Review: Leah on the Offbeat - Becky Albertalli

“I swear, people can’t wrap their minds around the concept of a fat girl who doesn’t diet. Is it hard to believe I might actually like my body?”

My Rating: ★★★

Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance

Reading Challenge: 18 out of 50

Goodreads Synopsis —

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.

My Thoughts —

Oh, look! Another Becky Albertalli book. Are you surprised at all? If you’ve been around awhile, you’ll remember my review of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in which I sung Becky Albertalli’s praises like Julie Andrews on the hill in Austria. So, here we are again, but this time with the spin-off of Simon! Excited? Let’s dive in.

As much as I loved Simon, I wanted to love this book. I truly went into this book with the expectation that I’d love it. But I just didn’t.

In Simon, we didn’t really get a close-up, in-depth look at the personalities of the secondary character because obvs it was about Simon, his sexuality, and his super adorable quest for finding his one true love. Despite that, I liked Leah. I thought she was a complex character and a take-no-shit kind of gal which I respect. Unfortunately, when it came to this spin-off novel, I just didn’t like Leah Burke. At all. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m an extremely empathetic reader. I find the best in even the worst characters sometimes. But I don’t know… Leah was just mean. She treaty the majority of the characters pretty terribly, especially her mom - and for what reason? Her mom was really supportive and caring, despite the fact that she was majorly preoccupied with the fact that they were struggling financially and that she had to work so much to support Leah. But Leah was just really rotten to her.

Without giving away the plot, I gotta say I wasn’t huge on how picture-perfect everything seemed. Like, I found in Simon that I could really believe that these characters were actual teenagers living in Georgia and going to high school and living ordinary lives. But this just seemed to me like it followed a really idealistic storyline. Like it followed every book cliche ever. I guess that’s just not what I had expected or even wanted out of this book.

I think that maybe my point of view would’ve been entirely different if I hadn’t just read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda before reading this one. Maybe I should re-read this in a few months or something to see if my opinion changes at all. I’ll keep you guys updated! All that being said, however, it has to be pointed out that this book does have a bisexual female character which is HUGELY important. Representation in novels is key my friends! So definitely check this book out and don’t let my bitterness over teen angst deter you from reading this!

Have you read both books? Did you like Leah on the Offbeat?

Felicia x