Book review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

4/5 stars

After having read and loved Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I was really excited for this one. More funny and adorable YA? Yes please!

I did really love this one too, it’s definitely well written, and as cute and funny as the last one, though I enjoyed Simon vs… more. Part of that was the mystery – who was Blue? And part of it was that I – strangely – found it harder to relate to Leah even though we’re technically more similar. She’s very sweet and funny, but I also found her incredibly exhausting. It’s like she freaks out about everything, all the time. It makes me feel a little bit like the drama is partially manufactured because if she would just not freak out about every little thing, the main plot could have been resolved a lot faster. In Simon vs… I felt like the drama that there was was more natural.

I mean, I vividly remember how stressful it was to be a teenage girl, awkward and insecure, wondering if your crush returns your feelings but too afraid to ask. But, though Leah has friends she apparently is not comfortable with confiding in any of them, though they’ve given her no reason not to trust them. This part is a bit hard for me to swallow. Sure, her dad left and she has abandonment issues (same), she’s relatively poor in an affluent neighbourhood (same, sorta), but her friends are great and they love her. As a teenager I definitely had at least one friend at any time that I’d confide completely in. I don’t feel like there’s a believable reason for Leah not to have this.

So, anyway… This is the story of creative, angsty, funny, intelligent and secretly bisexual high school senior Leah Burke. She’s a drummer in a band, and she has a secret art tumblr where she posts her drawings. She’s very talented, but second-guesses herself, which is very relatable (well, the second-guessing part is… ;-).

We follow Leah and her friends through the last few months of high school, leading up to prom and the stressful stage of college/university acceptance letters and potentially life-changing decisions. It’s a bittersweet story of friendship, growing up and letting go. And of course there’s a love story, and heartbreak and intrigue.

It’s a super cute story about a pivotal time in life, and I think most people will recognise some of the trouble and the feelings these teens experience. But more than that it’s just plain feel-good. If you want the warm and fuzzies, read this.

 

 

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