Month: February 2019

The Upside of Unrequited

Author: Becky Albertalli
Published: April 11, 2017
336 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 24-31, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

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. Right?

Jessica’s Review:

Please Note: To shorten the review instead of saying the entire titles throughout the review, I have shortened them to one word:

Upside- The Upside of Unrequited
Simon- Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Leah- Leah on the Offbeat

Upside is not part of the ‘Simon’ series, but it is in the same universe as Molly is Abby’s cousin. I listened to the audio of Upside after listening to Simon and Leah.

I liked Molly; she is what Leah could have been. Also being  a ‘fat girl’, Molly has had many crushes (26 exactly), but nothing ever came about them. Then suddenly two guys come into the picture: One Molly meets via work and the other via her friends. I know who I was rooting for Molly to end up with by the end.

I enjoyed how Upside was connected to the other books through Abby; She and Simon even make some appearances throughout the novel!  I did not like the narrator’s portrayal of Abby: she made Abby seem whiny with the way she narrated Abby’s voice.  I enjoyed the narration of Abby’s voice much more in Simon.

I really liked Molly’s moms and enjoyed hearing from them; they are just as important to the story as Molly is.

As with the other two novels, Upside has foul language including the ‘f’ word. The language is not as extreme as it was in Leah. Of course, Of course, this series is about teen drama so be prepared for lots of it; if that’s not your thing it may be disappointed.

I enjoyed reading these three books, Simon  is my favorite.  If you read and enjoyed Simon, give Upside a read. Becky Albertalli: Please write more books with these teens! I really enjoyed them over the course of the three novels!. 

The Upside of Unrequited is recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Leah on the Offbeat

Author: Becky Albertalli
Published: April 24, 2018
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 13-16, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Book Description:

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Jessica’s Review:

The whole gang from Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda are back for their senior year of high school and all the drama that will unfold with that important year: picking a college, prom, and for Leah: should tell my friends that I am bisexual? This time the novel focuses on Leah, Simon’s bff.

It actually surprised me that the focus was Leah, as of all the friends, she was the one I connected with the least, but that might have been because she was more of an afterthought in  Simon.  But we get to know her through this novel.  And even when I was done with Leah,  I still found her my least favorite character of the group.  She is an angry girl, who is also petty and uses excessive foul language.  I did enjoy how Leah is a self-taught drummer and there were constant musical references throughout the novel, including the title.

The one character I really had empathy for was Garrett, the poor boy was so clueless but no one would help him out.   I had some sympathy for Nick, but not as much due to his negative attitude. I wanted more Simon and Bram moments, they are just adorable! 

As the gang goes through their senior year they experience the changes that inevitably will come which includes growing apart and moving on by attending different colleges. The novel was just an ‘ok read’ for me until the ending.  The ending is what made me award it 3.5 stars vs 3.  The ending had me ready to see what happens next for the gang when college starts. Hopefully Albertalli will continue with their story. Now, in the same universe as Simon and Leah is The Upside of Unrequited.  In Upside the focus is Abby’s cousin Molly.

Due to the mature themes and constant foul language used, I would say this one would be for older teens.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda Book Review/Love, Simon Movie Comparison

Author: Becky Albertalli
Published:  April 7, 2015
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 26- December 30, 2018
Jessica’s Rating:  5 stars

Book Description:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Jessica’s Review:

I absolutely adored this novel! I think it helps that I live in Georgia, the author lives in Georgia, and the novel also takes place in Georgia.

I adored Simon from the beginning. Somehow Albertalli captured the voice of a teenage boy in his situation brilliantly! I always say there are not YA books out there from the male perspective, added to that from the gay perspective. You can really see how Simon feels about everything and are rooting for him. I also liked Simon’s close knit group of friends, though I least connected with Leah. I was surprised to find out the second book in the series focuses on her. Despite the lack of connection to Leah in Simon I will give the second book a shot as I would like to see what happens next in all of their lives. 

Being this novel is YA, surprisingly for me the teen drama is not ‘full in your face’ like I expected it to be. Yes there is teen drama, but it is all part of the story with the sequence of events. Various social media and the constant need for their phone is all over this novel as it is a normal part of teens lives now. 

I would say this would be for older teens as there is foul language used in the novel, which includes the F word.  There are also mentions to masturbation and there is underage drinking. But it all feels like a real situation.

There is also a bit of a mystery as to who Blue is.  And once we finally find out the answer the story keeps going. 

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda is highly recommended.  This was my final audiobook I listened to in 2018 and was glad I ended the year with it.


Movie Perspective of Love, Simon:

I watched the movie Love, Simon before listening to the audiobook and  also really enjoyed it!  I adored Simon and his friends and also liked Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel as Simon’s parents. There are some changes in various parts of the film, which I actually enjoyed. There was one part of the novel I enjoyed that was not in the movie and wish it was. I surprised myself and started to feel sorry for Martin after the football game…until he did what he did. 

Nick Robinson played Simon brilliantly, especially when it came down to a certain very emotional scene.  This particular scene felt 100% real and I wanted to knock some sense into Martin myself! I would be very tempted to ground my kid for life if they ever did what Martin did to Simon.

I would say watch the movie first as the movie ends while the novel keeps going. It was a fine ending for the film but we get more in the novel. 


Purchase Links:

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Love, Simon
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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