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The Upside of Unrequited

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  50,856 ratings  ·  8,635 reviews
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 en
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 11th 2017 by Balzer + Bray
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  50,856 ratings  ·  8,635 reviews

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Emily May
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
I can’t decide if this is funny or sad, but I’ve spent so much time wanting a boyfriend that I can’t imagine not wanting one. I can imagine saying I don’t want one. But I can’t imagine it being true.

I'm really surprised to see so many positive reviews of The Upside of Unrequited from GR members who thought Holding Up the Universe was problematic. To me, this is more of the same. This might be the author who brought us the wonderful and hilarious Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, but these characters contained none of the
Adam Silvera
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have a fierce love for this book. Molly has such a winning voice and winning heart and yup, Becky remains one of my favorite authors ever. (Just reread as an audiobook and it's amazing!)
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, contemporary
I loooooved this! I found it to be so relatable and just amazing. Stayed tuned for a review/discussion to hear more thoughts!
Colleen Hoover
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I liked this book. It's been my bathroom book, if you know what I mean.
DO you know what I mean?
I mean, I keep it in my bathroom so when know...I read. I got so sucked into this story, though, that I was in my bathroom for five hours straight.
Now I can't feel my legs.
But it was worth it. Counting down the days until I get to watch Love, Simon because I also loved that book and can't wait for the movie. But I'm actually going to the theater to see that movie with my book club. I'm not
So...a 4.1 average rating. Heaps of praise-filled reviews. Fangirling galore. I should've liked this. What the hell went wrong?

I feel like I read a totally different book. I didn’t see a swoony romance, or a relatable character, or...much of anything really. What I did see was a very f*cked-up way of discussing feminism and other social issues, intolerable teens, and a boy fixation that refuses. To. Disappear.

So...a 4.1 average rating. Heaps of praise-filled reviews. Fangirling galore. I should've liked this. What the hell went wrong?

I feel like I read a totally different book. I didn’t see a swoony romance, or a relatable character, or...much of anything really. What I did see was a very f*cked-up way of discussing feminism and other social issues, intolerable teens, and a boy fixation that refuses. To. Disappear.

So let’s get into it. Unpopular opinion time!


So the main character of this book is named Molly. She’s boy-crazy, Pinterest-crazy, and the full on worst allllll the time forever. We are trapped in the cyclical complaining of her head for 300-plus pages.

Molly, despite having an astronomical number of quasi-crushes, has never been kissed, gone on a date, had a boyfriend, etc. Each and every one of those three hundred pages is dedicated to the absolute tragedy of this fact.

Everything is about Molly. Molly has two moms, and on the day gay marriage is ruled as legal in the U.S., her moms get engaged. Yay! That’s so great! I love that!

Molly loves it, too. For like, five freaking seconds before the whole day becomes about her. Here’s her dumb thought process: “There really is a dreaminess about today. Even our customers seem unusually coupled up. They’re all holding hands. It’s like a Valencia-filtered Noah’s ark.
“And it’s nice.
“Except...sometimes I feel like I’m the last alone person.”

NO. NO EXCEPT. IT’S JUST NICE. THAT’S IT. You don’t have to make it about you. Trust me, we haven’t forgotten your quest to have a boy validate you. You can stop talking about it constantly for a page and just bask in the fictional recreation of a step toward equality.

Among other things that Molly makes about her: Cassie’s first relationship, every interaction between Cassie and Mina, and every major and minor event in her friends’ lives. (I’m talking their relationships, their breakups, their flirtations, their sexual encounters. It never goddamn ends.)

She’s also uncomfortable alllll the time. Anytime anyone mentions relationships, crushes, kissing, sex, guys in general. And anytime she’s uncomfortable, she takes the opportunity to delve into her Boy Quest for twelve more pages. It’s so exhausting. God, this book was just not fun at all.

Ooh, and lest I forget: at one point, Molly blatantly uses a boy to make another boy jealous. And that’s never condemned. Cool! Let’s just treat people like emotionless objects! Speaking of which...

Molly has a twin. Her name is Cassie. They do not look anything alike, as Molly tells us frequently, but they are identical in levels of terribleness! Yay!

