4:00 pm EDT, April 12, 2017

‘The Upside of Unrequited’ by Becky Albertalli is as heart-achingly adorable as ‘Simon’

The next book from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda author Becky Albertalli is The Upside of Unrequited and it’s absolutely delightful.

About ‘The Upside of Unrequited’ by Becky Albertalli

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.

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‘The Upside of Unrequited’ book review

Reading Unrequited is like seeing an old friend for the first time in years. It feels strange for just a split second, like you know the moves to the dance but you have to make sure your rhythm still matches theirs, but then someone cracks a joke and that familiar feeling of comfort and ease returns. All is well with the world.

The humor, the heartache, and the satisfaction of finding happiness will be familiar feelings to those who read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, but this is quite a different story from its predecessor. Although the stories are tied, and previously established characters make cameos, Unrequited is very much Molly Peskin-Suso’s story.

Molly is as relatable as they come, especially at this age. She’s 17, she’s never been kissed, and she’s had a million crushes and counting. She’s a serial adorer and a serial avoider. It’s hard talking to boys (and girls, for that matter). What if what you say is dumb? Or mean? Or it’s misconstrued and all of a sudden the guy you like might think you’re obsessed with him rather than just cautiously optimistic he doesn’t think you’re a total weirdo. Yeah, Molly is painstakingly relatable.

And although this is definitely Molly’s story, there are several other characters who are a part of the book in their own right, rather than to just act as catalysts for the protagonist. Cassie, Molly’s twin sister, navigates her own love life at the same time Molly is trying to figure out hers. Unrequited is as much about romantic relationships as familial ones, as well as what can happen to sisters when one (or both) fall in love. Is there room for everyone in your life?

Then there are Molly and Cassie’s mothers, who are quite possibly the coolest parents on the planet. They’re strict and nurturing without being overbearing and out of the loop. They have their own little plot line that intersects with Molly’s, and it’s nice to see such a loving family on the page. Much like Simon, this novel is LGBTQ-friendly, and instead of making it A Thing like many books do, it’s just a part of the story. Molly likes boys. Cassie likes girls. Their parents are two women. This is their life, and it’s a beautiful and harmonious thing to witness, even if only for a brief time.

The Upside of Unrequited is heart-achingly adorable. I mean that literally. My chest ached every time Molly’s did. When she felt embarrassed, I blushed. When she cried, I felt tears pricking at my eyes. When she was happy, I couldn’t help the grin that spread across my face. Becky Albertalli has a talent for taking awkward, true-to-life scenarios and painting them with such vivid reality that you feel as though you’re standing next to Molly each time her heart skips a beat. Albertalli also has a talent for writing a love story so beautiful, you can’t help but wish it would never end.

About the author

Becky Albertalli is the author of the acclaimed novels Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Upside of Unrequited. A former clinical psychologist who specialized in working with children and teens, Becky lives with her family in Atlanta.

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