This book is part of Becky Albertalli’s wonderful Simonverse, with crossovers from the characters in Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which made me so happy and warm at heart, that I could recommend this book for that reason alone! In addition thereto, it’s wonderful character-driven cute and relatable story about sisterhood, family, body image, and first love.
The main character in this story is 17-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso, She is a bit on the larger side and has never dated or kissed any guy, despite her 26 crushes, since her fear of rejection and low self-esteem keeps her from taking chances in her life. Her twin sister, Cassie, on the other hand is Molly’s totally opposite; bold, courageous and popular. She’s had many hookups, but not any serious relationships. But in the beginning of the book, Cassie meets her first real girlfriend, Mina, which changes the twin dynamic and in a way pushes Molly to open up a bit more, just in time for crush number 27, Mina’s cool hipster friend Will. At the same time however, Molly meets co-worker Reid, who is a Tolkien fan and the kind of guy who wears nerdy t-shirts, but who Molly likes more than expected.
With Molly trying to figure which of the boys she’s into and if she should dare to put herself out there and make herself vulnerable, there are some really fun plot twists and realistic teenager situations. Especially the struggle between choosing the boy Molly herself actually likes the most and the one that seems ideal to everyone else. Overall, this book has some of the most realistic portrayals of teenagers I’ve ever read in a YA book; they drink, they talk about sex, they lie and make stupid decisions, they are selfish and immature and wonderful and adorable and freak out about stuff. What I didn’t like so much after a while though was how pushy and selfish Cassie acted when pushing a crush on Molly without caring about her wishes or feelings. There were also times when reading the book that I got a bit annoyed at Molly’s indecisiveness. Luckily though, Cassie did end up being nicer and Molly did make a decision (the right one too!) by the end, so the book ended in a funny and fluffy, give-you-all-the-feels kind of read.
What I loved most about this book was the parents (Molly’s two moms must be my favorite literature parents ever!) and the diversity. There’s Molly with an underrepresented body type without making excuses for it and with anxiety issues, there’s the twin sister who’s into girls, they have two moms, Patty and Nadine, and the twins themselves are sperm-donor babies. Patty and Nadine are such a lovely couple and amazing mothers and their wedding was one of the best things in the book. I really loved all of the family dynamic in this book, it felt so real and warm.
All in all, this is a wonderful book! Even though I didn’t love it quite as much as Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Upside is still a sweet, relatable, fast-paced and touching book, with awesome characters and dynamics.
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.F. White C.G. Drews Charli Meadows Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson James L. Sutter Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jen Bailey Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Tracy Deonn Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Wesley Chu Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez