What does a sixteen-year-old girl have to do to kiss a boy? Molly Peskin-Suso wishes she knew. She’s crushed on twenty-six guys…but has kissed exactly none. Her twin sister Cassie’s advice to “just go for it” and “take a risk” isn’t that helpful. It’s easy for her to say: she’s had flings with lots of girls. She’s fearless and effortlessly svelte, while Molly is introverted and what their grandma calls zaftig.
Then Cassie meets Mina, and for the first time ever, Cassie is falling in love. While Molly is happy for her twin, she can’t help but feel lonelier than ever. But Cassie and Mina are determined to end Molly’s string of unrequited crushes once and for all. They decide to set her up with Mina’s friend Will, who is ridiculously good-looking, flirty, and seems to be into Molly. Perfect, right? But as Molly spends more time with Reid, her cute, nerdy co-worker, her feelings get all kinds of complicated. Now she has to decide whether to follow everyone’s advice…or follow her own heart.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This has not changed my opinion in any way.
In April last year, Becky Albertalli came to my country and I read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. While I probably didn’t love it as much as basically everyone else did, I enjoyed it very much and was curious for more of Becky’s books. Her new book, The Upside of Unrequited would be about a girl named Molly who has had crushes on twenty-six different guys; but zero boyfriends. When I saw it on Netgalley, I decided to request it because they were looking for European reviewers, and of course, because I was very curious about this book!
Personally, I liked this book a bit better than Simon, because I could identify with the main character so much better than I could with Simon. Molly is a chubby, introvert girl who takes Zoloft to control her anxiety. Though I don’t think I am fat/chubby, I am very much introvert and I also have anxiety problems often enough. (Also I have had crushes on so many guys, honestly. Though most of them are all famous actors. Oops.) So while reading this book, I often thought ‘same’ with the things Molly did, said or thought. She often ‘fantasised’ about people doing certain things when she was not around, and it felt like I was reading my own thoughts right there on paper.
It’s safe to say I loved Molly, and I loved her family too. Her twin sister, Cassie (whom I often thought was very annoying too, by the way); their two mums and their baby brother Xavier. I also really liked Reid and his friendship with Molly. What I didn’t like was how Molly apparently didn’t like Lord of the Rings and felt the need to mention that several times throughout the book (how could you, Becky?!)
I also didn’t like Will too much. I mean he was a nice enough person, but I don’t get why Cassie and Mina were so determined to get him to get together with Molly. The whole ‘we should marry best friends’ thing felt ridiculous and after a while, I started to think Molly was only hanging out with Will because she was afraid to lose her sister. Also, there was a lot of talk about sex throughout the book, and as a typical asexual, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around why people think it’s such an important thing in a relationship.
Let’s be honest, I did find this story a little predictable, but then again isn’t it always so when you read a contemporary (or a romance)? The main character meets their love interest early in the story and they don’t end up together until the last couple of chapters. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing because often people end up making a really great story with this concept, but part of the reason I hardly ever pick up contemporary/romance books is because I already know how it ends. shrugs
But in the end, I really enjoyed this book, and I thought it was even cooler when I realised the story takes place in the same universe as Simon. Molly and Cassie’s cousin was Abby Suso from Simon, and we even got a little cameo of Simon in this book. Becky’s writing was also as amazing as I could remember, and I do think I forgive her for the Lord of the Rings ‘bashing’ (for lack of a better word). Maybe.
If you loved Becky’s previous book, and you love funny diverse books with a little bit of drama, definitely think about picking up The Upside of Unrequited.