Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Posted May 10, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 23 Comments

Warning: This is unpopular opinion review post. It is okay for you to love this book as it is okay for me to hate it. If you feel like this review might offend you, you don’t have to read it. If you want to know why I gave this book the rating I did and can handle it, you can read the review below.

Review:  The Upside of Unrequited by Becky AlbertalliThe Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Series: standalone
Published by Balzer & Bray/Harperteen on April 11th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 1.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because 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. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And 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 an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Okay, now that we got that out of the way on to the review.

I’m putting it out there. I never read Simon. I do know it’s a beloved book for many, many people. I didn’t read Albertalli because of the hype. I read the book because I had an eARC and okay, maybe I was curious what the fuss is about.

This book is about Molly a self-proclaimed “fat girl”, her 27 unrequited crushes, a stupid “love-triangle” and Molly’s fixation about being the only person on the planet left without a boyfriend.

This was suppose to be a cute, fluffy, contemporary, feel good romances and I never felt cute or fluffy reading this.

The amount of body issues in this book, was overwhelming. The sister hate in this book, was overwhelming. The need to validate who you are through relationships, was overwhelming.

Maybe in Cassie’s world, you can do that and have it end in making out. But I’n not sure it works that way for fat girls. I don’t know I just like to be careful about this stuff.

Really, I could just let the quotes speak for themselves here.

Because if Mina thinks Olivia’s body is noticeably curvy, I’d like to know what she thinks about mine. No. Actually, I would not like to know.

She is letting her weight rule her, her need for a relationship rule her. To the point where she needs it to validate who she is as a person and feel better about herself, more confident.

She had twenty six? Twenty seven? Unrequited crushes? But Molly is 17 now, it’s summer, she has a job and somehow ends up with possibility of two different boys suddenly being an option. One is a skinny hipster named Will (aren’t hipsters in their 20’s, 30’s?) the other is a “husky” geeky co-worker named Reid. These people, where the most generic characters ever. Cause apparently, when you see geek, Reid had to be a total package. It’s like she looked up what geeks liked and combined it all together, Tolkien, Game of Thrones, World of Warcraft, Ran-Fair. I was like, cue some serious eye roll.

Guess who Molly ends up with?

Can we just mention a quick fact that Reid is just there? And has like no freaking character development whatsoever? Especially when he plays such a major role in this book.

The book felt stale, forced, boring, and it went nowhere. The entire time it was Molly whines about her weight and being the only person who doesn’t have a boyfriend. Am I repetition that? Well, that’s okay because the book itself, was super repetitive.

If it is a glance about me, I will die. We are amused by the sad chubby girl who is clearly enchanted by our hipster beauty.

And like there was so much diversity in this book (again, felt generic. It’s like, oh what will make people praise this book.) I did not understand how can everyone be so accepting about the sex in this book, but not the person’s weight? Like her grandma was so rude and downright mean about it and then she goes to a party, where apparently another kid mentions her weight.

This book put me in the dark place. It made me feel shitty about my own body. Like when Mina says that Reid is not the kind of person you have sex with, but a type of person you marry. Like … what… the ef? Did I connect with the book? Somewhat, I guess. Not in a good way. It brought back really shitty memories. I don’t think I’m fat. I might be a little overweight. But what is considered fat these days? Because by media standard anyone above size 1.

And then this happens

Here’s what I would never, ever admit out loud: a part of me always thought it was some kind of a secret compliment when someone got called a slut. It meant you were having sex. Which meant people wanted to have sex with you. Being a slut just meant you were normal.

Really, like what did I just read? Are you kidding me?

These kids didn’t read like 17 year old’s. I felt like they were 15 based on their behavior alone so when Molly’s age got mentioned I was a little baffled. Dude, you are not mature enough to have sex. Get your stuff straight first.

Why was having a relationship ruling her life so much? Like it felt like Molly had no personality in this book. I get she is crafty and likes pinterest. But what are her aspirations? Like, why is having a boyfriend in high school so damn important? Like it’s a small blip in your life and most relationships don’t last past that when you go your separate ways to colleges and discover yourself as an adult.

Why did this book focus on her body issues? I was surprised that the author works with teenagers and has a degree in psychology. Because if she was writing a book to make it feel like they can relate in a good way, she should have stuck with maybe avoiding body issues and body shaming in her book? It felt overwhelming and did she even realize that it can trigger some bad memories for these teens?