Cassie is very horrible. Because she is a total b*tch and Molly is a total doormat, Cassie frequently uses Molly to attain whatever goal she has. She uses Molly as a funny story to attempt to charm Mina, the girl she likes, while Molly is there. She decides to force Molly into a relationship with Mina’s friend Will, so she can still spend time with Molly without having to sacrifice any sexy time with her girlfriend. She continually embarrasses Molly in front of Will, by strongly implying she has a crush on him and, in one fun occurrence, telling a story about a thirteen-year-old Molly vomiting in public! Fun!

She’s also a bad sister and treats Molly like dirt. Even though they have a cheesy apology scene straight out of Full House, literally none of that is resolved. Cassie stays awful and so does Molly. Yay!

Mina is pretty flat. I’m supposed to think she is cool. I do not. Her friends, Max and Will, are total jerks. I am supposed to find Will charming or cute. I do not. This book is a snoozefest.

Reid is...fine. I wanted to like him more than I did. There’s nothing I love more than a nerdy male love interest, but he just...didn’t do it for me. This book spends so much goddamn time wrapped up in Molly’s whining that most other characters are so flat it’s unbelievable. Like, this book felt like it was a million pages long. You’re telling me you couldn’t find time between in-depth descriptions of Game of Thrones graphic tees and edible cookie dough to give a guy a trait?

But let’s talk more about the plot. Or lack thereof, I guess.


This section should probably just be blank, because there’s no plot I could discern. Nothing EVER HAPPENS. It’s just Molly whining about boys. Over. And over. And over again. If something happens, it’s filtered through the Boy Quest, and turns into fifty pages of crush analysis. Ughhhhhh.

I just hated being inside Molly’s head. She’s so boring. A bunch of times people called her funny, and those were the only instances I laughed at this book. She is not funny. She is a snoozefest personified. And I know that she loves to whine and pity herself - why else would she do just that instead of solving her problems by, I don’t know, talking to her sister or friend or crush? F*ck. I’m just so glad I’m done this book.


This book just...keeps trying really hard to hit the nail on the head with social issues and it just...can’t get there. It’s kind of upsetting, actually. But when I make sweeping claims, I’ll always hit y’all with that fresh evidence. Here’s the first I recorded, from page forty-five.

After a loooong, boring conversation in which Molly’s cousin Abby whines about whether she’s a slut or not after having sex with the boy with whom she’s in a committed relationship, Molly hits us with the following gag-worthy interpretation of what the word slut should mean in the face of feminism: “Here’s what I would never, ever admit out loud: a part of me always thought it was some kind of a secret compliment when someone got called a slut. It meant you were having sex. It meant people wanted to have sex with you. Being a slut just meant you were normal. But I think maybe I’m wrong about that. Maybe I’m so wrong.”

Ugh. See what I mean? The author is trying sooo hard. But she’s not even close! The feminist way to treat the word slut is to be against slut shaming. That’s it; it’s pretty simple. There are a million fun videos and TV episodes you can look into. But this passage essentially, like, validates slut shaming. Do what you want, ladies. Have sex or don’t, as much or as little as you want. Who flipping cares? It’s your life. (See, Albertalli? It’s not hard. Feminism is mostly about trying to free women from the restrictions on their lives. Do you understand how you’re solidifying one?)

Wanna know how else I figured that Albertalli doesn’t really ~get~ feminism? This: “But I spend a lot of time thinking about love and kissing and boyfriends and all the other stuff feminists aren’t supposed to care about. And I am a feminist. But I don’t know. I’m seventeen, and I just want to know what it feels like to kiss someone.”

YOU’RE ALLOWED TO BE A ROMANTIC AND STILL BE A FEMINIST. Again, like I said earlier! Feminism is about freeing up those restrictions! Feminism is about saying that women can be the stay-at-home mom, or the career woman, or a mix! Romantic or cynical or in-between! Ugh. Read an article or something. How do you not understand feminism as a woman in 2017? (Don’t answer that.)

Also, see the gay marriage thing from earlier. You’re already using a step for equality as a plot device; don’t make it worse.

There’s another thin line walked here. See, Molly is overweight. And like many YA girls, she’s a fat girl who doesn’t like her body. Well, she says once that she does. But she also says that while believing no boy could like her, thinking she’s incapable of having sex or looking good naked, and being incredibly susceptible to the criticisms of her grandmother.

