Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 24th, 2018
Page Count: 368 (Hardcover)
From the Jacket:
When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic.
She’s an anomaly in her friend group: 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.
It’s like it doesn’t even matter if I like my body, because there’s always someone there to remind me I shouldn’t.
Leah Burke is my spirit animal. Becky Albertalli has created a character that I admire the hell out of, aspire to be like, wouldn’t mind dating, and would like to be BFFs with all at the same time. She is confident, completely comfortable in her own skin, and has enough sarcasm in her inner dialogue to rival Chandler Bing. Leah on the Offbeat is the second installment in the Creekwood series, with a focus on Leah this time, but still including all of the characters we fell in love with in Simon. Thrown in with a whole bunch of Harry Potter references are, a big school play, parties, band practice, college tours, road trips, friend fights, breakups, prom, a hefty helping of angsty love, and just so much witty banter. Albertalli tackles the uncertainty that comes with moving on after high school, staying true to yourself even if it means sacrificing relationships, and being brave enough to choose a path that is entirely new.
I sat down to read a few pages of this the other night and ended up reading the entire thing in one sitting. It was hilarious and uplifting and took me right back to all of the best and most uncertain parts of my high school experience. The group is nearing the end of their senior year and everyone is preparing for prom and life after college. This is not your typical high school story, however, as we have an unapologetically fat, bisexual girl as the main character. Oh how I wish this book had been around when I was a teenager. I had really high expectations for this one because I was so enamored by Simon and really wanted more of these characters. As soon as I got my hands on a copy, I put down all of the other books I was reading to start it (sorry not sorry).
With all of the hype surrounding it and my extreme love of the first one, I was worried I’d be underwhelmed, but that wasn’t the case at all. I’m still partial to Simon and Bram, and I did miss the interactions between Simon and his family, but in Leah, we get an entirely new love story (that I was not at all expecting) to crush on and a new family dynamic. I really loved how Albertalli wrote the relationship between Leah and her mom and her mom’s boyfriend, who she is just entirely unimpressed with. Her inner dialogue anytime she is around him or is being forced to talk about him is savage and just so hilarious.
There isn’t a single thing I didn’t love about this book. It has all of the charm and wit of Simon, so if you’re looking for more of that you should definitely consider adding Leah to your list. I plan on reading all of Albertalli’s books and I just got an ARC of What if it’s Us, which she co wrote with Adam Silvera. I cannot wait to start it!