The Up-Side of Unrequited

Are There Lesbians?

What Happens?
With twenty-six secret crushes and zero boyfriends Molly Peskin-Suso comes to the realisation that maybe it’s time for her to admit to her feelings and try rejection.

The Verdict:
Becky Albertalli has done it again! I don’t know how she does it but her books are so warm and comforting! I was worried that this wouldn’t be as good as Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda (because how good is that book??!!!) but if anything I might even like Upside more? I don’t know, I love them both so much!

This is truly a feel-good novel. It’s like a warm blanket that wraps around your soul. Yes, there is conflict, but the people in the novel aren’t truly cruel or mean. I think that was my favourite thing about it. Molly spends so much of the novel thinking that she is unlovable because of her weight and general appearance and I was so worried that one of the boys she likes would say something mean as a way to make her and the reader fall out of love with him so she could realise who she really likes. You cannot imagine my relief when this didn’t happen. No one is anything less than lovely about people’s appearances in this book, in fact, they really don’t enter into the conversation at all. On the matter of appearances, one thing I truly love about Becky Albertalli’s books (and this is something The GF pointed out to me) is that she goes to great pains to highlight when characters are white and when they are not, without leaving it to the reader to have to draw conclusions themselves from descriptions of hair or skin colour. There are so many women of colour in Upside, it’s truly a gift.

Speaking of the gift that is The Upside of Unrequited– the Lesbians! There are! So! Many! It’s so good! There is actually the perfect number of lesbians in this novel, I have no further requirements. Oftentimes even if there is a single lesbian couple in a novel I will still say that there could have been more but not with this. Why? Two words – Lesbian. Mums. Lesbian mums who get married because the SSM bill gets passed. I cried. I was so happy for them and for how happy everyone was portrayed as being on the day it was passed in America. It was a weird feeling to read about it when we have only so very recently had SSM passed here in Aus (with our first same sex weddings only a few days ago). I remember it as such a bittersweet day so it was a bittersweet feeling to read about the pure happiness of two girls who wake up to the news that their mums (and one of the girls) can get married to the love of their life. Honestly, I think I’m a little jealous.

The Upside of Unrequited is a fantastic book about relationships – romantic, platonic and familial – and how they change and evolve over time. It is about losing your closest friend, but also the hope of getting them back again better than ever because of what you have learned both about them and yourself. Most of all I think it is a book about being comfortable with yourself, and how important it is to put yourself first sometimes.

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