I myself spoke to teenagers about body issues in books and although some would love the MC to be curvy, they don’t like being constantly reminded how others treat them because of it, and the dark thoughts they might have because of that.They would much rather the focus was on the personality of the individual and let that rule who they are. I found I can relate to that way of thinking. I don’t like being reminded of this kind of crap in books. I read them to escape that’s why it’s called FICTION. This book just made me feel so shitty about myself.

Also, the sister relationship between Cassie and Molly was horrible. Cassie was so god damn horrible to Molly it just wasn’t even funny. Even in the end, the nastiness was unnecessary. But like, things smoothed out just because Molly finally had a boyfriend.

Oh, and get this.

Molly feels better about herself when she get’s a boyfriend. All the sudden, she sees herself as a beautiful girl.

So… You need a boyfriend to feel better about your body? Really?


This review

Is choppy and it sucks, but I just…

I did not understand the love this book received. I guess I felt like, if the author’s first book is a hit that she can do no wrong.

Also, the description of images and WHAT’S WITH ALL THE CAPS at the time was just blatantly annoying. Also, Molly’s raging anger towards Olivia was making my head spin. Also, I never felt there was enough positive about body image to combat all the negative.

I will never recommend this book to teenagers , especially those already suffering from body issues.

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23 responses to “Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

  1. I’m sorry you didn’t like this one. I did but I liked Simon more. I’m often the odd person out when it comes to hyped books so even though I felt differently, it’s good to see other opinions out there to help readers decide. I know I hate when I’m the only person who doesn’t like a book everyone loves.

    For What It’s Worth

  2. This was an awesome review. I am glad I read it and that you explained all the issues you had with it. I know I have been in your shoes when I have read a book that others just loved and I thought it sucked. I would hate all the negativity and stale characters too.

  3. I was afraid I would feel the same as you did and I have yet to pick this one up. I still may just to see what all the fuss is about. 🙂 I think you were spot on with what you didn’t like and I love getting differing opinions. I didn’t think you needed to warn before your review. You are entitled to not like it but I admit, your warning made me more curious. 🙂

  4. I put down a YA book last year where a female high school student was very hung up on her appearance and how that tied to having friends and a boyfriend. I know teens can get really hung up on these things, but when a character just wallows in those thoughts and never seems to grow and move on to a healthy and positive sense of self, I don’t enjoy it either.

  5. Sorry to hear that you didn’t love this one. I didn’t read your reason why because I haven’t read it yet and I want to be surprised, but when I do get to read it I want to come out and check out the points you made. lol! I hope you enjoy your next read much better!

  6. Sorry to see this was a total miss for you, Lily. Great example that not every book is for every person. What works for one may not work for another. (It’s a shame you had to start your review with a disclaimer but I get it. People can get so bent out of shape when reading criticism of a book they loved!) Anyway, I really enjoyed this one and in same ways related to Molly. Particularly the body image issues. For good or for bad, as a teenager I think I was every bit as concerned and ruled by my feelings about my weight. A good way to be? No. But I understood and could relate. And the sister relationship… oh boy. Yeah, Cassie could be cruel and hateful (and there were times I really couldn’t stand her) but, again, I related. My younger sister and I went through horrible arguments and said such cruel things as teenagers. To be honest, the stuff with Cassie added a measure of realism to me. I can understand your feelings about the overdose of diversity. At times I had the same thought – like it was a game to see how much diversity could be packed into one story. Anyway, sorry again that this one didn’t do it for you. Even though we have differing opinions on much of it, I really enjoyed reading your perspective, Lily! Great, honest review!

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

  7. 27 crushes by 17? Wow… that’s a lot of crushes lol. Seriously though sorry this one didn’t work out. I’ve seen both good and bad reviews for this, and frankly I don’t think this one would work for me either. That slut quote and the body issue stuff just does not seem… helpful to those having issues with that. Great review and thanks for sharing your thoughts, it’s good to see another prspective.

  8. I’ve read a lot of really positive reviews for this book (including some from people who have suffered with body issues themselves), so I was curious to see another perspective. It’s always interesting to me how the same book can affect people so differently. I plan to read this one, but I’m not sure where I’ll land on this spectrum—I’m cautiously optimistic that I’m going to like it, but I could definitely see some of your issues bothering me. We shall see!

  9. Gahhhh, we adore you — we love that warning at the top. This review is wonderful! All your points are extremely valid; and even though Mckenzie had good luck with Simon, we will not be reading this one. We definitely agree about books that focus so much on the characters’ appearances and insecurities — especially when they try to use relationships as a solution for them. No, thank you. Awesome review, Lily! We very much appreciate the heads-up.

  10. Oh hon, I’ve generally seen good reviews about this, but I can understand your review after seeing those quotes. It’s quite depressing.

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