For What It's Worth

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

review: the upside of unrequited by becky albertalli


30653853Seventeen-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? ~
Goodreads

Source: ARC via ALA16

Review: 

Boy does this book have a lot to live up to. Becky Albertalli’s debut novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was a HUGE hit and trying to strike gold twice is a very difficult thing.
IMO, The Upside of Unrequited succeeded in carrying on Albertalli’s trademark adorable, relatable characters combined with a story filled with heart that leaves the reader with a giant smile on their face.

I got sucked in right from the first laugh out loud line:


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"I'm on the toilet at the 9:30 club, and I'm wondering how mermaids pee."

(*There is context in the book for that quote lol)

I know readers are probably headed into this book for the romance, and both Molly and Cassie have really sweet love interests but it was the sisters changing dynamics that had me hooked.

Cassie and Molly are twins that share everything. Even though Cassie is the is the outgoing, fearless of the two and Molly often feels relegated to the sidekick roll – they are totally in sync until Cassie falls for Mina. Instead of sharing stories of first kisses with Molly as she usually does, Cassie becomes secretive and wants to spend all her time with Mina instead leaving Molly confused and hurt.

Molly is just trying to get her first kiss but her insecurities about being overweight and her past experiences keep her from taking chances with boys.

“And I’m sorry, but there’s a reason I’m so careful. Boys like Will don’t like girls like me. And if they find out we like them, they are cruel. Always.”

The further Cassie drifts away, the more Molly decides to take a chance. Like ripping off a band-aid – maybe it’s better to just get that first heartbreak done and over with.

“ So, maybe I should let my heart break, just to prove that my heart can take it.”

The romances…swoon BUT Cassie and Molly? I don’t have sisters but these two tugged at my heart strings. They have such a hard time figuring out the new dynamics of their relationship with Mina added to the mix. It’s completely natural to want to spend all your time with your new girlfriend/boyfriend and not share those moments with anyone – including your twin. The anger and resentments build and it was both beautiful and heartbreaking to read.

“We started walking on the same day. Cassie first, and then me.

Now it feels like all we do is take tiny steps away from each other.

Towards crushes.

Towards girlfriends.”

The best thing about this book is how it shows that relationships aren’t static. That they’re always in flux and that it's not good or bad - just the natural order of things. I think Albertalli is a master at expressing teen anxiety and insecurities in such a realistic way. And I adore how she includes family, especially parents, who are so often AWOL in YA.

I’ll be honest and say I enjoyed Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda more. While TUoU is adorable, it also lagged a bit in the middle. Several readers felt the beginning was slow and took awhile to build, while I thought it started strong then the focus drifted a bit but finished strong. It’s told from only Molly’s perspective and while I enjoyed Molly immensely – I think adding Cassie’s POV would have elevated the story from merely adorable to something truly special.

I love Becky Albertalli’s unique voice and can’t wait to she what she publishes next!

32 comments:

  1. Okay, well. I'm sold on that particular quote alone. I mean, I've had deep thoughts while sitting on the can as well. So yeah, we're kindred spirits. Lol.

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    1. IKR???!!! I was like - I LOVE THIS BOOK based on the first line. I could have stopped there and called it a day. 5 stars. Boom. Done. lol

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  2. I can completely relate too Karen and similar to Joy, I'm more of a shower thinker. I need a little white board in there. Truly. I've seen a few wonderful reviews for this one and know readers have been absolutely loving it. The aspect that draws me in though is the sisterly bond the girls share with one another. I think that's something severely lacking in YA, siblings that actually like one another. It sounds like a wonderful read and I'm thrilled you loved it Karen. Brilliant review! <3 <3

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    1. Ha! There are no mermaids but it was a funny line

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  4. I'm glad to see the author included family/parents into the mix. You're right, a ton of other books have them absent.

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    1. It was a very interactive and present family - parents, siblings, grandmother, aunts. I loved it.

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  5. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I've seen similar opinions that it was good but not as good as Simon. I do think I need to read both and you just put this one on my wishlist.

    Btw, I think they just go... I mean they are in an ocean and that is how the other fish do it. LOL Yea, my brain is weird. :D

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    1. Ha! I'm sure they just go like any other fish in the ocean lol

      I hope you give both books a try. They're cute.

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  6. Twins sisters or brothers always make me curious. Is there a jealousy or cheating going on between the twins? Glad that you loved this. :)

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    1. No cheating. Her sister is dating Mina and Molly is trying to find a boyfriend (with Cassie & Mina's help).

      They have a good relationship - it's just that the dynamic is changing as they get older and add new people to their universe.

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  7. I really liked this one and I didn't read simon . This book was cute . :)

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    1. I think you would really like Simon. It was super cute. It was the Simon that was in this book with her cousin Abby.

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  8. I need to get Simon read first because they both sound so adorable.

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    1. They really are. I hope you give them both a try. They can be read as stand alone's but a few of the characters from Simon appear in Upside

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  9. I haven't read either of her books. But they both sound so cute! And especially now with the movie for Simon vs... I should probably get on that :P

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    1. They really are! She has a fun writing style.

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  10. I am so excited to read UPSIDE. The first line is definitely hilarious and I can find myself feeling hooked already. I've seen a couple more reviews saying they wished they could have read Molly's sister's POV. Let's hope one day we get a short story or something!

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    1. It wasn't absolutely necessary but it would have nice to hear from Cassie.

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  11. haha love the quotes you shared especially the first one.

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  12. I need to read this one still. I loved Simon, and while I don't think I'll like this one AS much, I'm sure I'll like it. Yay for good sisterly relationships. :)

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    1. It's got a similar style but the characters are so different from Simon's book. Still good and worth reading though.

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  13. That is quite the first line. :) That alone makes one want to read it I think. And it sounds like she captures the sister bond and even the family ties in an authentic way, which is nice. Sounds like a great read and a solid second outing. And I'm with Blodeuedd- how do they pee??? Never mind. :)

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  14. I actually remember hearing about this one on Twitter as a good example of fat rep in YA lit, so I might check it out.
    wwww.thelittlenigma.blogspot.co.uk
    TUMBLR: @thelittleenigma
    2ND TUMBLR: @strangetimesinwestminster
    TWITTER: @lydiaenigma
    INSTAGRAM: @lydiaenigma

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    1. It has a lot of good rep in several areas. There's a very diverse cast of characters.

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  15. I love that opening line. I prefer books that have not only cute romance, but also positive family representation and interesting sibling dynamic; I can’t wait to read this book. Wonderful review, Karen!

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    1. Then you would probably love this series because they both have awesome relationship dynamics.

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    2. I've already read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, loved it so much.

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