But do you see how this could be problematic? Guess what happens concurrently? Did you guess? Yup. Molly gets validation from a boy, and at the same time, looks at herself and thinks she’s beautiful. Maybe those are unrelated. I hope they are. But it seems unlikely. And that’s messed up.

Ladiez, and gents, and everybody, you’re great whether or not a romantic partner is telling you that. Got it?


Something that really bothered me about this book was...totally pointless, but still. Molly always calls texts “missed texts.” Like, she’d check her phone fifteen seconds after it vibrated, and she’d be like, “I had a missed text.” No, you don’t. There’s no such thing as a missed text. Just reply to a text!

Maybe that has something to do with how each and every text conversation consisted of the other person responding instantly. NOT HOW IT WORKS.

Also, this book takes place in summer, and Molly’s always like, “I woke up at dawn.” Or, “Cassie woke me up early.” Sleep in! The f*ck?


Because of who I am as a person, I also have some really mundane things that filled me with just as much anger as the most terrible character ever could. And even though they make no sense, and it’s not the author’s fault, I still want to include them. Because I have no filter. So here we are.

Speaking of unpopular opinions, I flippin’ hate Lin Manuel Miranda. Every time his name is mentioned, I seize up in a cringe so debilitating I am paralyzed for the next seventeen seconds. He gives me secondhand embarrassment like I have never before experienced in my life. And the guy gets some serious name-dropping action in this book. So that was hard.

Unrelated, am I the only one who doesn’t like when an author’s books all exist in the same world and they forcefully have the characters encounter each other? It feels so strange and unnatural and bleh. Like, I’m fine if they are in the same town and mention the same places, but the second the guy who makes your pizza is the male love interest from two books ago, you’ve lost me. I’m not into it.

AND THE WORST SIN OF ALL: WHEN MOLLY IS TRYING TO THINK OF SONGS THAT “ALMOST RUINED MUSIC,” SHE PICKS AVRIL LAVIGNE’S CLASSIC HIT SK8ER BOI. What an IDIOT. That song is f*cking amazing. Music would have been ruined if she hadn’t graced us with the dulcet tones of that sweet, sweet tune.


The LGBT+ representation in this is really great. I counted three lesbians, a bisexual, and two (barely mentioned but still) gay couples. Yes, there are still, like, a bajillion straight people, but this book represents people from the LGBT+ community like people. Most YA books follow a gay person at its center, and often their journey is the plotline. Which is really important. But equally important is having supporting and background characters be gay. That everyday inclusion matters, too. So…

Bottom line: This is getting a bit extra for the representation. But I really hated everything else about this book so much.

Note, 8/12/17: It was pointed out to me that I didn't mention the positives of body type diversity in this review, which is absolutely a mistake on my part and one I am immediately attempting to amend. The lack of representation in mainstream media (in all its forms) of anyone overweight is horrifying, and I am sure it is impossible to exaggerate the good this book does by centering on a fat girl who is, at the very least, depicted positively and beautifully. This representation is certainly as rare and significant as the LGBT+ representation, and any failure to discuss the positive nature of this inclusion is an absolute error by me.
C.G. Drews
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
So two things:
(1) I'M SORRY I READ THIS SO EARLY. I'm honestly not here to brag or anything. #donthurtme But I know that if I don't review it now I will forget everything of ever and it will be embarrassing. SO. I'll keep this review spoiler-free (of course) and brief!
(2) It's hard not to compare it to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda! I shall try. I loved that book to freaking pieces and so I didn't love this one as much which is why it's just 4-stars. But I feel like it's in the shadow of it's Big Bro so. It is s/>(2)/>(1)
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
Ok, I'm ready to write a full review of this now. Maybe. So many good things to say, so little time.

