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.
This book? Is EVERYTHING.
You may remember that I was not a huge fan of Simon vs. Now, I can definitely call myself a Becky Albertalli fan because I absolutely adored The Upside of Unrequited.
Let’s start with the characters, shall we. Our protagonist is Molly, a fat teenager who has had over 20 crushes but never had a boyfriend. She is intensely adorable – she wears vintage clothes and makes pinterest-level goodies! – and takes Zoloft for her anxiety. Her twin sister is Cassie, a lesbian who doesn’t take shit from anyone (my favourite conversation of hers involved tearing down patriarchal constructions of virginity. HELL YES.) Molly and Cassie have two moms, one of whom is Asian-American. And finally, Cassie’s love interest Mina is pansexual and Korean.
I also loved that The Upside of Unrequited is clearly set in 2015, shortly after same-sex marriage was legalised in the US. (When I read that, I had a huge rush of emotion – I so clearly remember where I was when I read about it, and the White House was lit up in rainbow colours. I’m not going to lie, I cried.) The plot itself was good – much like Simon vs, it was a fluffy and romance-filled YA that ended positively. Other than the fact that I loved that Molly learned to love herself just the way she is, I don’t really have much to say about it, to be honest.
The Upside of Unrequited once AGAIN confirms to me that YA is at the forefront of diversity in literature today. And not just diversity – but considered, positive representations that will speak to teenagers for years to come.
There are trigger warnings for fatphobic, homophobic and racist comments.
NB: My choice for MC with an under-represented body for Diversity Bingo 2017