Book Review: Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli.

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No. of Pages: 364 pages
Edition: Kindle
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher, Date: Balzer and Bray, April 2018
Setting: Atlanta, Georgia (United States)

SynopsisLeah 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.

What I thought of the book

I’ve only recently completed the book Leah On The Offbeat, the sequel to Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda which I did a review on earlier. Both are written by Becky Albertalli. Long story short, I preferred the first book. Probably because Simon Speer is an Oreo-loving, simple kid and didn’t see life in such bad light to the point of trying to burn things down to the ground when shit hits the fan.

Which was what Leah Burke did at every turn of the page and frankly speaking, it was quite unnerving.

Leah is your typical angsty teenager, whiny and whinging at everything that is upsetting her (or even mildly upsetting), throwing a fit and making a scene. Of course I can’t be too harsh on her; I was a teenager like her once and I, too, felt like I had every right to be upset at people or at life in general.

I have to admit, though, that her unexpected discovery about how far in love she was in with Abby Suso was pretty exciting. It was real sweet. Imagine having a bunch of friends who are all close to one another, but then you find yourself falling for one of them who was already spoken for. Or so you thought.

Well, if I found out I was head over heels or even feeling the slightest flutter for another girl, I’d be as nervous as Leah. Although she was the one who admitted she was bisexual. Then shit happened and suddenly she ended up with Abby. It sounded like an oh-so-Hollywood-cheesy-kind-of-thing, but I loved it! If only that happened to me.

Alright, enough about Leah, Abby and me.

The other enjoyable part revolves around the supporting characters. The fact that the setting of this book is in the same location as the first book means we get to reacquaint ourselves with the same characters. Simon and his boyfriend Bram are back and are as adorable as ever, and Nick who loves Abby so much he couldn’t stand it when she called things off and ended up with Leah in the end. We also get to see more of Garrett, Morgan and Anna, which was a great thing too.

But the supporting character who stands out the most is Leah’s mom. Their relationship is far from perfect as we are given an insider’s point of view into how the mother handles a daughter like Leah and how Leah struggles to get along with someone her mom is dating.

The rollercoaster rides we take in this book for each couple’s relationship made it all the more realistic. It is an existing issue in today’s world, not to mention, the occasional bullying but thankfully the latter wasn’t a huge part of the story.

Still, it was a good read. A typical contemporary coming-of-age story that gracefully handled serious high school issues and the gender issues that plague our society. By completing the books, the author gave Simon and Leah a chance to show gay teenagers out there that hope is not hard to find.

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