- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Balzer + Bray (April 11 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062348701
- ISBN-13: 978-0062348708
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.9 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 431 g
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #87,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Upside of Unrequited Hardcover – Apr 11 2017
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’If you’re in the mood for a snappy romance to vicariously bathe you in the pain and elation of first love, Becky Albertalli’s The Upside of Unrequited provides.” (NPR.org)
“While first kisses, first loves, and even first sexual experiences have all been dealt with in some form or another, she tackles these big milestones head-on and with aplomb.” (Entertainment Weekly)
★ “Readers will fall in love with this fresh, honest, inclusive look at dating, families, and friendship. A top purchase for all YA collections.” ( )
“In her second, relationship-rich novel, Albertalli’s take on the agonies and ecstasies of adolescent love are spot-on.” (ALA Booklist)
“Heart-fluttering, honest, and hilarious. I can’t stop hugging this book.” (Stephanie Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS)
“I have such a crush on this book! Not only is this one a must read, but it’s a must re-read.” (Julie Murphy, New York Times bestselling author of DUMPLIN')
“This book is absolutely adorable and has so much diversity! I fail to see how anyone cannot love this book and its characters.” A Best Book of 2017 (Brightly)
About the Author
Becky Albertalli is the author of the acclaimed novels Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Upside of Unrequited, and Leah on the Offbeat. A former clinical psychologist who specialized in working with children and teens, Becky lives with her family in Atlanta. You can visit her online at www.beckyalbertalli.com.
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The story itself is simple and focused on the relationships, which ranged from quirky and humourous to compelling and heartwarming. Molly is blessed with a good support system of friends, co-workers and family who are a lovely and diverse bunch in terms of race, age and sexual orientation.
I loved that LGBTQ relationships aren't highlighted for their uniqueness but because they represent many friends and families out there. Albertalli shows a regular ol' family who just happens to have two moms and these moms aren't relegated to the far reaches of the story but are an important support system for their kids. How unique! Molly's relationships with her moms, outspoken grandma and twin sister were wonderfully complicated and I think that Albertalli handled the sister bond well. As the older of three sisters I can attest to the fact that the sister bond can be complicated, awesome, frustrating, hilarious, sprinkled with jealousy and competition and be supportive - sometimes all within the same day. It's a lovely, messy and important bond and it felt authentic.
Along with the teen angst and relationships, many issues are addressed such as teen sex, body image (yay Molly for being a 'bigger girl' and still enjoying food!), underage drinking and mental health (albeit not in a great amount of depth).
The teenage years can be confusing and overwhelming and Albertalli focuses on the anxiety that some teens feel. But, sometimes Molly's low self-esteem was hard to read and it her inability to speak up for herself was frustrating when a little conversation could have cleared things up. But I'm speaking as someone who is a couple decades removed from teenage angst and while I think her anxiety explained some of her inability to speak up for herself it felt like her 'should I?/shouldn't I?' went on for a little too long.
Overall, this was an enjoyable and entertaining read. It has a nice amount of quirkiness (I do love me some quirk), sweet romances, a relatable character, humour and focuses on various relationships and issues facing teens. And it also features the life-altering importance of Cadbury Mini Eggs. You gotta love that.
This is a light read and fun. Molly is absolutely adorable. And why wouldn't hipster boy like her? Who wouldn't? She might not be a skinny mini but she's wonderful.
Although for me - a nerdy boy who is a huge Tolkien fan ... well, I was rooting for Reid the whole time.
Have a read and see if Molly ends up with a boyfriend or just new friends by the end of the story.
Albertalli has a gift for capturing the true teen voice. Molly is real and the reader can't help empathizing with her situation. A wonderful mix of humour, drama, and adventure - check it out!
It’s that dedication to detail that sets Albertalli’s writing apart. Molly’s personality buoys the rest of the novel, touches every chapter as she interacts with her family and friends. It’s easy to care about Molly, and to feel invested in her successes and challenges. I particularly appreciated the way Albertalli handles Molly’s perception of her body.
Molly is a fat girl and she has complex thoughts about her body and how society views her body, and she has space and agency. She acknowledges the way society views fat girls. She thinks about her own perceptions of herself. She decides how she feels. It was exhilarating to read a story about a fat girl that isn’t about Being Fat or weight loss. Certainly Molly thinks about her body, but it never overpowers her sense of self.
Molly’s burgeoning crushes and tentative exploration of her sexuality are important, but so is Cassie’s headlong fall into a serious relationship with Mina. Relationships all along the spectrum are respected and given weight and poignancy–frankly, it’s heartening to see this kind of world laid out for teens to hold close.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Every aspect of this story is wonderful, but I'm going to discuss my favorite pieces below:
1. The use of the word "fat." Throughout the novel, very rarely does Molly refer to herself as "chubby" or "curvy" or other euphemisms that people use to very obviously circumvent the word fat. The word is not weaponized against her (except for one instance but that guy sucks); it's just a fact.
2. The normalization of taking medication. This means so much, as taking medicine for mental illnesses is still very widely stigmatized. It's still very hush-hush, don't let the outside world know, in media and society. But Molly's casual references to taking her anti-anxiety medication is a large step towards making it a normal, every day thing.
3a. Queer identity was a vital part of this story, and it was treated with the love, tenderness, and respect that it deserves. In the very first chapter, we find out that Molly's twin sister is queer and they have two moms. A couple chapters later, we find out another character is pansexual. Simon of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda makes a few brief appearances, and his boyfriend is so casually mentioned. Towards the end of the novel, another character introduces Molly to his boyfriend and it fazes no one. Nowhere in this novel is anyone shamed for being queer (the one homophobic character is specifically called homophobic and everyone just generally doesn't take her nonsense), because being queer is just a part of who they are.
