Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. 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. 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 a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?
I feel like there has already been a lot of great reviews surrounding this book but I will still put in my two cents.
I loved this book. Becky Albertalli has a way of constructing these relatable hilarious characters. I found myself saying, “yes, this character is me” to basically all the characters.
Like Molly, I was also a fat teenager. Strangely, it felt like I was reading my own autobiography because Molly’s thoughts were basically the same thoughts I had. Like Molly, I felt slightly jealous of the other girls who were getting in relationships, I noticed most of them had under size 7 bodies. I felt jealous for the so-called “sluts” because they were getting laid and they had rock hard bodies and I thought there were some type of correlation between the two. I felt guilty for thinking this throughout high school and I honestly thought something was completely wrong with me.
Some people have critiqued this book for such “another self-conscious fat girl who wants a boyfriend” and frankly I find that hilarious. I’m going to give an example:
” Because chubby girls don’t get boyfriends, and they definitely don’t have sex. Not in movies–not really–unless it’s supposed to be a joke. And I don’t want to be a joke.”
This line may see this line as an “woe is me” type of thing but I see this as a commentary of the lack of authentic positive body representation in media/entertainment. That’s just me and some may interpret such differently
Anyways, I liked how this book was the journey of Molly trying to find confidence in her own skin. However, I also liked how it’s expressed that confidence isn’t something that’s easily handed to people and it takes time. By the end of the book, Molly doesn’t become some overly cocky woman who can take on the world. She still has her insecurities and she embraces them and I think that’s something anybody can learn from.
Molly’s twin sister, Cassie, was also a delight. She’s a lesbian, outspoken and deeply cares for her sister. I loved her relationship with Molly and it almost felt like it was sort of their story rather than just Molly’s so that was just fucking awesome. I also just admired how how she outspoken on patriarchy and LGBTQIA+ issues and generally was just a kickass character.
“Um, let’s just start with the implication that becoming a woman has anything to do with whether or not you’ve had sex”
The relationship between Molly and Reid was adorable as shit. My favorite character relationship trope is when both characters are extremely awkward, especially when it’s first love. Frankly, first love relationships are awkward as hell and I’m glad that was portrayed in the book. I hate when books make first love like both characters know exactly what they are doing but both Molly and Reid are like “what are we supposed to do?” “I don’t know, honestly.” Like yes! It’s authentic cute dialogue that makes me squeal in delight (I never squeal but this relationship did)! And ohhh the fan art can we please. Check out this fan art because yes.
Before making my rating, I was thinking about the ending and the overall message that it might send to some readers. The whole “fat girls finds love and now she has confidence” trope. I thought about this and even considered lowering my rating. However thinking about it more, I don’t think it even presents that trope.
Usually when we see this trope in books, we have these classic lines:
“he can have all the girls in the world but he chose me”
“he likes me for me”
“he doesn’t care that I’m fat, he likes me for who I am”
I can honestly go on all day but these phrases never present themselves (at least I’m aware of, hopefully I’m accurate lmao). I honestly don’t think the main love interest, Reid even mentions her body is any way (even the other love interest, Will). Yeah, the main character is nervous about sex when because of her wait but I honestly shared those same struggles in high school too. So for those reasons I simply don’t see it. However, I do understand those who do and more if you are a fellow fat girl.
Becky also somewhat addressed this issue on her twitter here if you guys are curious.
At the end of the day, I see a book where a girl finds first love.
I applaud the healthy conversations about sex and importance of birth control. Anything that I sex positive earns an A+ from me.
Now, this doesn’t account for my rating but I think it’s good to note that this is an #ownvoices book when it comes to Molly’s underrepresented body type, her anxiety and her being Jewish. Molly and Cassie also has two moms (one of them being Jewish and the other being black), Cassie’s girlfriend, Mina is Korean-American and pansexual, and Reid the love interest is also Jewish. There’s a shit ton more such as POC and LGBTQIA+ wise but you get the picture.
Although the diversity aspect didn’t account for my star rating, I did take .5 away due to the fact that I wished more character arcs were explored such as the dynamics of Molly’s parents, Cassie’s girlfriend Mina, their Jewish religion, etc. I am going to give credit to the wonderful character development of Cassie though.
I wished this was published when I was in high school. This could have possibly helped me get through some tough times.
Great book by a beautiful author, would recommend.