Queer and trans representation needs to happen in all areas of life. I’ve already previously written about the importance of secondary characters, and why they’re essential to the stories we read, watch, etc.
That post was inspired by Becky Albertalli being unsure if the secondary characters in her forthcoming second novel, The Upside of Unrequited counted for the book to be considered LGBT YA.
My point in that post was that all LGBT representation matters, even in the form of secondary characters.
Well, today I’m here with part follow-up to that post, and part review of The Upside of Unrequited. I was recently blessed by HarperCollins Canada with an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of Becky’s new book. And let me tell you, it is sheer perfection.
I stayed up all night reading Molly’s incredible story. Here’s what it’s about:
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.
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. Will is funny and 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 with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.
THIS BOOK, THOUGH! I’ve actually now read it twice, because I went through it so fast the first time that I needed a second read to make sure I properly absorbed its awesomeness.
Becky Albertalli is a freaking genius/magician when it comes to spinning words together to tell a story, and this book is one freaking hell of an amazing story.
There aren’t even the right words to properly begin to describe my feelings on this book. I laughed. Like, literally out loud laughed in the early morning hours. It’s a good thing my roommate wasn’t home, otherwise I’d probably have woken her up. I also cried, squealed a bit, and many other displays of intense emotion. Because that’s what Becky’s books have the power to do!
Obviously, because spoilers, I’m not going to go into too much detail, but let me just reiterate what I said in my previous post on secondary LGBT characters and how supremely important they are. Well, this book shows that. And then some.
The queer parenting shown in this book is incredible. I teared up during some of the scenes with Molly and Cassie’s moms. I love my Mom so much, she’s my favourite person in the world. Now just imagine having two of them!
I’m sure there are other books with awesome examples of queer parenting–I just can’t think of any right now that I can recall reading. But we need more stories like this, especially when you consider the opposition that some people have to queer parenting and same-sex adoptions.
Honestly, I don’t even know how I feel about calling these characters “secondary” because they’re all so incredibly amazing. Especially Cassie. She’s fearless and amazing and everything I sometimes wish I could be.
But let me tell you, I am definitely, definitely more like Molly. I LOVE Molly. And this really tripped me up and confused me, because I didn’t think it was possible for Becky to write a character I love more than Simon (more on my love for Simon here), but OH BOY, apparently it is. Molly is life. I honestly can’t even think of a character I’ve ever felt so much alike. Her awkwardness, her struggles with her appearance, her long list of unrequited crushes. It’s like Becky has written a female version of me!
I’m sorry for rambling. I just have so many feelings about this book. Becky Albertalli is such a gifted and talented writer. She makes you fall in love with her characters so much that you’re left heartbroken when the book ends, precisely because the book has ended.
I can’t wait for everyone to be able to read his one! This book isn’t even published yet, and I also can’t wait for what Becky writes next. I know it’ll be amazing, whatever it is. To paraphrase John Green, I’d read Becky’s grocery lists.
The Upside of Unrequited comes out April 11th, 2017. You can pre-order it now from Indigo by clicking here.
Note: I received an advanced reader copy of this book from HarperCollins Canada in exchange for an honest review.