The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (Balzer & Bray / HarperTeen / Penguin, 2017)
Synopsis: 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.
Review: 49 / 100
Story : 15 / 25 Eh, I don't really know where to begin with this because it didn't really go anywhere? Sure, there is the romance storyline which is one of the reasons that people will pick this up, but other than that – there seems to be nothing there. The novel tries to comment more on the issue of gay relationships, but I felt her first novel seemed to do it better. The main storyline with the characters in this was fine, but I cannot help but compare it too Simon. I was really looking forward to the novel, but there really wasn't that layer of mystery that made Simon so interesting and investing. I did like the main story with two who ended up together, but the rest of the novel seemed to drag on the heels of that and I found myself wanting to skip the sections that didn't have that main storyline between characters I could really get attached to.
Writing : 6 / 25 The writing of this is the thing that really really bothered me. The book tries so hard to be PC that it almost makes it unenjoyable to read. The novel tried too hard to be safe and I think it really showed. Everything that might have been funny was labeled as "problematic" and dismissed. I know that there are people who love that type of stuff, but I just felt that it was just so unsubtle, that it almost seemed revised to be that way. The first novel was really funny (from what I remember), but I think the times have been hard on the writing of the book. Not everything is problematic, so I wish people would stop labeling it as that. Sure, some stuff might have been out of line, but that is what makes things funny. Comedy crosses lines... this stayed as far away from that line as possible and that kind of makes me sad that there wasn't any risks taken.
Characters : 10 / 20 I really liked the cross-over of the two novels and seeing two characters that I was familiar with, but I was only happy to see them because I felt like I was thrown into a story with a bunch of strangers. I did really get know Molly towards the end of the novel, but I cannot say the same about the development of the other characters in the novel, especially Cassie. Sure, she was there and not the main character that the novel followed around, but I still feel like she faded into the background in the middle portions of the novel and I really just did not care about her character or anything that would happen to her. Mina and her friends were the same to me, as well as the family. They all seemed to fade away and only came in to move the plot (or lack thereof) along.
Depth : 5 / 15 This is exactly like you would expect it to be. There is really no depth here, even though the author really tried to with the sexuality points. Although I do have to acknowledge the way that Ms. Albertalli treats the concepts of teen sexuality, drinking, and partying. I felt that was really refreshing and added a lot into making me think why other teen novels don't really tread this terrirtory. I commend the novel on that point because I really haven't seen the YA genre move in that direction.
Quotability : 8 / 10
Engagement : 5 / 5 I am not sure if everyone will feel the same way, but I am from the DC area and I loved to see locations that I know, have been to, and am familiar with.