Title: Leah on the Offbeat
Author: Becky Albertalli
Category: Young Adult
Status: Book 2 in the Creekwood series but can be read as a standalone
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.
All of us who have read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda were really looking forward to this. And by really I mean
- screaming about it
- rereading Simon vs. while waiting because why not
- crying about Leah who’s going to be perfect
- screaming about Leah being bi
- screaming because Leah is also a fat girl and a main character
- basically screaming because it’s a book by Becky Albertalli and
- it’s set in the Simonverse where
- we ALSO get to see Simon all couply with his boyfriend which will be CUTE AF!!!
So yeah, I was pretty (understatement) excited as well.
Getting to the book, it was pretty good. But I had only a small problem.
Let’s talk in lists, because lists are awesome.
What I liked:
- Leah being a badass drummer and also really talented at sketching.
- Leah being her usual self, which some people might see as bitchy but according to me, it’s normal because there are people like that and
- Leah is just a teenager who is confused and doesn’t know how to properly deal with her emotions and also the happening in her world which are out of her control.
- For example, Leah had a problem with her mom dating someone. She was a normal teenager and I actually liked how she grew to accept it.
- I also loved seeing the gang again. Leah, Simon, Bram, Abby, Nick and Garrett.
- Another thing I liked was seeing friends of Leah’s outside of that gang. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t usually stick to just one group. There are things these friends might not understand that others will and that’s completely okay. I liked seeing Leah’s dynamic with those other friends.
- We also have all the characters dealing with being seniors, prom and college decisions. The college things—decisions, choice, friends—all of it felt really real and I could relate to that. There was also early nostalgia about everyone separating and going to college, even while they’re still together and I get that. I started missing my friends while we still in school as well. It took me back.
- Leah has a romance with another girl and it’s SUPER CUTE. I loved the growth of the relationship and how they got together. I loved the crisis both of them had with being bi and accepting it. It was really nice.
- I also liked how Leah’s anxiety about coming out was shown. Even though her best friend is gay and he’s out, it’s still not easy for her to come out, even to him. That’s what I appreciated because no matter what coming out as queer is NOT easy. You know that your loved ones will accept you but you’re still hesitant. I saw that through Leah.
- SIMON AND BRAM. I got to see them as a couple, sometimes shy but also completely into each other and it MADE ME SO HAPPY.
What I didn’t like:
- okay so it’s cool how the pairing came out of nowhere and completely blind-sided me but.. I did NOT like it.
- Leah and her girlfriend are cute together and I totally ship them but.. it just ruined something for me and I didn’t like it.
- Basically, I have a problem with who Leah’s significant other turned out to be. I cannot say another word without spoiling it all.
So other than that fundamental fact which made me dislike some of it, the book delivers everything that we expect of Becky Albertalli. Definitely recommended.