Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli – Spoilery Review

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

Cover-LeahOnTheOffbeat

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.”
“What?”
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.

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!

Lizaxx1

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Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli – Spoiler Free Review

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

Cover-LeahOnTheOffbeat

Okay, so I have read this and I have a lot of thoughts to share. I will be splitting this review into Spoiler Free & Spoilery! I will post both at the same time but you will need to read this one to understand the spoilery one. You can find the Spoilery review HERE!! This review also won’t be following my usual format, I will basically just be saying whatever I think of at the time.

I will try and use some quotes, but  I will use the name BOB for all character names in said quote so as no spoilers.

Okay, so I didn’t particularly like this book. Originally I was thinking about setting this review up as ‘what I loved’ & ‘what I hated’ but honestly I didn’t enjoy much. I wouldn’t even say I ‘liked’ much, it was more things that I didn’t like and thinks that I didn’t absolutely hate.

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However, what I did like was Simon & Blue. I am saying blue, so as not to spoil Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I did enjoy their relationship in the book. I’m not a romance person but they are cute. They add a little ray of sunshine to this not so great book.

Second I do like the range of diversity, even if I don’t like how the bisexual situation was handled (see that in my spoilery review). We had LGBT characters, POC, half Chinese, Jewish and more.

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My main problem with the book is the MC, Leah. It’s been a while since reading Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda so I didn’t remember a tonne about Leah, so I can’t fully comment on whether she has changed as that seems to be a lot of peoples problem in this book. However, I can talk about some of the reasons I didn’t like her.

1. Firstly, the amount of inappropriate negative things that goes through her head is just beyond a joke. She judges nearly everyone that isn’t in her direct friend group & even some of them get judged actually. Let me give you a quote!
“I have a theory that BOB literally gets off on the sound of her own voice. I’m pretty sure she’s having tiny secret orgasms right before our eyes.”
Then there is how she thinks about her friends. She describes one friend as “embarrassingly hetero”. No girl, no. Unless someone actually straight out tells you at some point that ‘I am straight’ then don’t go around thinking shit like that! You got angry at other characters when they assumed hetero things about you?!?! How is that any different from what you just did?!
2. She leads people on for no better reason than half the time she forgets they exist and the other half it makes her feel nice to be wanted (see spoilery section for a quote). She also half arse attempts to tell the truth a couple times but changes her mind because it will be awkward. Of course, it is awkward, you are about to reject someone that you think has a crush on, it’s going to be weird. But you NEVER LEAD SOMEONE ON!! It is not fair on them at all and it is just so damn sad! Then she has the nerve to get up a different character later on for leading her on and sending weird signals!!! UHM HELLO!
3. Her every second thought contradicted the one before it. As you can probably see by reading my first two points here. She gets annoyed when people assume she is straight but she does the same thing because that person has a boyfriend. Uhmmm, bisexuals like both, so we can blend in pretty well with the straight people sometimes.. She leads someone on and then later has a go at another character because she thinks that character is doing the same thing. This happens more than just these two explains, but I could be here all night explaining each.
4. The way she treats her mother, Jessica, my god. She is rude, blatantly doesn’t care about her mum’s opinions on things & the way she acts about her mum’s boyfriend good lord. She can’t just accept that her Mum is happy and likes this guy, no he is just a douche because he has a fancy job and money and offers to help them out. Let me give you a quote that literally floored me. I had to pause and make sure I read it right because I was shocked.
“”Why do I love BOB?”
“I get the money thing, obviously.””
Do you think so little of your mother that she would be in a relationship with someone just for the money? It would be different if she was draining him of money and buying fancy stuff and holidaying and crap like that, then you might be able to breach that subject with her. But no your mother still works her ass off to barely make ends meet, even with a rich boyfriend! So that makes no damn sense! And my god if I said that to my Mum I would get a whack around the ears. Apparently, respect for parents has gone out the window. I always complain that parents are absent in most YA but this bitch has a really nice caring and kinda fun Mum and she treats her like crap!!
5. THE LYING!!! You literally lied to someone that you went to a soccer game when someone asks you to come to the game and watch them. You felt like shit, I get it but instead of straight out lying you could have just told him you weren’t feeling up to it because that is the TRUTH! Good lord she lies sooo damn much it is not funny and in her head, she is always thinking ‘oh I should have told the truth, too late now.’ No girl you turn your arse around and march back over that and tell the truth! They are your friends and even best friends! Come on!
6. Definite anger management problems. Literally, someone would do something or say something that Leah didn’t like and she would throw a tantrum and storm off. Most of the time the thing that set her off was something that meant absolutely nothing (Again see the spoilery section for explanation and quotes).

