Published: April 11th, 2017 by Balzer + Bray | Series: N/A | Length: 336 pages | Genre: YA contemporary romance | Source: Borrowed from library | Content Warning: comments about weight, homophobia, racism
Summary from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because 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. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And 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 an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?
I’ve been meaning to read The Upside of Unrequited since before it even released back in April. It took me awhile to finally get to it and I’ll admit, I’m kind of kicking myself for taking so long to read it. This story was just so adorable and I really thoroughly loved it.
Part of the reason I was initially drawn to this was because the main character, Molly, is fat. In a romance book. And doesn’t lose weight. And still gets a happy ending. Exciting, right?! It may not seem like such a big deal, but this is pretty rare, especially in YA. The whole cast is quite diverse. Molly’s twin sister Cassie is queer, they have two moms (one of whom is Black), there’s a pansexual character, one of their moms is Jewish (as is Reid), etc. There’s just a lot of diversity in the cast of characters and it was wonderful.
Molly was an awesome and really relatable main character. She, like many teenage girls, is a little boy crazy and a little insecure. Although she has had a lot of crushes, she’s never really tried to get it to go anywhere because she’s worried that she’ll be rejected for being fat. But over the course of the book, she decides she’s sick of being so careful with her crushes and wants to actually try to get her crush to go somewhere. This isn’t the only thing about her that I found relatable though. She also loves her family, yet bickers with them and struggles with accepting that she and Cassie will grow apart as they get older. She’s a really well-rounded character, too – I especially loved seeing her try out the crafts she finds on Pinterest. Molly truly felt like a real person.
As you can probably figure out from the synopsis, there’s a love triangle, but Reid is kind of the primary love interest. He was equally as adorable and wonderful as Molly. He’s geeky, funny, and really sweet and I loved seeing him and Molly grow closer together. They definitely have their fair share of cute, swoony scenes that will have you smiling.
Of course, I can’t close out this review without mentioning how awesome the family dynamics were. At times they felt a little unrealistic as Molly and Cassie’s moms don’t seem to really care much about what they were doing but this is a small complaint. There are other times where they definitely act more realistically so I might be overthinking it, haha. Generally, though I loved the relationship Molly, Cassie, and their moms have and I loved that they had a little baby brother too. As someone who had two baby siblings when I was in middle school (who were obviously still pretty young when I was in high school), it was nice to see a similar family shown here.
In case it wasn’t obvious, I really thoroughly loved The Upside of Unrequited. I’m so glad that I finally read this because it was really adorable and a very fun read. If you have any interest in this, I highly recommend picking it up especially if you’re in the mood for a cute contemporary with a diverse cast of characters. I’m convinced that it’s impossible to finish this book without a huge smile on your face.