3b. The use of actual queer terminology was a pleasant and welcome surprise. The words asexual, pansexual, and bisexual are all used on page! (I loved all instances but my favorite was Molly thinking "obviously asexuals exist" because people either tend to forget we do, or they ridicule us for it.)
4. Everyone in this book is incredibly sex positive and I love it. They unabashedly talk about genitalia, orgasms, and sex. No one is shamed for having sex, and no one is shamed for not having sex. And I appreciated that Molly and the LI don't have sex since they get together so late in the story; it would have felt incredibly rushed and out of character.
5a. All the women are everything. They're shown as a spectrum--kind, loving, unlikable, surly, sarcastic, considerate, jealous, scared, anxious, happy. They're all allowed to have depth; none of them are one dimensional or flat. I love when female characters are shown to have multiple facets of their personality because it's so accurate to real life.
5b. The different kinds of relationships among the women were also incredible, and I loved how well they showed that there's different kinds of relationships with different people, even within the same friend group or family.
6. I'm not Jewish myself, but I adore how unreservedly Jewish this book and its characters are. Too often in media, Jewish people are depicted in unpleasant and discriminatory ways due to inherent antisemitism. We need so many more books, movies, tv shows, etc. where Jewish characters are allowed to be themselves, practice their religion without censure or discrimination. And we especially need this in the current state of the United States and wider world.
To summarize my feelings: This book is everything. It's the fat positive, queer inclusive, fun, real story that I've been dying for. I cannot wait for this book to be out in the world so more people can get their hands on it, because people of all ages need to read this book, especially my fat babes.
Let's start with the positive:
1. Molly is perhaps one of the most relateable characters I have ever had the privilege to read about. She is pretty much me at 17. Overweight. Insecure. Innocent. Boy crazy with no boy experience. The fat girl with the gorgeous friend/relative who always receives the attention. She is me. And She accurately expresses the thoughts that frequently pass through the minds of girls like us. As we are constantly bombarded with images that "define" the standard of beauty and make us feel unworthy and ugly, Molly naturally falls victim to these thoughts and feelings
2. I really appreciated Albertalli's writing style. She had the ability to write in a style that replicates how we tend to speak and think in today's times. I found the writing easy, fun, and quick.
3.The relationships in this book were amazing from Cassie and Molly to Molly and Reid, to Cassie and Mina, and Molly and Abby, there were a great deal of important pairings and I enjoyed the individual dynamics immensely. They truly made the story.
4. There was obviously a lot of great representation here........but....
And here is where the negative begins...
Albertalli tried so desperately hard to make this book as modern as she absolutely could (terms like "vag-blocking" were used frequently as well as numerous pop-culture references) and include about every type of representation that she could, that there was very little character development outside of Molly, Albertalli manages to do the opposite of what she intends to with her expansive representation and seems to define each character by what marginalizes them.
Also, can we talk about this quote: "I spend a lot of time thinking about love, kissing, boyfriends, and all of the other things that feminists aren't supposed to care about."
Screeching halt here.
I do not identify myself as a feminist,but I do believe in the empowerment and abilities of women. And I am pretty sure that the message of any pro-woman group is not something as superficial as "don't think about boys." If you truly are a proponent of women's equality, you know that a woman can be just as empowered and independent with a man as she can without. You don't need a man, but it's okay to want want.
And finally, this book seems to be promoting the idea that you cannot be happy without a boyfriend. Albertalli does briefly insert dialogue that suggests her awareness that it is not necessary to have a boyfriend to be happy, but this entire book is about Molly wanting a boyfriend. That is legitimately the entire plot here for the most part. To me that seems to be a pretty big signifier of the importance the author placed on a boyfriend equating to happiness. Molly doesn't seem to find her own worth until she is with Reid which, I can understand in some ways, but overall, that is not a very positive message for bigger girls.
I thought this story was insanely cute and I just loved Reid and Molly together, but I was not nearly as impressed as everyone else seems to be.
I really related to Molly. When I was a pre-teen and teen, I was always falling in and out of crushes. I wanted a boyfriend. I was concerned about my body since I've always been overweight and thought I was nothing special. Hearing Molly's voice echoing my childhood made me tear up a few times.Aside from that, she's also loving and has a dry sense of humor. Okay, so she's pretty much me in a nutshell.
The book doesn't really have a concrete plot, but is tied together with the marriage of her moms. Molly lives with her twin sister Cassie, baby brother Xavier, and their moms in Maryland, and on the day same sex marriage becomes legal, wedding plans are in order. The family dynamic is supportive yet brutally honest. I loved them all, even Molly's grandmother, who has her own issues but remains a steadfast matron in their family.
I liked Molly and Cassie's relationship. They're there for each other, but when Cassie falls hard for a girl she met and starts to spend all her time with Mina, Molly feels left out. Add to that the strong push for Molly and one of Mina's friends to get together, topped with Molly's blossoming friendship with her new co-worker Reid,and things get complicated. Cassie can be mean, but Molly's not a saint either. In the end, their bond is rock solid. I love these sisters. And Reid...what a dreamboat of nerd and a boy staying true to himself. I want more well-written romantic leads like Reid.
This is a definite favorite of the year and should be read by many people.