If you guys follow my bookstagram, booktube, or twitter, you know I’m not a small girl. I never really see myself in books when I read them because most YA novels feature a small female character as their main character. I’m not saying that those books are bad, they are just as important to some people as having a bigger character for the main character is for me. I am just stating that there is a lack of bigger or “fat” characters within novels (this goes for all genders). If they are in a novel, they are typically a funny side character, a side character who gets joked “funnily” about because of their weight, a side character who is the bully, or simply just making them a character who kills another character by sitting on them. This novel was not that stereotype of a YA novel. This novel had a fat main character who wasn’t the laughing stock.
In The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, I saw myself truly in a novel for the first time. The main character, Molly, is a girl who isn’t small. On the first page, she sucks in her cheeks to make it appear like she had cheekbones. I don’t want to get into how many times I have done this because I started to feel self-conscious. In fact, I caught myself doing this today.
Okay now leave till you read the book then promise to come back and read the rest of this post. Please. I mean, they are not necessarily spoilers, but more like character development/how they are spoilers.
She has a fear of rejection. I have a huge fear of rejection. That’s why I never go for the things I really want. I stopped auditioning, I stopped trying. I just did not want to face rejection. I have trouble being in groups of people for fear that I’m being rejected by being left out of conversations. I begin to worry whether I did something to make them ignore me or not. Molly may not have her fear to this extent, but I do and I could see myself through her fear.
The whole crushing thing with her is exactly how I am. I have crushes, but I never act on them again for fear of rejection. Molly is such a careful person. She doesn’t put her heart out in the open. I try not to either. After so much pain/anxiety/fear, you have too many walls up.
I cried while reading the acknowledgements because it says “To the fat kids. You’re beautiful”.
I met Becky Albertalli last month, March 2017, and I almost started crying when I was telling her how much her novel meant to me. I cannot thank her enough for this novel.
Be sure to pick up this novel! It’s written fantastically and it touched my heart and I hope it touches yours.