Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 4215
A sweet and endearing story
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
I absolutely adore Becky Albertalli's voice. She has a way of writing teenage characters that feels utterly real and relatable. In Molly, we find a teenager facing the world of first jobs, first kisses, and first goodbyes, while also dealing with anxiety. Her inner monologue is often disparaging, which admittedly I found hard to read at times, but is such a realistic portrayal of the crippling self-doubt that can dominate the mind of the teenage girl. Molly fears that she is 'falling behind' her peers as they all enter the realm of boyfriends and sex. She also struggles with insecurities based not only on her in-experience, but also on her weight - though (thankfully) this is not a novel in which the main character fights to be someone else - Molly is (mostly) perfectly happy with her size she just doubts that anyone else could find her attractive and this doubt keeps her from putting herself in situations that could risk rejection.

The Upside of Unrequited also features a diverse cast of side characters. Molly's sister, Cassie is gay and her new girlfriend is pansexual. But, the characters I found most interesting were her parents. One parent is gay (I think), one is bisexual, one Jewish, one African American, and each of them have had one pregnancy to form their family. I found the family dynamics fascinating and loved that it portrayed an LGBTQ couple who had met young, survived family issues (infertility, homophobia) and were as strong as ever. It is lovely to see a Young Adult novel that features such positive parental role models. The parents are supportive and involved in their children's lives, but also give them a little room to breathe. The girls sometimes push the limits, but never doubt that they are loved.

While the characters truly make The Upside of Unrequited worth a read, I did find the plot a little lackluster. I was certainly not invested in Molly's love life the way that I was in Simon's in Simon Vs The Homo Sapians Agenda. There was some attempt at a love triangle, but I think the author purposely wrote two of the characters without any real chemistry so there was never a feeling that the "right" people wouldn't end up together. However, this may be a little less obvious to an actual young adult reader than it is through my "mom eyes".

Ultimately, The Upside of Unrequited is a sweet and endearing story about a character who finds love and learns that even the people who appear the most confident have their own inner monologue of doubt - but that if you push through that, wonderful things can happen.
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