Summary: Seventeen-year old Molly knows about unrequited love: she’s had 26 crushes in her life and none of them have formed into relationships. While her sister, Cassie, tells her to go for it and even face rejection, Molly feels that she has to be careful. Meanwhile, Cassie has become completely lovesick for the first time ever, and her new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick, Will. Will seems to be the perfect crush material, and Cassie and Molly have always talked about dating best friends, right? So why does Molly keep thinking about her Tolkien-loving coworker, Reid?
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
I read The Upside of Unrequited in less than 2 days (and yes, I made sure all of my homework was done), and let me tell you it is the perfect binge/weekend read because you will not want to part with it. I admit that I loved this book even more than Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda because MOLLY WAS JUST SO FREAKING RELATABLE (NOT TO MENTION THAT REID IS NOW THE MOST RECENT MEMBER OF MY BOOK BOYFRIEND SQUAD). But for my Simon lovers (who I of course love as well), there are so many Simon character cameos!
Let’s first talk about our main character, Molly, who has quickly become one of my favorite female protagonists in YA. I feel like she is a really relatable character for readers who may have not been in a relationship before, and even though I have dated before, I could really relate to Molly’s anxiety over forming relationships. Another favorite aspect? Molly is not skinny. While her grandma gives her some problems about it, Molly is plus-size and for the most part, she embraces it and I love her sense of style—dresses and tights forever please! Additionally, Molly influenced me to rediscover my love for Pinterest (can we have a sequel set a few years in the future featuring Molly as an interior designer or wedding planner?). With her love for design and baking (!!!), she really reminded me of Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before—I hope this is enough to get you running to the bookstore or the library.
The Upside of Unrequited has a phenomenal, diverse cast: for example, Molly and Cassie have two mothers, Cassie is queer, Mina is Korean-American and pansexual, and Molly’s town seems to really embrace the LGBTQ community. The best part? This diversity didn’t feel forced at all, it just felt so natural! There’s no ‘omg you’re gay’ or ‘omg you have two moms’ moment. I loved Molly’s family, and I discovered one of my new all-time favorite book quotes in a big family moment:
“ “I get this hot chocolate feeling in my stomach – cozy and content. I love this day and I love this job”” (89).
I was rooting for Reid from the moment that we meet him in Bissel-why can’t I have a job in this store? C’mon guys, he loves Mini Cadbury eggs, he cares about his shoes, he’s an insanely hilarious texter, and he has such a caring, nerdy heart! My heart squealed to no end when he insists on bringing Molly to the grocery store to get the best ingredients for her edible cookie dough. What else do you need in a guy?? I also liked that him and Molly were on the same level, in the sense that they both on the same page about the speed of their relationship and what they were each comfortable with.
And while I loved The Upside Down of Unrequited’s cast of characters, there was one particular character who drove Molly and I up a wall: Cassie. I understand that Molly begins to realize that her and Cassie may not always be super close, and I guess someone had to play the antagonist, BUT CASSIE WAS SO FRUSTRATING. I liked Cassie for her ballsy personality and her closeness with Molly, but I disliked how she tended to put the blame on Molly when they argued (which Molly thankfully recognized) and how she didn’t see the nonexistent chemistry between Will and Molly. I just found her to be really selfish at times, but like I said, this was probably on purpose to show how siblings may grow apart, and yes, Cassie does recognize her faults. HOWEVER, there is just one line from Cassie that I cannot let go (I care about Molly too much, okay??):
“ “You know I’d never laugh at you about Mina, right?”
“No, I know. It’s just.” She shuts her eyes. “Like, I don’t know how to say this without sounding like a dick, but, like, maybe it’s one of those things you’re not going to understand until you get a boyfriend.”” (124)
LET IT GO, HALEY, LET IT GO.
Overall, The Upside Down of Unrequited is a cozy read with a super diverse and heartfelt cast, growing up, and plenty of love. I cannot wait until Leaf on the Offbeat comes out this April (please let there be a Molly & Reid cameo, please let there be a Molly & Reid cameo).
Have you read The Upside Down of Unrequited? HOW EXCITED ARE YOU FOR LOVE, SIMON TO COME OUT IN MARCH? Share in the comments!