Before I get into the quality of the book, let me just give you a breakdown of the diversity represented here because it was honestly incredible and this is the exact world that I want to see in YA contemporaries from now on.
-Pansexual (on page) side character who is also Korean-American
-Multiple lesbian side characters
-Bisexual side character
-Minor gay characte
Emma Giordano
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thank you so much, Harper Collins, for providing me with a free copy of this book to review!
4.5 stars! I really really enjoyed this read. I recently read Simon & LOVED it so I was super pumped to pick up Becky's next work *that comes out on my birthday.*

This was an unbelievably adorable, cute, funny, fluffy, give-you-all-the-feels kind of read. (So like, what you would normally expect from Becky) [But speaking of Becky's other books, I would definitely recommend reading [book:Simon
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
♥ My April Owlcrate ♥


I'm on the toilet at the 9:30 Club, and I'm wondering how mermaids pee.

This isn't random. There's a mermaid Barbie attached to the door of the bathroom here. Which is a pretty odd choice for a bathroom mascot. If that's even a thing. Bathroom mascots.

This book had me at those first few lines and yes I'm weird and NO, I don't care. I loved this book so muchclass="gr-hostedUserImg">
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I AM MUSH, PEOPLE! FUCKIN' MUSH! This book has made me flail with excitement several times. I LOVED IT SO MUCH! I don't think I'm going to review this book. What are reviews anyway?! Who decides they have to be coherent and whatnot? My overexcitement alone shows how perfect every single page was for me and how much I loved it. AND SO I WANT TO THROW THIS BOOK AT EVERYONE SO THEY CAN READ IT AND DIE OF CUTENESS AND HAPPINESS!


Trina (Between Chapters)
Absolutely amazing. A new all time favorite.

It means so much to me to see a character who looks and thinks like myself (she's fat and has anxiety, both of which are own voices representation) in a romance story because I 100% WAS Molly at 17, pining over unrequited crushes and feeling so much insecurity about pursuing them.

Aside from Molly being one of the most relateable characters I've ever read, the rest of the story held up. There are so many important discussions abo
Let's teach people that the only way to achieve high self esteem is by boys liking you back!

Yeah, how about no.

I don't think this author and I are a match. I'm not sure I will enjoy her books. I was so frustrated by the fact Molly was basically basing her self worth on her friends attempts to get her a boyfriend it overshadowed the rest of the plot.

Not only that, but I felt this book was incredibly childish. I didn't enjoy the writing and felt myself cringing at the writing, especially t
Dec 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Sex and relationships are important subjects. Teen boys and girls are especially curious about them. How does it work? How does one get a boyfriend or girlfriend? When is the right time for those two things?

Molly Peskin wants to fall in love with someone and for that person to fall in love with her back very badly, but she’s scared. Her sister doesn’t seem to be daunted by anything; she even got herself a really cute girlfriend in a short amount of time.

Becky Albertalli d
Larry H
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

Becky Albertalli, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

I fell in complete and utter love with Albertalli's first book, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (see my original review). I devoured it in less than a day, and it was a no-brainer that the book showed up on my list of the best books I read in 2015.

As you might
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Re-read 4/24/18: Still think this was mega cute, still love me a great fat main character. Also: WOW I forgot how cute Reid is. Have mercy. This was adorable. I’m SO excited for Leah’s book now!!

Original read 4/25/17: This book was mega cute. Not as good as Simon in my opinion, but still so good. And it was amazingly refreshing to read a book about a fat girl that actually accurately represents what it's like to be a fat girl and I AM SO ABOUT IT. So great.
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer, 2018
“I want to know what it feels like to have crushes that could conceivably maybe one day turn into boyfriends.”

This was once again a very honest and real story by Becky Albertalli. The reason why books like Becky's resonate so much with teenagers and young adults is because in them we feel understood. We are represented. Our feelings and thoughts are valid. We see ourselves in these characters, in their struggles and in their dreams.

I also love that Becky talks this openly about sex. And
2.75/5 stars

I don’t entirely understand how anyone gets a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. It just seems like the most impossible odds. You have to have a crush on the exact right person at the exact right moment. And they have to like you back. A perfect alignment of feelings and circumstances. It’s almost unfathomable that it happens as often as it does.

