Finally! A Fat Girl in YA Written Without Stereotypes: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Finally! A Fat Girl in YA Written Without Stereotypes: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky AlbertalliThe Upside of Unrequited
by Becky Albertalli
Release Date: January 1st 1970
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Format: eARC
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Source: ARC received for review purposes

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. 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 enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly's totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie's new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she'll get her first kiss and she'll get her twin back.

There's only one problem: Molly's coworker, Reid. He's a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there's absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is one of my favorite books of all time. I was nervous about reading The Upside of Unrequited since it has some big shoes to fill after the brilliance of Simon. While I can’t say that this one is better than Simon, I can most definitely say that Albertalli has written yet another very real, sweet and touching story.

There’s lots going on in The Upside of Unrequited, and there’s especially lots to like, but where the author really shines at is her characterizations. YA contemporaries are typically character-driven books, so when I go in, I expect the characters to be the focal part, and that is exactly what I got here. Molly was refreshing as a protagonist. She’s fat, she’s flawed and she’s just so relatable. I saw a lot of my teen self in her and her hopes and sorrows, and I think she’s the sort of character who will speak to a lot of teens. We’ve all been Molly at one point or another with our unrequited crushes! There’s something absolutely positive about her attitude and while she makes some bumpy mistakes here and there, she really learns to grow and become comfortable with herself. As I mentioned, Molly is fat and what I liked best about that was how the author does not make that the focus of her personality. She was crafty, friendly and just an all-around genuine girl, so definitely not the stereotype you see associated with fat girls in most YA.

Though The Upside of Unrequited was told through Molly’s voice, its secondary characters also featured as heavily as Molly throughout the book. I particularly loved Molly’s twin sister, Cassie, and their sibling relationship. They are close with one another, and I loved the scenes of them confiding in each other, and just generally being supportive of each other. It was sweet and reminded me a lot of my own relationship with my sister. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however. You start to see a bit of a strain in their relationship as Cassie finds love, which I thought was another realistic aspect of the book. I also really loved Molly’s moms, who were funny, and all-around awesome parents. Molly’s relationship with her mothers made my heart so happy. I absolutely love seeing parents featuring heavily in books, and Molly’s moms were definitely involved in most aspects of her life.

I initially thought the romance in The Upside of Unrequited would be a little bit triangley, but it’s very obvious who steals Molly’s heart from the start. Honestly, I’d say the only reason she even interacted with the other guy, was because of Cassie playing matchmaker. From their first meeting, Reid and Molly’s connection was obvious. They were both a little awkward, but so cute together. Reid was a total sweetheart of a dork, and I loved all the scenes between him and Molly, especially once they got together as a couple! I wanted more!

The Upside of Unrequited is a great sophomore novel for Becky Albertalli. It’s a sweet and charming story that spotlights growing up, friendship and family. This is a book you need in your TBR!

Have you read either of Becky Albertalli’s books?
Let me know in the comments below!

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