Wednesday, 29 April 2020

REVIEW: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Pages: 343
Format: Paperback
Series: Creekwood #2
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: April 30th 2018
Genre: Contemporary
Buy The Book: Book Depository

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually right on the beat - but real life is a little harder to manage. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And she hasn't mustered the courage to tell her friends she's bisexual, 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. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high and 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 can’t believe it’s taken me this long to read Leah on the Offbeat. Simon vs. is one of my favourite contemporary books, so I was super excited to read about Leah in her own story, especially with how much I love her attitude. The book got a little lost in my TBR for a while, but I finally managed to pick it up whilst in lockdown.

It follows Leah through her senior year at Creekwood, preparing to go to college. The very same college that Abby Suso is going to. After Abby breaks up with Nick, she and Leah grow closer as they team up to pay a visit to their future college campus, and Leah struggles to figure out what she should do.

Leah is so torn throughout this story because whilst she may come across as sharp, cool, and collected, she never wants to do anything that would purposefully hurt her friends. She knows what her ever-changing relationship with Abby will do to Nick. She also wants to avoid being hurt herself whilst Abby figures out what she wants.

There are so many aspects of Leah’s character that I could identify with. Her love for anime and fandom, her passion for art, and her doubts about change. All of those things made her such a real character to me because there were emotions present that I FELT IN MY BONES. There were pages and quotes that called out to me so much it was PAINFUL. Leah’s thoughts and feeling about certain things just resonated with me so goddamn much.


I did have a few things that didn’t sit completely right with me when it came to Leah, mostly because of her immediate reaction to Abby calling herself lowkey-bi. On one hand, I can understand how that might come across to someone who has known they are bisexual for a long time. But on the other, Abby is a high school senior who is confused as HELL. As someone in my twenties who still feels confused about sexuality and what, exactly, I should identify as, any high school student has every right to not know how to define themselves, and it’s perfectly okay.

On a quick side note: I LOVED REUNITING WITH SIMON AND BRAM SO MUCH.

  • FRIENDSHIP GROUPS. Friends play such as important part in this book, not just in terms of how much they support in each other, but also in acknowledging flaws. When Morgan makes a racist remark, Leah immediately calls her out on it, not allowing Morgan’s hurt feelings to be an excuse. 
  • REALISING YOUR SELF WORTH. One of my favourite parts of this story is Leah learning that her art is something she can make money from, and that she shouldn’t doubt whether people would want to pay her for her work. 
  • CUTE GIRLFRIENDS. Leah and Abby’s relationship development is beautiful. The prom scenes at the end? THE ABSOLUTE CUTEST.
  • LEAH’S HUMOUR. The laughing I did during this book. She has such flawless comic timing.

This was the wholesome, fun read I needed during lockdown, so I’m glad I finally rescued it from my shelf. It’s a story that deals with such an overwhelming time in a young person’s life, and it manages to make the changes of leaving high school look a little less daunting. I loved getting the chance to see Leah and Abby shine in a book of their own.

Royal Rating:
 

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