I think there should be a law in place that bans terrible books, especially when they are a follow up to an incredible debut. Simon vs. the Homo/>
Caz (littlebookowl)
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, audiobook
4.5 stars

This. Was. SO. Cute.
There were tears of joy, such a delightful read!
Whitney Atkinson
This started out so promising, but it just wasn't for me. i thought i would be able to relate to it because fat mc with anxiety, but our personalities and insecurities were completely different and i found i actually really didn't see myself in molly at all. the biggest problem, i think, is that this is a book i wish i'd read 5-6 years ago. now, i'm beyond the part of my life where i'm self-conscious and awkward, so it did nothing for me to read about that.

i wasn’t a fan of the repet
Pouting Always
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
During a night out with her twin Cassie, Molly meets a girl in the bathroom who she instantly knows is Cassie's dream girl. The girl from the bathroom, Mina, and Cassie hit it off and Cassie manages to get Mina's number that night. Molly is happy for her sister but at the same time Cassie's new relationship begins to make her think about her own lack of a love life and the growing distance between her and Cassie. Molly is used to being the closest person to Cassie and has a hard time learning to ...more
Natalie Monroe
4.5 stars

"If I like a guy, I'm supposed to tell him. Maybe in Cassie's world, you can do that and have it end in making out. But I'm not so sure it works that way for fat girls."

So this review is going to be a little personal. By that, I mean I'm going to ramble and waste ten minutes of your time, depending on how fast you read. Free feel to grab a bagel.

When I was sixteen, the standard YA age, I was a painfully introverted kid. Not the fun John Green kind, but the really sad kind that makes you feel awkward when theystars
Ashley Nuckles
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this one but definitely enjoyed Simon v. more! :)
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
3 Stars

”I mean, here’s the thing I don’t get. How do people come to expect that their crushes will be reciprocated? Like, how does that get to be your default assumption?”

I’ve officially three-starred every Becky Albertalli book and no one is more disappointed than me. Because here’s the thing— Albertalli really and truly understands being a teenager. She gets the dark/silly humor. She gets texting conversations. She gets the awkwardness and she gets the uncertainty and anxiety that can come with trying to decide who you are and what you
Raeleen Lemay
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia, young-adult
Read for Popsugar's 2018 Reading Challenge #22: A Book with Alliteration in the Title

Normally I would rate this 3 stars (it was pretty juvenile) but I just really appreciate how much diversity and love/acceptance this book holds. I also really enjoyed (and was pleasantly surprised by) all of the cameos from Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and it was perfect timing to read this right after I finished re-reading that book.

All in all, a fun read!
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was so cute omg
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: YA Fans
This book was cute - it was exactly what I expect from YA and that is perfect!

While there is some LGBT theme in it like the authors last book, it is more of an accompanying theme, not the theme that drives the story. This book is more about body image and confidence. Our heroine, Molly, deals with being an overweight teenager and self-sabotaging herself because she is always assuming the worst. Also, because of her insecurities there is a lot of storyline based around how someone in
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm crying because that ending was so beautiful????

Alright this book. I went in with really really high expectations and expecting that it would be a book of my HEART and I would relate a lot to the main character because of similar situations. And I did relate! Just not a lot. Or as much as I had hoped. Probably some of my disappointment (very minor disappointment!) comes from setting too high of expectations. BUT ON WITH THINGS I LOVED.

The diversity in this book was A++
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it

Oh the adorableness! Such a cute, diverse read! I can see why so many people love this book! It's so adorable and super diverse and the main character is so relatable!!
This is a perfect summer read!
I did dock off half a star because so much cussing which honestly is just a personal preference and I did find the writing to be a tad to simplistic.
Other than that I seriously loved this book!
Korrina  (OwlCrate)
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Adored this even more the second time. I can't wait for the world to meet Molly. I've never connected with a character this strongly before. This was me in highschool!
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Becky Albertalli is the author of the acclaimed novels Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (film: Love, Simon), The Upside of Unrequited, and Leah on the Offbeat. She is also the co-author of What If It's Us with Adam Silvera. A former clinical psychologist who specialized in working with children and teens, Becky lives with her family in Atlanta. You can visit her online at
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“I don’t entirely understand how anyone gets a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. It just seems like the most impossible odds. You have to have a crush on the exact right person at the exact right moment. And they have to like you back. A perfect alignment of feelings and circumstances. It’s almost unfathomable that it happens as often as it does.” 203 likes
“Because I have to admit: there's something really badass about truly, honestly not caring what people think about you.” 171 likes
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