Book Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli // a realistic narrative of awkward, first relationships

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Title: The Upside of Unrequited

Author: Becky Albertalli

Published: April 11, 2017

Pages: 336

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Amazon / Barnes & NoblesGoodreads


I was never interested enough to pick up Becky Albertalli’s book, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, when it was front and center in every book store I visited two years ago.

When I was perusing the nominees for Best Young Adult Fiction in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2017, I came across yet another one of Alberatelli’s books and decided to give the author a chance. 

The Upside of Unrequited was humorous and relatable from the get-go.

“I don’t think she gets it. There’s a reason I’ve had twenty-six crushes and no boyfriends. I don’t entirely understand how anyone gets a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. It just seems like the most impossible odds. You have to have a crush on the exact right person at the exact right moment. And they have to like you back. A perfect alignment of feelings and circumstances. It’s almost unfathomable that it happens as often as it does.” 

I can see where the comparisons to this book and Fangirl come from. Molly and Cassie’s personalities mirrored the polar opposite pattern of Cat and Wren from Fangirl, Molly being the home body and Cassie the party animal. Due to her more reserved nature, Molly was struck with unbearable loneliness when Cassie starts spending most of her time with Mina. Having sisters of my own, I was able to empathize with Molly’s sense of losing her sister to another person and sadness in realizing that it was an end of the era of being the most important person to Cassie. It kind of felt like the book was confronting me (and I felt very attacked).

Seeing that her sister and all her close friends are all in relationships, Molly was prompted to be more proactive in finding a boyfriend. The most obvious choice for her was the boy all her friends and sister ship her with: Will. Plus, he was Mina’s best friend, so dating him would guarantee Molly some time with Cassie. However, Molly found herself thinking more about her co-worker Reid. Even though he was not conventionally attractive, they were more compatible in their interests and share the same awkward (and completely adorable) tendencies.

Molly tended to fixate on certain ideas or thoughts (like who she was more interested in—Reid or Will—or if she really wanted a boyfriend) so much of the prose felt like reading a constant internal debate. I think Albertalli nailed what it’s like in the mind of a constantly overthinking teenage girl.

She also did a great job in detailing a realistic narrative of the awkwardness of navigating through a first relationship. This is something I’m seeing YA authors do more of in contemporary stories (e.g. A Quiet Kind of Thunder and Geekerella), and I really appreciate it. On top of that, Molly had amazing support from her parents, another thing I love to see in YA stories. It was exciting to see Molly grow and adapt to change without losing the essence of her character.


This was a cute book clearly written with diversity and representation in mind and with the purpose of accurately portraying current teenagers and their problems.

i really liked it

Thanks for reading! Have you read The Upside of Unrequited? What did you think of it? If you want to discuss the details of the book in the comments, just put a spoiler warning 😊.

7 thoughts on “Book Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli // a realistic narrative of awkward, first relationships

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed this book, and I’d definitely recommend giving Simon VS a go to! I loved Simon and gave it 5 stars, so I can’t wait to pick this one up! I’m also highly anticipating Becky’s upcoming new release. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked this book too, mostly because it made me laugh so much! Also Becky has a way of portraying real life so well (like the discussions were things that I actually discuss with my friends and that was nice to see). I am an emotionless lizard who has never head a crush before so I couldn’t relate to that buuuut it’s so diverse and cute and FLUFFY that I enjoyed it so much.
    (I didn’t think Simon was better but you should totally read that too if you need a pick me up)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked it too! And yesss, the humor, representation, and FLUFFLINESS in this story is spot on. Hmm, maybe I’ll keep Simon for a rainy day (that sounds really weird lol).

      Liked by 1 person

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