All the books I wanted to listen to from the library are on hold and I won’t get them for weeks. So on a work trip a few days ago, I decided to check out Leah on the Offbeat. I thought both of Albertalli’s previous novels were so adorable, so I figured Leah would be the same. My conclusion? Yes, there were adorable parts, and I laughed out loud and smiled. But there were things I didn’t like as well.
Title: Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood #2)
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release date: April 24, 2018
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Length: 343 pages (hardback)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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.”
Overall I really did enjoy the book. I understood Leah’s sense and need to keep her friend group together as senior year of high school draws to a close and everyone readies to go off to college. I liked hearing about Leah’s struggles as well, not only at school, but the once she has to face at home, too, and how she often became embarrassed for a multitude of reasons: she’s fat, not out as a bisexual, and her mom is young and single. There are a lot of luxuries she doesn’t have that others in her friend group do, even Simon (who is definitely a precious cinnamon roll in this book).
And despite that… I found Leah irksome, confused, and a bit tactless sometimes. The whole thing with Abby was kind of meh. I didn’t think Leah gave her supposed friend any respect as Abby started questioning things, and then Leah completely dismissed Abby’s confession. I definitely did not enjoy Leah in these moments, and hate how she did this to Abby when she couldn’t even bring herself to come out to her own friends, even those she’s really close with. And truthfully, I wanted more of the band thing. This is something Leah has confidence in, and I would have loved to seen this explored. Leah’s relationship with her mother was fun though, despite the times they didn’t agree. Her mom trying to be a “cool mom” was completely hilarious. (And it’s just so wild to thing I’m only a few years younger than Leah’s mom!) In terms of Leah’s friend group, I really adored all of them.
I really enjoyed the writing style. I find contemporary easy to consume and often every quick reads. This was true for Leah. I don’t spend a lot of time around teens, so I really commend the authors who are able to write in such a realistic way. Maybe this sounds silly, but I’ve tried to write contemporary and it’s such a struggle. I also got a good laugh at the constant mention of Waffle House as Husband and I both have an aversion to it, lol. And is it true that people call it WaHo? How funny!
Check out these reviews of Leah on the Offbeat:
- Kaylin wrote an “unpopular opinion” review on Goodreads
- Christy at The Reader Bee wrote a glowing review!