Tuesday, May 2, 2017

the upside of unrequited: stardust reviews

The Upside of Unrequited
Becky Albertalli



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.


full review under the cut!

 If you've known me at all in the past two years, via this blog or goodreads or whatever, then you'll probably know that i am obsessed with Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. I've read it three times, I've hungrily followed movie news about it, and all around it is just one of my favorite books to revisit and talk about. SO when Becky Albertalli's second book, this beauty right here, came out, I knew I absolutely had to read it. I wanted to know if my love for Simon was a one time thing, or if Becky's words and I could have a long term relationship. Good news!!! They totally can. I consider two five star books in a row from the same author to be something of a miracle, and it puts Becky Albertalli right up there with some of my favorite authors ever. This book was just a joy to read. I loved the diversity in the characters, not just in race and sexual orientation, but also in personality, because that made it so fun to read. I loved the relationships that we get to follow, both romantic and non-romantic, I loved the cameos from some of the cast of Simon, I loved the Pinterest crafts, and I mostly loved how I could feel the heart that went into writing this book. If you're looking for a contemporary to try out this summer, let this be your pick!!

This book is the story of Molly Peskin-Suso. (for those of you following along the Simon train, she is Abby's cousin). She lives in Washington D.C. with her twin sister Cassie, her little brother, and her  moms. Four things you need to know about Molly. She is an avid pinterest crafter, she's pretty shy, she's fat, and she has had over 20 crushes in her lifetime, though she's never been kissed, never admitted her feelings to anyone, never taken a romantic risk. Her twin sister Cassie, on the other hand, is always flitting from one girl to another, never really getting attached, and always telling Molly that she needs to put herself out there. This is the way they exist, until one night, Molly and Cassie meet Mina, and Cassie falls head over heels for her. As Mina and Cassie grow closer and start a relationship, Molly can't help but feel like her twin is growing closer to Mina but further from Molly. This, along with Cassie trying to push Mina's hipster friend on Molly for a romantic interest and Molly's burgeoning crush on her coworker, the nerdtastic Reid, makes for a very interesting summer in the Peskin-Suso household.

Okay, let's do this in list format, because otherwise I will guaranteed go on forever and ever.

Things I liked:

1. Molly. Just, everything about her. I felt like she was so real, I just felt like I GOT most of the stuff she was saying, on a deep level. She is a fat Jewish girl with anxiety, and she loves herself. That was... I can't even tell you how refreshing. I mean, sure, she has insecurities, just like the rest of the seventeen year olds in the universe, but there was never a doubt that Molly loved herself exactly the way she was. She wasn't trying to lose weight or not be anxious, and I thought Becky Albertalli did such a good job with making Molly just a person. (which sounds stupid, but with other overweight characters or characters struggling with mental illness, there's usually a "curing" or "changing" aspect) I loved Molly's quirks, her obsessions, and they sort of became my quirks and obsessions as I was reading. I just thought she was a really great main character, and I love what she represented.

2. Diverse rep! We've got all types of people here, which, hey!, is just like real life. Everyone was so different from one another and I was living for it! Molly (fat, Jewish, anxious, remember?), Cassie, who likes girls and is cynical and sometimes selfish but has a good heart and always stands up for what is right, their moms, who are supportive and understanding, even though they sometimes clash with their daughters. Mina, who is a Korean-American pansexual girl, and Reid, who is big, tall, and nerdy and unashamed of any of it. So on and so forth. I loved how lively this world was because of all of the different characters.

3. Realistic teens. Sometimes, with YA, the teenagers end up sounding more like people in their mid-twenties. (not mostly, but you can think of some I bet) And sometimes the teens are really young-sounding. Sometimes the teens are fine but there is just a sparkle that is missing. I think Becky Albertalli gets it so freaking right, here and also in Simon. In this book, these teenagers felt like I could walk into a high school and find them sitting at a lunch table, for real. They were happy and angry and rebellious and passionate. They had insecurities, fights, crushes, and diverse interests. None of them were cookie cutter, and all of them had depth that just felt so true to life. I had a seriously such a blast reading about these characters, and I was so sad when this book ended.

4. Positive relationships with parents. I loved seeing Molly and Cassie with their moms, even when they fought, there was always a fierce underlying love and loyalty in all of their interactions. I loved how their moms supported the girls and told them that they were fine the way they are, and that they don't have to rush into anything, that they can do things on their own time, and that they can choose their own paths. That was just so positive to me, and I loved seeing it. Also, Mina and Reid both had visible and great relationships with their parents as well, and I just thought that made this book even more real and wonderful.

5. The romances!! Mina and Cassie were cute. I liked how they kind of represented like a honeymoon phase of a relationship, where they just forgot about everyone and everything around them. I thought this was good because Cassie isn't the hopeless romantic, like Molly is, so it was cute to see her fall so hard for Mina. I also LOVED Reid!!! Holy crap he was so cute guys! I don't know what it is about Becky Albertalli and writing adorable scenes in grocery stores, but she really knows that that will get me, because the one in here was so cute. There was a bit of will-they, won't-they with Reid and Molly, but I loved the way it all got cleared up in the end. I like how Molly had to kind of get out of her own way and decide to put herself out there for the romance to start blooming, I think that is a really positive message about being brave and believing in yourself. Reid and Molly were just adorable. I love that he walks his cat on a leash and is obsessed with Lord of the Rings and got so excited when Molly made him edible cookie dough. UGH!! They're just too cute for words!

6. Of course, I adored the cameos we got from the Simon characters. I like that we got to see what Abby's life was like before she moved to Shady Creek. I loved that we got to see Simon on Skype and I just about died when Abby mentioned him and Blue. I also CHOKED when Carter Addison showed up, you guys. I exclaimed something aloud. Alone. I was just surprised and then cracking up. So cute, it made me miss the Simon gang, but then I loved Molly too, so it was the best of both worlds.

7. Lastly, I love that this book didn't shy away from serious subjects. It was talking about sexuality, anxiety, and family in a way that I found really refreshing and nice. I also loved Molly's moms wedding. Like, a lot.

Okay I think that's it but probably not everything I wanted to talk about because I loved so many things about this book but seriously if you haven't read Becky Albertalli please for the love of God pick up one of her books they are so freaking amazing and this sentence is really long but I'm just trying to express my love for her words!!! READ THIS BOOK


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