“Leah.’ Mom shakes her head. ‘You’ve got to stop doing this.’
‘Burning everything to the ground whenever something goes wrong.”
― Becky Albertalli,
Leah on the Offbeat
By Becky Albertalli
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.
I adore Becky Albertalli. Her writing style really speaks to me. Honestly, the way that she crafts characters is incredible. Leah on the Offbeat is the second book in the Creekwood series, and the third in the universe of Simon. Thsi set this book up for success, because I loved both Simon and the Homosapien’s Agenda and The Upside of Unrequited.
In this book we are met with characters that we already know and love. Yet, we are told the story through a new perspective, Leah, Simon’s best friend. It was so nice getting to see the characters in this world again and see how their stories progressed.
That being said, I didn’t love this book quite as much as I enjoyed Simon. However, that was a lot to live up to. So, I can’t really blame this book. I hate going into books with expectations and I definitely had high expectations.
Now, I still gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars, because I still loved the storyline of the novel. The biggest issue I had with this book was that I felt like I couldn’t quite connect with Leah the way I did with Simon. I thoroughly enjoyed her perspective. Yet, I didn’t feel as emotionally involved with her. I’m not sure why I felt that way. But, there was a bit of a disconnect with me.
I did completely love the journey that Leah went through and the struggles she had in finding herself, accepting herself, and accepting others. It is a true coming of age novel. The story arcs gave me some real nostalgia and anxiety that ties to high school days. Albertalli has a way of writing about high school in a way that is relatable and real.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved Albertalli’s writing and I can’t wait to read more by her. I would definitely recommend this book.