“I don’t entirely understand how anyone gets a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. It just seems like the most impossible odds. A perfect alignment of feelings and circumstances.
Molly Pekin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly is always careful. Better to be careful than be hurt.
But when Cassie gets a new girlfriend who comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick, everything changes. Will is funny, flirtatious and basically the perfect first boyfriend.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s co-worker, Reid, the award Tolkien superfan she could never fall for . . . right?”
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At the age of 24, I shouldn’t feel so strongly about this book. I’ll admit, I don’t specifically remember having these thoughts at the age of 17. But did I at times and don’t remember them? Do these feelings ever really go away completely?
During the events of The Upside of Unrequited we follow Molly Pekin-Suso. A seventeen year old, overweight, young Jewish girl with a twin sister and twenty-seven unrequited crushes.
This story takes place around the time the USA legalised gay marriage. We watch as the Suso-Pekin family find out after a few chapters. This means that we’ve seen this wonderful family dynamic Becky Albertalli portrays, and so we are equally as thrilled when Molly and Cassie’s parents, Nadine and Patty, reveal that they’re engaged and plan to marry that summer.
While this is a prominent feature throughout, Molly has her own ups and downs to contend with, including: Insecurities regarding her weight, fear of losing that special connection with her sister, her anxiety and so much more.
An aspect I did not enjoy were the hints of a love triangle. It’s on the back of the book so you see it coming but, for some reason, love triangles make me cringe.
Something else, the back of the book really plays up Will however, it’s only near the end I could truly formulate thoughts about his character. Throughout most of the plot he was there, he was mentioned and while he was shown as a somewhat decent guy, I didn’t have many thoughts beyond that.
There were times I could relate to Molly however, there were instances where she lost me. For example, the point when she thought her friend Olivia liked the guy that she liked. I was probably around the age of 18 when this happened to me (so one year older than Molly) however, not once did I think ill of my friend. My friend and the guy dated for a while and have been broken up even longer. To this day, she is still one of my best friends.
I’ve seen some comments which say that this book portrays the idea that, girls need a boyfriend to be happy. I can see where they’re coming from, this book is a bit relationship-crazy however, in the end we do see a character who genuinely wants to be single and steer clear of relationships for a while. Another character literally says the words ‘Of course you don’t need a boyfriend, but it’s OK to want one’ and I think that’s the point.
We can tell young girls until we’re blue in the face “You don’t need a boyfriend to be happy!”, and absolutely that is 100% true. However, there are some who will feel hurt or left out. They will feel the way that Molly felt regardless. So perhaps the message that this book sends is that, they are not alone and that it is completely normal to have those feelings. There’s nothing wrong with them. They can be a feminist and want to find love. Or they can be a feminist and want to remain single. Your relationship status, or feelings about your relationship status, do not define your stance on feminism.
This book was like a tight, warm hug for your heart. There were parts which made me cringe and roll my eyes, but it made me feel. It left a lasting impression on me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.