Book Review | Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

36531619It’s the final year at high school, and whilst drummer Leah is usually pretty good at hitting the beat, this time she’s decidedly… off. Despite having a large group of friends, she feels like the anomaly, and even though her best friend, Simon, is openly out, she’s too afraid to tell him her own sexuality. With university around the corner, Leah feels her friendship group begin to fracture, and struggles to figure out how to fix it.

To begin with, I would just like to thank Becky Albertalli because never ever have I read a character who I relate to as much as I relate to Leah Burke.

A few reviews I’ve read said that Leah’s abrasive personality hindered their enjoyment of the book, but she was just so similar to me that I really felt it. Her torment over going to uni, feeling like a constant anomaly, her fatness, her worrying about her friends and family and feeling like she shouldn’t get involved with anything, thinking that wherever she goes she’s always the extra, and especially her avoiding text messages on the constant… yeah, did I just describe myself or Leah Burke?

Some things that Leah (and, indeed, other characters) said and did a lot of people have been damning her for, but do you want to know why I’m praising her for it? Because it is human. Leah made mistakes, she withhold information because she was scared, and she is one of the only characters I think I have ever read who actually acted as a real person. ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR BECKY ALBERTALLI PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

For me, the plot was kind of the sideline in this book, because I was so distracted by Leah and my fave, SIMON! Simon is the main character in Simon vs the Homo-Sapiens Agenda, and honestly it was so great to read about him again. He and Bram are SO! FRICKIN! CUTE! I love. (I also love Simon saying “I’m shook” at the climax of the book. It just made me laugh so much.)

The plot was… predictable. Sorry! I called it! I was kinda hoping that Becky would pull the rug from under us and change how I thought it was going to, but it was just so damn predictable and let’s just say that it never happens that way in real life. I was kinda mad, kinda happy. Overall, a bit confused.

This book was such a cutesy, summery read (although the majority of it is set in March??) and I’m really glad I read it. I wish there had been a bit more about fatness in it, because Leah has such great body positivity and I would’ve loved to have read more about that, but I really enjoyed it overall. Despite loving Leah, there wasn’t quite enough to push the book to 5/5, but I’ll definitely give it 4/5 and a place back on my shelf! Also… I desperately need to reread Simon Vs. Like, now.

Rating: 4/5

Source: bought from… Waterstones? I think.

If you liked this, you might also enjoy… The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli