Angela's Reviews > The Upside of Unrequited

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
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it was amazing
bookshelves: young-adult, fiction

Becky Albertalli is my new Young Adult spirit animal. After finishing Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in nearly one sitting, I knew I'd have to seek this one out as soon as it was published. (Okay, so I was a bit late on that...)

In spite of twenty-six secret crushes, 17-year-old Molly has never so much as held hands with a boy, a fact thrown into sharp relief by her sister and a few other close friends who all seem to be moving right along the flirting-dating-relationship curve. This summer she finds herself in the throes of two distinctly different new crushes while her friends navigate relationship challenges of their own.

There are so many things I love about Albertalli's style of YA stories. They feel really real, in terms of the characters, the issues they have to navigate, and how they talk and interact. The author pulls no punches in these areas and those looking for "good, clean, wholesome" YA (read: completely unrealistic & sanitized) should look elsewhere. But, her books are also realistic in the sense that they aren't melodrama, and aren't characterized by OMG the worst possible things that can happen to teens. Yes, there are tough (and sometimes cringe-worthy) situations and conversations, but they're also hilarious, light, and soul-filling. And ultimately, the takeaways are ideas of substance that are important for teens (and adults!) to engage with--You matter; You deserve to be treated well; You don't have to be like everyone else; Rejection is not the end of the world; You can disagree with people and still love them; Good friends are worth their weight in gold; Wonderful families come in all shapes and sizes.

Finally, like Simon, no review of Upside could be complete without a word of appreciation for its inclusiveness. Molly is fat. She has two lesbian moms and a lesbian sister with a lesbian crush. There are prominent people of color who are not stereotypes. And all of this is presented as normal, not plot points.

So yeah; if you're looking for lovely, authentic, inclusive, light but not sterilized YA, Albertalli is your gal.
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Reading Progress

February 18, 2017 – Shelved
February 18, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
November 29, 2017 – Started Reading
Finished Reading
December 27, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult
December 27, 2017 – Shelved as: fiction

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