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Now let’s talk about the writing a little.
1. Firstly we have the romance, I won’t say who, but I will say that it is plainly obviously about 60 pages in who the love interest is going to be. I also kinda felt like at the start the interest felt fake. It felt like this for a couple reasons, one for how the author wrote their interactions and how Leah reacted to those interactions. She could barely function whenever the love interest talked to her, but she had NO IDEA that she liked this person even a little apparently. The other reason was that it was just over the top. Leah’s every thought is the love interest and every single time she is described as perfect but confusing. It was like the author was just trying to emphasise that this is the person Leah has a crush on, just in case you missed the first 50 hints. It just felt so forced and fake. It felt a little more realistic towards the very end though and that is where the story just turned into a typical soppy YA love story.
2. Next, we have the references to pop culture. Usually, I don’t mind a couple, but in this book, it felt like these references were just being thrown in to be relatable. They were all over the place really.
3. How many times a page can one person use ‘God’ as an exclamation?!?! I don’t know, but you will find out in this book.
4. If Leah doesn’t say once a chapter that she ‘doesn’t understand’ the love interesting and that they are confusing, she says it like 20 fucking times a chapter!
I literally wrote in the thoughts part of Bookly while reading this “If she says she doesn’t understand BOB one more time I will throw this book across the creek on my walk this arvo”

Goodreads Synopsis (3)

Uhmm what plot??? It is basically none existent. This is more pure romance than Becky’s other books. Like Simon had the blackmail situation & Upside there is a bit going on, there is the romance, the anxiety, the stuff with her and her sister, there is their Mum’s wedding & so much going on. But in Leah there it is literally just a typical high school romance and prom. The only difference from half the prom type movies & books is that there are gay people involved.

Also what little plot there was present was very predictable. I knew basically the whole plot after the first 1/3 of the book and I was pretty spot on. This is why I don’t read contemporary! Real life is too damn predictable. It’s not like in fantasy where you think you have everything figured out and then the love interest turns into a bloody werewolf or something! I need unpredictability!!

Goodreads Synopsis (4)

Besides Leah, Simon & Blue the other characters kinda felt a bit weird or flat to me. There was one character who completely went off the rails after a breakup but it was never mentioned how he sorted that out in the end and whether he calmed down as the story cut off before any chance of that happening. There was also a racist side character that just kinda felt like it was thrown in there just for a plot point. It didn’t actually add anything to the book except an argument & that a POC has to deal with comments like that often.

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

Well, I think that is all. If you want spoilery thoughts as well go HERE!

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!

IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS please do that in the spoilery post.

Lizaxx1

Purchase any of the books mentioned from Book Depository! World Wide Free Shipping.

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April 2018 Anticipated Releases

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Okay, so again I only have 3 books on this list again but again I am really keen for them! I already have an eARC of one of them and I can’t wait to get my hands on the other two. However, the pool I’m working at is closing for the season in April and won’t open again until September. So as I will be living off the money I make in my at home beauty salon I won’t be able to purchase any books for a while. I will be relying on my huge TBR pile and on the Scribd app.

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Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

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Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 416 (Paperback)
Publication Date: 10th, April 2018
Publishers: Harlequin Teen

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Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

Leah on the Off Beat by Becky Albertalli

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Genre: YA Diverse Contemporary
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
Publication Date: 24th, April 2018
Publishers: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray

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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.

Queens of Fennbirn by Kendare Blake

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Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 240 (Paperback)
Publication Date: 3rd, April 2018
Publishers: Harper Teen

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Uncover the sisters’ origins, dive deep into the catastrophic reign of the Oracle Queen, and reveal layers of Fennbirn’s past, hidden until now.

The Young Queens

Get a glimpse of triplet queens Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Katharine during a short period of time when they protected and loved one another. From birth until their claiming ceremonies, this is the story of the three sisters’ lives…before they were at stake.

The Oracle Queen

Everyone knows the legend of Elsabet, the Oracle Queen. The one who went mad. The one who orchestrated a senseless, horrific slaying of three entire houses. But what really happened? Discover the true story behind the queen who could foresee the future…just not her own downfall.

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What are your most anticipated releases for April? Are you looking foward to any of these?!

Lizaxx1

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