by Becky Albertalli
Published on April 11, 2017
by Balzer + Bray
Source: eARC for review
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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. Right?My take: If you're a regular blog reader, you know that I prefer my stories on the streamlined side. As The Upside of Unrequited started out, it definitely didn't feel streamlined to me. Main character Molly has two moms, a twin sister and a baby brother. She's very self-conscious about her weight. Her twin sister is suddenly head over heels in love and Molly feels abandoned. Then her moms start planning a big event that causes family drama, her twin tries to fix her up with a guy, her cousin Abby (Simon's Abby!) is also in love (with Nick!) etc. etc. For me it was a lot.
I did like the fact that certain aspects of the story were presented as just a part of regular life, without a lot of fanfare. Molly has a white mom and a black mom. One mom is bisexual and the other is a lesbian. Molly and her siblings are sperm donor babies. Her twin sister's new girlfriend is pansexual. Molly's on an SSRI. While I was happy that these things weren't made out to be Big Issues, I did sometimes wanted to know more.
Another big part of the story is Molly's feelings about her body and her fears of rejection by guys because of her weight. This part of the story felt fully developed and very poignant. On a related note, because everyone around her is paired up, Molly desperately wants to find someone. When her sister tries to set her up, she tries desperately to make it work. At the same time, she's drawn to her co-worker. (This wasn't triangle-y, but Molly did spend time with both guys trying to sort out her feelings.)
When Molly's romance finally got on course, I absolutely loved this book. Watching this too-cute-for-words couple inch slowly together was a delight. And Abby, Simon, and Nick make a guest appearance in the book!