This is a spoiler free review! Thank you to Penguin teen for sending me a copy! This has in no way effected my review.
In the Upside of Unrequited we follow Molly, the slightly nerdier and slightly heavier twin to her sister Cassie. Also straighter: Cassie is gay. And on the look out for a girlfriend. This is how the story begins, with Molly in a club bathroom talking to a cool Asian girl with an even cooler t-shirt and introducing her to Cassie, which unwittingly starts a series of events that Molly could never have predicted.
Cassie and Molly have always been the closest of twins, but now that Cassie has a girlfriend Molly is seeing less and less of her. And worse, she’s started to say things like ‘you won’t understand until you have a boyfriend’, which Cassie knows is a sore spot for Molly. You see Molly has had a lot of crushes, twenty six to be exact, and she’s been out with zero of them.
Not that this is going to stop Cassie and her new girlfriend Mina from trying to set her up with Hipster Will, one of Mina’s friends. Will is cool and suave and even seems to like Molly, but then suddenly there’s Reid- the nerdy, slightly chubby guy from work and Molly doesn’t know what to think anymore.
The Upside of Unrequited is an ode to the modern family, Molly is biracial, Jewish and she has two mothers. The sheer amount of diversity in this book made my heart soar, THIS is a real family that exists somewhere out there- gay, biracial and chubby characters all in one book! I’ve noticed recently that we get a lot of books with one gay character, one chubby character, one PoC character but these qualities are so rarely combined in to one character- which is insane because in reality we are so much more complicated then one or two labels!
It’s also a bit of a time capsule. Without spoiling too much in one scene Molly and Cassie find out gay marriage has been legalised, and then much later that night Molly and her mum go on a impromptu road trip to see the White House all lit up in rainbow colours. Even thinking about it now is making me teary eyed- this legalisation means so much to Molly’s family (just like it did to millions of people in the US) and I’m so glad this moment of complete joy has been captured in this book.
I did have a bit of a disconnect to some aspects of the book, I didn’t feel too much emotion over Molly and Cassie’s relationship and at the start I had trouble keeping track of names (I got the hang of it after a while though). I loved the romance, but it didn’t quite make it to Simon vs the Homo Saipan’s Agenda levels of butterflies, which is a shame. I’m so looking forward to seeing what Albertalli does next!
I’m giving the Upside of Unrequited 3.5 ice creams out of 5. I had a lot of fun, but it was slow to start and I felt it didn’t quite make me feel all the intended feels.
The Upside of Unrequited is released on April 11th.