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The Upside of Unrequited

Review

The Upside of Unrequited

THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED is the second published young adult novel from Becky Albertalli, author of SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA. THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED follows Molly Peskin-Suso, a 17-year-old who has had 26 crushes and a zero percent success rate with any of them. Molly watches her twin sister, Cassie, fall in and out of love and wonders why she never shared the same experiences. Then suddenly there’s two boys in Molly’s life: hipster Will and Ren Faire enthusiast Reid. She’s not sure if she’s falling for either of them but she’s sure they’re not falling for her. Or are they?

THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED blends high school awkwardness with the beauty of first (or twenty-seventh) love and the teenage struggle of “figuring it all out.” As a teenager, I found this book extremely relatable. Becky Albertalli definitely understands her audience and builds the story and characters to effectively portray various aspects of the high school experience. I saw myself and my friends in pieces of each character which made their problems so much more important and real to me.

"I highly recommend THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED to any and all teenagers. I think there’s a lot to learn within this story and you can learn it all while indulging in some classic high school drama and romance."

Speaking of characters, Becky Albertalli did not miss the mark with any of them. Molly was a perfectly flawed main character. She had problems but was also fun, quirky and likeable. I genuinely cared about her life and hoped to see the conflicts resolved in her favor. All of the side characters were also interesting and just as easy to invest myself in. I love reading books that include a large cast of entertaining characters and THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED definitely did not disappoint. The dynamics between the characters were very well-crafted, interesting and real. The inner workings of Molly’s friend group were well-written and relatable. I understood how each friend fit into the group and why they were a necessary character to the overall plot.

Becky Albertalli also included a wide variety of diversity in her characters which I really appreciated. She mixed in people of all different sexualities, ethnicities, backgrounds and weights. This truly made the characters feel real as they represented the diversity that exists in our society today. This is something that is sometimes overlooked in fiction so it was great to see it done so gracefully in this novel.

The only real problem I had with this book was the slight bit of predictability. For me this exists in almost all contemporaries and just seems like a necessary by-product of having easy-to-understand characters who are also living in a world I know. Of course it’s easy to predict what will happen next when you or someone you know has already lived through something similar, etc. Even though there were some moments that I saw coming from chapters away I still really enjoyed my reading experience and never wanted the book to leave my hands or my eyes to leave its pages.

I don’t want to dive into the ending or romance too much as that would easily lend itself to spoilers, but I do want to say that both aspects were great. I found myself falling more in love with the characters as several of them fell in love with each other. The ending wrapped everything up nicely and left me satisfied with the reading experience as a whole. THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED also leaves the reader with some lessons about life, love and being a teenager. I took them to heart and I think many young adult readers will, too.

I highly recommend THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED to any and all teenagers. I think there’s a lot to learn within this story and you can learn it all while indulging in some classic high school drama and romance. This book is already any contemporary lovers’ dream and would also be an easy book to give a friend who may be newer to the reading scene. No matter who you are, I think it’s easy to find something to love about this book.

Reviewed by Danielle F., Teen Board Member on April 28, 2017

The Upside of Unrequited
by Becky Albertalli