Review: The Upside of Unrequited

30653853Seventeen-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.

Right?

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review… and then promptly forgot to add this disclaimer until the day after I posted it.

This is a really cute book with a fat Jewish protagonist being medicated for anxiety, lesbian twin sister with a pansexual love interest and two mums in an interracial relationship, one of whom is bisexual. Molly has a great voice with plenty of laugh-out-loud and heartwarming moments.

There’s a lot to love in this book, from the creative swearing, cute infants, to Molly’s utterly relatable internal monologue about everything from planned one-liners that aren’t as funny when spoken aloud, to more serious topics such as her self-consciousness about her body. This is dealt with a lot in relation to her grandmother, who projected her own body insecurities onto Molly. Well-meaning, but misguided, and I was glad to see that addressed in the text.

Molly’s twin sister Cassie, however, I really couldn’t stand most of the time. While she would occasionally stand up for Molly or try to have her best interests at heart, so much of the time she was being cruel for no reason and would then turn around to dismiss Molly’s feelings out of hand. It was extremely frustrating to read. Molly wasn’t perfect, but I honestly feel Cassie wasn’t held accountable as much as she probably should have been.

There are two love interests in the book, but one of them was really a non-entity to me. There was no point where I genuinely believed he was a possibility and, honestly, the fact he was there annoyed me more than anything. I really liked the other love interest, though.

I don’t know if this has made it into the final retail copy, but there are a few iterations of words such as “crazy” being used in the book, which I understand is an issue for some readers, so tread carefully and hopefully someone who reads the final copy will say something if it’s in there.

I’m giving this book a four-star Goodreads rating, more because I can objectively see that it’s quite a good book, even though I wasn’t terribly drawn in by most of it, probably because I read it at a bad time for me and under a time crunch. So that’s not the author’s fault. The love triangle was a little irritating but there were a lot of issues discussed, from sex to body-shaming to biphobia and beyond, and Molly’s voice was so strong that it was still a good book.

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