Entertainment

Book review: 'The Upside of Unrequited' is a quirky, modern coming-of-age story

Posted April 14

"THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED," by Becky Albertalli, Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 352 pages (f)

Molly Peskin-Suso, at the age of 17, has had 26 crushes and no boyfriends. She knows because her twin sister, Cassie, has kept track of them all. While Cassie has never been in a serious relationship, the amount of times she's been kissed far exceeds Molly's zero.

But all that's about to change as Cassie finally falls hard and fast in love, and Molly for the first time feels like someone has come between her and her twin. Cassie tries to set Molly up with her girlfriend's best friend, but Molly might be getting more and more interested in her new co-worker, Reid.

"The Upside of Unrequited" by Becky Albertalli perfectly captures the awkward, self-conscious feelings of any shy teenager who just wants to be loved, but doesn't want to risk the rejection it often takes to get there.

Molly has lots of insecurities about her weight and freezes up every time a cute boy tries to talk to her but, for some reason, with Reid it's different. He wears Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones T-shirts and ridiculously white sneakers and is a little husky himself, but for the first time she feels like she can be herself around a boy.

As tensions increase between Molly and her sister, she feels torn between the conventionally attractive, flirtatious boy her sister is pushing her toward and Reid, who often feels like the scarier option because, with him, she actually has something to lose.

This quirky, funny coming-of-age novel has led Albertalli to be compared to a modern-day Judy Blume for writing with such an open, honest perspective about the everyday thoughts and feelings of many of today's youths.

The novel features a lesbian wedding, multiple lesbian relationships and several descriptions of two women kissing. It includes several candid conversations between teenagers about sex, scenes of teens drinking and many instances of strong language.

Email: mbulsiewicz@deseretnews.com

Twitter: mgarrett589

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