miracle for me. It is extremely readable and the pages just fly by. You can most definitely finish this book in one sitting. It’s tone is very light and the writing is just TOO GOOD. It’s so easy to read and fresh and light and fluffy and amazing.
Which brings me to the next point : the fluff. It’s a cute book, and if cute books are what you primarily read, you’ll love this book so much. The whole deal about having crushes and first relationship/kiss is very, very cute and Albertalli portrayed it so well in here. Also, Albertalli tackles it very aptly, and a high school romance is shown as a high school romance – nothing more nothing less. The book very realistically portrays what having a crush and falling in love at seventeen feels like, and doesn’t try to dramatize anything at all by an over-the-top love affair. It’s real, believable and cute.
I really liked the diversity in here. There’s so many different, different types of diversity thrown in, and it all comes out to very well. I liked the two side-character relationships (which are diverse) so much more than the main relationship portrayed in the book. Also, all the side characters individually too were just amazing (I loved them more than the MC).
One of the main issues discussed in the book is how often when people enter into romantic relationships, they forget the other parts of their lives like family, siblings and friends and I’m so glad this was discussed in the book. Relationships overshadowing everything else in your life when you’re young is so common and I loved how the author dealt with that in the book.
Another thing I really liked was the bonding of the twin sisters in this book, Molly and Cassie. It was amazing, and though they have ups and downs, I really loved their relationship.
Now for the things I didn’t so much like. I didn’t like the main character. She constantly keeps whining about being fat. She acts as if being fat is her only problem. She talks about how she’s seventeen and never dated anyone, and that’s probably because she’s fat. In spite of admitting that she’s been called pretty before, she still thinks about her ‘fatness’ being the reason of her not getting boys.
Okay firstly, basing the whole book on the sadness of this seventeen year-old girl not having had boyfriends is too much. I mean, I get that most people date by that age, but I have quite a few friends (I’m seventeen too) who haven’t dated ever and that’s okay. I don’t think there’s any particular age-milestone about these things, everything will fall into place and everyone will eventually enter into relationships. I just didn’t like Molly’s attitude towards the whole thing.
She kept saying about how she was seventeen and how she hadn’t even kissed a guy yet and it hit me, what about the seventeen year-olds reading the book who haven’t kissed anyone? Wouldn’t they feel bad, reading Molly’s thoughts? I have so many friends who haven’t even hugged someone of the opposite sex, and sometimes that’s how life is. I just really disliked how Molly made the whole not-having-dated-even-at-seventeen thing a reason to feel sorry for yourself. Again, my opinion about this is completely personal : maybe I’d have felt completely different had I been a seventeen year-old who hasn’t yet been in a relationship but I look at my friends who haven’t yet dated and they’re fine. Their lives are amazing. It’s cool.
Also, the fat thing. Oh why? Being fat doesn’t really affect your romantic life that much. Like, it doesn’t. I know quite a few people who might be considered fat but they’re happy with their lives and their relationships. The more you grow, the lesser body fat matters. I remember back when I was 15, I entered this phase where I hated my body (and in spite of being kinda fat, I still dated, so I don’t believe in this crap about how fat people can’t date because that’s bullshit) but phew I’m long past that phase. Even now, on some days I end up wishing I had a perfect body but it’s not a constant thing. But Molly really talked too much about her being fat, I got really irritated.
All in all, this is a cute, fluffy book. I did have issues with it, but a lot of people might not have the same issues. I highly recommend this to any contemporary lover or anyone who’s interested in this genre. Go check this out! If you are a skeptic contmporary reader (like me) looking out only for the stellar books, then probably stay away from this one, because it ain’t too special either.