Becky Albertalli has a gift.
Nevermind the fact that all her books feel like someone is giving you a warm hug, or that her characters feel alive to the point that I’m convinced we’re friends after I’ve finished the story.
It’s that somehow, once I’ve closed the book, I’m craving snacks that I never, ever eat.
When I was reading Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I needed Oreos in my life. The craving was fierce. I got Oreo ice cream, I picked up Oreos randomly whenever I went to CVS. It was a problem that lasted a solid week while reading the book. Someone at Nabisco likely realized that Oreo consumption was particularly high in my neighborhood. There was probably a board meeting at the corporate headquarters involving graphs and charts and everything.
And with The Upside of Unrequited, I was attacked once more.
In The Upside of Unrequited, readers meet Molly, a teen girl that’s had over two dozen unrequited crushes. Twenty-six of them, actually. The upside of all that (hence the title), is never having to feel any kind of rejection. Which for Molly, is great. She doesn’t think she could handle it. And it’s never really been a problem, not when she has her twin sister / best friend around.
You know, until her sister isn’t around, and becomes smitten with a new girl in her class.
The resulting story takes us along Molly’s attempts to figure out how to pursue some kind of relationship, after years of just swooning on the sidelines. And how do you do that, after spending so much time building up those walls, being afraid of the word “no” from someone? It’s in this that the story becomes so relatable and heartwarming, with a girl learning about relationships, and eventually, learning more about herself.
Oh, and don’t even get me started on the characters. From Molly and her sister Cassie’s mothers to Cassie’s love interest, Mina, Albertalli has written such a beautifully inclusive story. Much like her debut, a lot of teenagers are going to get to see themselves and their families represented on the page, and this just thrills me beyond measure.
Upside hits bookstores everywhere in April, and I want you to be prepared. So unlike me, you aren’t running back and forth picking up Oreo snacks, like when I was reading Simon. Here’s all you need, as well as some books to read next, to snack your way through Unrequited.
Because you aren’t just going to be hungry for snacks. You’ll be hungry for more books like this one.
BOOK, The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson: If you read Simon (if not, what’s wrong with you, please fix this immediately), it shouldn’t surprise you that Unrequited is sprinkled with bits of geekery.
As Molly is navigating figuring out how to talk to one of her potential crushes, we see a lot of it in him, a boy named Reid. He rocks Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones t-shirts and other such things, so please, prepare to board this ship the second he appears.
And if it’s a nerdy love story you want next, pick up Lily Anderson’s debut, which is a clever play off Much Ado About Nothing set in the world of comics and Comic Con.
Via Love & Olive Oil
RECIPE, Eggless Cookie Dough: One snack that pops up in Upside, is eggless cookie dough. Now, full disclosure, I actually worked on a cookbook about this very subject, and while reading about it, could taste those snacks.
So, might I suggest these eggless chocolate-chip cookie dough truffles, which you can make with eggless cookie dough, and snack on while you’re reading, thanks to Lindsay at Love & Olive Oil.
BOOK, Hero by Perry Moore: You might also want to pick up Hero by Perry Moore, one of my absolute favorite YA novels about a teen living in a superhero world much like what we see taking over movie theaters these days. His father is a retired Batman type figure, who is jaded with his past and loathes superheroes. And our protagonist? He discovers he has superpowers. And he’s gay.
What’s it like, trying to hide two secrets from your family? It’s a geeky, inclusive read that you’re sure to love if you appreciate Albertalli’s books.
Image via Instructables
RECIPE, Homemade Cadbury Eggs: Another delicious snack that makes an appearance in Upside, are mini Cadbury eggs. These are basically the “Simon’s Oreo” of Upside. Unfortunately, this particular snack is hard to get when it isn’t Easter season. Sure, sometimes you’ll see some odd off-season versions of this, around Halloween and the like. But those eggs around Easter are just perfection. If you’re reading this in the summer of fall though, unless you’re hunting down ancient discount candy, you might have a hard time.
So here. Enjoy. Here’s how to make homemade Cadbury eggs, thanks to Instructables.
BOOK, Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy: Another book to pick up after you’ve finished Upside? Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. There’s a reason this wonderful novel is getting made into a movie (Jennifer Aniston YES).
It’s hilarious, heartwarming, and has some powerful body positive messaging, same as Upside. Readers meet a delightfully sassy teen who enters a beauty pageant, a girl who introduces herself as fat, talks about how proud she is… but still wrestles with body issues. She’s happy, but still, there’s a struggle. She’s complicated in a way that real people are, and that’s what makes the story so wonderful.
And that resulting story is just so, so funny and incredibly poignant, from the Dolly Parton references to the sweet romance, and I can’t wait to see it on the big screen.
Image via Baked Bree
RECIPE, Buttercream Cupcakes: The last snack that pops up in Unrequited, are buttercream frosting cupcakes. Oof, that delicious, delicious frosting. Bake yourself a half-dozen, and keep them nearby. Devour as needed.
So here, a recipe from Baked Bree, a baking blogger I’ve followed for a while. Enjoy.