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Summer is upon us, and with it is comes the need to read books that make you smile after all the suffering of winter. You know, the real indignities, like static-y hair and minimal shoe choices.
I don’t know about you, but author Becky Albertalli was all over my newsfeed for a while there. There was all the casting news about the adaptation of her book Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda–which includes Nick Robinson (who is kind of the king of YA movie adaptations right now; he’s in EVERYTHING), Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Katherine Langford (fresh off of the 13 Reasons Why drama), and, seriously, so many more (the movie is currently listed as post-production but is still claiming a 2018 release). And with all of that going on, she still found time to release a new book this April:
I am a firm believer in judging a book by its cover and this cover was exactly the kind of book I needed to get in the mood for summer.
I have a new Author Crush because it was that perfect.
In The Upside of Unrequited, it’s a summer of change for Molly: her twin sister, Cassie, has her first girlfriend, Molly’s best friend recently moved away, her moms are finally getting married, and she is caught up in her very own love triangle. There is hot Will, who makes her feel excited, and goofy Reid, who makes her feel at ease (And is there anything better than a love story that recognizes that calming feeling is huge pro?!).
The problem is that Molly has had 26 crushes in her life. But she still hasn’t been kissed. She’s addicted to the feeling of finding a guy that she likes and wondering if he could possibly like her back, but she is not brave enough to ever actually put herself out there.
So this summer, she has made it her goal to get rejected.
Love is in the air everywhere you look in this book, from her parents to the people celebrating the supreme court ruling on gay marriage in the streets. It is a fun reminder of how fun a new crush can be; just look at the way that Molly describes it:
If I had to describe the feeling of a crush, I’d say this: you just finished running a mile, and you have to throw up, and you’re starving, but no food seems appealing, and you brain becomes a fog, and you also have to pee. It’s this close to intolerable. But I like it.
More than like it. I crave it.
Because there’s nausea and fog, but there’s also this: an unshakable feeling that something wonderful is about to happen. That’s the part I can’t explain. No matter how unlikely, I always have a secret shred of hope. And as feelings go, that’s a pretty addictive one.
The Upside of Unrequited is a perfect vacation read. Take it on the plane with you to get yourself in the mood because it will just make you feel happy.
After the fun of reading about Molly, I wanted to keep living in Becky’s version of the world and downloaded Simon (which has been on my TBR list for too long anyway).
Again, I was smiling like a big dork the whole time I was reading.
Simon has a pen-pal that he is slowly falling in love with. They both go to the same school and are in the same grade, but neither knows who the other is. Simon has always been ok with this, enjoying using “Blue” as a sort of journal. But now, Martin–a boy at school–is using the emails to blackmail Simon (Simon and Blue aren’t technically “out” to anyone but each other) into setting him up with Simon’s friend, Abby.
While it may sound like a typical high school coming out story, the real focus is on Simon and Blue’s relationship turning more serious as Simon tries to figure out who Blue is. And I love that Simon isn’t scared of what it will mean to be forced out (it has mostly been a non-issue up to this point in his life), but that he is being forced out when it was his moment, one that he should have been given the right to choose when, where, and how to do it. I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have supportive people in their lives when they come out, but I am glad to see a story that leans towards normalizing “the moment,” maybe making it a little less scary for some kids out there.
Sadly, Becky Albertalli only has the two books out right now, but you better believe I am now following her on Goodreads so I am in the know about her two upcoming novels.
Who are your latest author crushes that you can’t tell enough people about?
Angela spends her days as a librarian but has never shushed anyone–at
least not at work–and her nights pretending that she has time to have
an active social life, work out, keep up with her HULU queue, and read
200 books a year. She can’t. She believes that books are the answer to
world peace but uses the word “book” loosely as format really
shouldn’t matter. Follow her on Twitter @apbennett12