The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I hate to be the next person who goes and says that their rating of a book is something-point-five stars because for some reason, those never sit well with me. But really, my assessment of this book is a 3.5, because I really can't decide whether it merits three or four more. But because I'm a nice guy, I'll round up to four.
I think my expectations for this book were a little lower than for most other readers because I never bought into the Simon Vs. hype machine. I liked that book but didn't love it, even though Simon Spier (or as I still like to call him for some reason, Simon Spider) was nothing short of lovable and relatable. Molly Peskin-Suso, I found her relatable in a bit of a different way. Nobody would call me "fat," but I'm just overweight enough that I'm a little more self-conscious about it than I should be. Molly, naturally, has a lot of that same self-consciousness, especially when her surprisingly fatphobic grandma pays the family a visit. But her real issue in this story isn't so much about her weight as much as it's about her nonexistent love life - now that is what I relate to the most.
YA contemporary tends to really not be my thing, or it's absolutely my thing, or it falls squarely in the middle. This book falls in the middle range between the latter two. It's classic Becky Albertalli, overall very lighthearted but running a surprisingly broad emotional spectrum, and so loaded with diverse characters (who are much more memorable than a lot of Simon Vs.' supporting cast, which was my main issue with that book) that just about everyone's gonna find someone to represent them, whether they're supporting cast or main. (Bonus points for Simon making some damn good cameo appearances, including that one "Gryffinpuff" line on his and Abby's Skype call with Molly.) And as for Molly's love life, well, you'd think you know how it goes, but Albertalli has some serious surprises up her sleeve.
So, now it's time to wait for Albertalli's next book, Leah on the Offbeat. Man, where does she come up with those titles?
(Also, as lighthearted as this book is, I gotta admit, it's super fun to balance it out, like the colors of a classic Oreo, with the Orphan Black premiere playing in front of me as I type this review. Just sayin'.)
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