Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
The Upside of Unrequited is a new novel by Becky Albertalli. The novel is about Molly and her twin sister, Cassie. Molly is a self-proclaimed fat nerd and her sister is a thin, cool lesbian. While Cassie is more of a go-with-the-flow person in relationships, all Molly every thinks about is getting a boyfriend. Suddenly, a new girl enters their life and Cassie is smitten. Molly has to deal with growing apart from her sister while suddenly having two new crushes. The novel explores ideas of unrequited love as a teenager, as well as finding the first boyfriend/girlfriend.
This novel is set right as gay marriage was legalized. Albertalli was very eloquent in expressing the joy many people felt because of this change. Molly and Cassie's mothers decide to get married because of the law. While this was well handled, Albertalli did not show teen life as accurately as she could have. Molly's only thoughts are about getting a boyfriend, and she doesn't seem to think about much else. While the story is set on summer break, there is very little mention of school or applying to colleges. The only thing that matters to the teens in this story is their social lives. The overall thought processes of the characters read more mature, as if these teens are actually in their twenties. The book is written well and Albertalli's sentence structure and plot set-up are well crafted.
*Contains severe language, discussion of teen sex, and underage drinking.