Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli – Spoilery Review

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Title: Leah on the Offbeat
Becky Albertalli
Series Name: 
Creekwood #2
YA Diverse Contemporary
Publication Date: April 24th, 2018
Pages: 339 (Paperback)
Publishers: Penguin Random House UK
2 star

Goodreads Synopsis

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


This is the spoilery portion of this review! If you haven’t read the Spoiler Free section yet you will need to before reading this spoiler review. Find my Spoiler Free Review HERE!
This is mainly just where I want to elaborate on a couple things I spoke about in my Spoiler Free Review and also mention a couple other things that I had no way of discussing without spoilers.

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Firstly let’s talk about a few more things I had an issue with to do with Leah and elaborate on a couple things.

Let me talk about something I mentioned in the Anger Management Issues section. As I said half the time the reason she snapped was over nothing much. One example of this, the love interest, Abby & the guy Leah is leading on, Garrett is talking and they bring up the trip that Abby and Leah will be taking soon. Abby makes a joke and says “What happens in Athens stays in Athens” & Garrett replies with a raised eyebrow and a “Say no more”. They are just messing around but Leah takes it to a whole other level. She snaps & storms off and what is going through her head is that if Garrett is interested he should have taken Abby’s comment as a threat to his relationship and that if one of the guys said it there would be competition.
So first thing, he does know you are bi or that Abby is, so why would he think that is a threat to his relationship, my mates and I say shit like this all the time, that doesn’t mean we are hitting on each other… Second Abby has a boyfriend, yeah not everyone is loyal but you would think one of your friends wouldn’t go round actually flirting with someone else just to create issues in your relationship. Third, YOU ARE LEADING HIM ON!!! What do you care if he feels threatened anyway!
THENNNNN after this happens, the next day Garrett texts and apologises and Leah makes him promise to “stop being a dick” Uhm HI. He did nothing wrong except join in a joke! You’re the one throwing tantrums and acting like an ass.

My next point is actually related to the end of that last one and it is how Leah treats Garrett. Not only does she give him false hope and leads him on but she lies to him as mentioned in my spoiler free review. She also refers to him as ‘only Garrett’ more than once, like he isn’t even worth her time at all. She calls him annoying ALL THE DAMN TIME but in the book he does nothing annoying towards her except the awkward stages where he is nervous about how Leah feels about him and he is asking her to games or complimenting her and such. Not annoying, just nervous. If you have told the truth from the beginning this wouldn’t be happening because he would know you aren’t interested. Then there was this bombshell of a comment!
“I have to admit, I like the feeling of being pursued, even if it’s only Garrett. It just feels nice. And maybe nice is kind of refreshing.”
So you are leading him on because it feels nice to have someone interested in you. Wow bitch, wow.

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I just want to touch on something Leah thinks at one point. This has more to do with why the author included this than about Leah herself. So that is why this is in the writing section. I actually saw a picture of this quote on Facebook but didn’t realise it was from this book as the person didn’t say. But this is the quote
“The daily cringe, starring Garrett Laughlin. Today’s episode: Garrett missed the memo  about not calling women ladies
Overall, this is just confusing. I think I may have missed the memo on what the problem is with calling people ladies too. When I first read it I thought it may have had something to do with not assuming labels and prefixes and such. But in the sentence, she calls them women, so it obviously has nothing to do with what names/words people choose to identify with. So I have no bloody idea what the problem is with calling a group ‘ladies’… I understand some women not liking being called ‘madam’ as that has more that one meaning and the one people have an issue with is that it can refer to a female pimp of sorts in the prostitution world. However, if someone knows why ‘ladies’ is an issue please enlighten me because no one had an answer on that post I saw on facebook either. I even looked it up on Urban dictionary because I thought I might have missed something but no ‘lady’ there means pretty positive things. So I don’t know.

Okay, now next I want to talk about the biggest problem I  had and this was the one that I saw prior to reading the book and that is the “lowkey bi” situation. If you don’t know. In the book, Abby comes out to Leah as ‘Lowkey bi’. She is only just trying to come out and figure out her sexuality. She always thought she was straight, but with Leah, she is realising that may not be true. Which is great, a lot of people realise their sexuality when they meet a certain person that makes them realise.
The negative thing about this is when Abby comes out to Leah she completely shuts Abby down. She tells her that ‘lowkey bi’ isn’t a thing and tries to force her to come out as bisexual because she is just in denial. I’ll add quotes just so you get the full blow of it.

” “I don’t think I’m straight,” she says, and my heart almost stops.
“I don’t know,” she adds finally. “I guess I’m lowkey bisexual?”

