The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 11th April 2017
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
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Plot: Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love-she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because 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. 

30653853Then 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. Will is funny, flirtatious, and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And 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 an awkward Tolkien superfan, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

I received an eARC from Penguin in an exchange for an honest review.

So this is a very cute book, like super cute.

Imagine a rom-com, with very little conflict and lots of teen drama, but so much better because not everyone is white and not everyone is straight.

The Upside of Unrequited was a very realistic and lovely insight into an alternative family lifestyle that’s loving and just as normal as any other. It’s also a very complicated look at the self-esteem of teenage girls and how new romance can be affected by that. I very much related to main character Molly now, more so than I would have when I was as a teenager (skinny and in a long term relationship), but I still find that appealing and it’s what makes Molly so loveable.

It’s great to read a book where LGBT people are happy and living a happy life. It’s possible, but many LGBT books concern themselves with so much drama and death and suffering. While I understand there has to be some drama within a book to actually have a plot, I found it refreshing that it didn’t ruin everything in it’s wake.

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Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: April 2015
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ .5
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Plot: Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

After the life ruining story that was Valentina, I decided I needed some cute contemporary. I’d already sunk my teeth into the final chapter in Stephanie Perkins’ teen romance, but I realised I needed something quite different from the norm.

I love LGBT novels or, any novels with actual LGBT characters in them. I get extremely excited when said character is the main character, and so picture my face when I got my hands on Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda.

simon

All I knew about this book before going in was cute and funny, and it didn’t live down that reputation. Along with a diverse cast of characters and bittersweet romances, Simon as a main character was very self aware and hilarious. I loved the back and forth he had with his friends, and I especially loved the emails between him and love interest Blue, a boy from his school with an identity unknown.

The only reason I took away half a star from the rating was because of the plot. While everything was cute and fun, it was all a bit…mild. I really don’t like that word, because apart from a chicken korma, what can you name that is mild but also great? Things happen in this book, of course, but a lot of it seemed to be perfectly pleasant and OK. I feel that, if this story was even a little bit milder, there’d be no story at all. People were too lovely and didn’t leave much of an impression, and the dog was the most excitable of the bunch.

LGBT books are still scarce. I often struggle with finding one’s to read, especially since I have a growing boredom of straight romances. But I’m definitely glad I read this book; not every LGBT story has to be about awfulness, about homophobia and bullying and hiding that part of yourself away. Gay kids fall in love and have cute romance stories just like those sickeningly sweet ones written by so many in the market today. It was lovely to see that played out here.

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