“I don’t think that’s a thing.”
“What? It totally is.” She pokes my arm. “lowkey bi.”
“You’re either bi or you’re not. That’s like being a little bit pregnant.”
“That’s a thing, too. Why can’t you be a little bit pregnant?”
“I think that’s just called pregnant.”
“Well, I’m a little bit bi, and I’m sticking with that.”
I sit up. “I don’t get you.”
I shake my head. “Lowkey bi, a little bit bi. Just be bi. Like, come on.”
“What? No.” She draws herself up. “You don’t get to decide my label.”
“It’s not a real label!”
Well, it’s real for me.”….
“Jesus Christ, Abby.” I press my hands over my eyes. “I want you to stop messing with my head.”
“I’m not—“
“Seriously? Lowkey bi?” I laugh flatly. “Otherwise known as what—you’re bi, but don’t want to admit it? I’m not saying you have to march in a Pride parade. You don’t have to come out. But God. At least admit it to yourself.”…. “

This entire thing is not fucking on! Leah never even apologises for this or even ever thinks that maybe she was wrong. After she walks off it is never mentioned again and then later Abby just comes out as bi.
At no point should you ever force someone into a box or force a label on someone! If someone wants to come out as bisexual, awesome and if someone wants to come out as ‘lowkey bi’ that’s amazing too. In this instance, she was just trying to figure everything out and if ‘lowkey bi’ is what suited what she felt then she has every right to use it. After reading ‘lowkey bi’ I thought, yeah that makes sense a little for me too. I’m bisexual, I not sure if I 100% love that specific label as I feel that I like males and females differently, so lowkey bi also kinda works for me, still not spot on but it doesn’t have to be. Sexuality is about expressing who you are and who you are attracted to, everyone is different and there isn’t just one word to describe every group.

The lowkey bi thing really was the downfall of this book! I love Albertalli’s other books for the diversity and how it also sends a good message, to be who you are and choose what you want. But this does not sit right with me at all. This is not the only quote from this book that actually got under my skin. In a book where you are trying to relate and help people these quotes just aren’t fair. If you want to use quotes like this then fine, but have another character call that person out and make sure the person that says it realises how wrong it is, especially when it is the main character that we are meant to enjoy! Make a lesson out of it! But how it was used in this book, I just can’t accept that and I most likely won’t support this author again when these are the types of messages she is sending to readers.

 Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

Well, I think that is all I want to talk about. There were other things that bugged me, but I have been working on this review for 4 days now and I’m sick of pulling myself down every time I have to remember the hurtful shit that was in this book. So I am ending it here.



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Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Becky Albertalli
Genre: YA Diverse Contemporary
Publication Date: April 7th, 2015
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Balzer & Bray
5 Star

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Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

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You can find my spoiler free review of The Upside of Unrequited HERE!

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I honestly don’t like this cover, like at all. I like the cover of The Upside of Unrequited a bit more but still didn’t love it. The Simon cover just kinda looks cheap and basic and I just don’t like it.

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My opinion of Becky Albertalli’s writing is the same in this book as it was for The Upside of Unrequited! These books drag you in and you just get so invested in the lives of the characters in this book. I feel as invested in these characters in 300 pages as I would usually feel in the last book in a trilogy! These books are also really quick reads! Each I read easily in a day!

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I really enjoy that in Albertalli’s books there is the main plot, but also side plots going on, but they also feel like they are main plots too! I love that these books also deal with major topics but bring it into an awesome, funny and cute book! I just love everything about these books!

I’m not going to lie though, this book was a little predictable and I guessed who Blue was like half way through and was right.

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Again a pretty diverse range of characters! We had Gay, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Jews & Dark characters (I don’t believe it was actually stated what nationality Bran actually is, so I don’t want to make a guess). We also had people from divorced families, which I respect as being from a divorced family myself.

I really like Simon and being in his head for this story was hilarious. Just the way he thinks was so funny and a great perspective to read from! I feel like I can kinda relate to him too, but for the life of me, I don’t know how really as I haven’t been through any of these things myself!

There are a lot of characters I want to talk about, so I’m going to try and keep it to one or two paragraphs. And they are in no particular order of how much we see them in the book, I’m just writing it as I think of people.

Martin was an ass, I don’t care what happens throughout the rest of the book, I still don’t like him. He seemed genuinely upset at the end there though, so maybe he at least understands his mistake, even if it doens’t take back what he did.
I enjoyed Abby a lot, she was the cool best friend that you could do silly things with and there was never really an issue.
Nick, I was really excited to see as he was the one mentioned in The Upside of Unrequited that was with Simon at a certain thing, so when we meet him I was excited as! But also he is a cool character and I enjoy that nothing will get in the way for his love of both music and video games haha.
Leah was a little grumpy and annoying some times, but there was a reasoning behind it, but she was one of those characters that you just wanted to help feel better because even if she didn’t see ‘the thing’ coming, the rest of us totally knew how it would play out.
Garret, we don’t see too much of, he is just kinda in the back ground a lot of the time. Same with Bran, but I still thought Bran was the quiet and cute type.
I really liked their theatre teacher, she was awesome and passionate!
I also really liked Simon’s Sister Alice, she was understanding and caring, even though she wasn’t around. I also liked Simon’s Younger Sister Nora too, I don’t know how old she was but she seemed pretty mature for a younger sister and I liked that she was understanding as well. She was also caring enough to show Simon a certain thing rather than just ignore it and let him figure it out.

Those are all the ones I can think of right now, but I know there are more. But that is all I think!

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I really loved this book and from now on Becky Albertalli is an auto buy author. Even though I’m not a romance reader, I have a soft spot for LGBT+ romances. I think one of my main isues with romances in books as they are always so damn typical and over done! And it’s nearly always the same type of romance with similar characters. So for that reason, I don’t mind LGBT+ romances as they are usually more unique and also, being a bisexual myself, I like seeing these diverse characters!

Anyway, I love these books! They are fun, hilarious and cute books with amazingly diverse characters and great plots! I highly recommend them both!


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