Rating: 5/5 stars
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 centre 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 mum, and her life is decidedly less privileged. 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.
Like everyone else who loves YA, I read Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and fell head over heels in love with it. Therefore I was quite scared when I discovered that there was a sequel but it did not disappoint. Leah On the Offbeat is a wonderfully YA that I love and wish that I could push into the hands of everyone. Definitely one of my favourites of the year! I wish I could give it all the stars!!
I think that one of the best parts of the book obviously the fact that it is told through the eyes of characters we know and love. Of course, this is Leah who I love throughout the book. She is fun, interesting and lovely to read about. I especially like the fact that her Mum is from a lower economic background as this is something that you see in YA and definitely explores those troubles. I also loved the way that her weight was dealt with in the book especially from someone who is overweight themselves it was great to see myself represented in a book that way. Also, I loved Leah's Mum to death and she too was a great character which is nice to see as many of them YA parents are not developed in this way.
You, of course, have the gang back together and it is interesting to read about the different dynamics that are seen in the book that are different to Simon Vs. I especially loved reading out the relationship between Simon and Blue seeing it develop of the course of the story because obviously, not everything goes to plan. There is of course also Abby and Nick and I really love how Abby developed through the book and developed in her relationship with Leah. I had all the feels. Although I love the book to pieces I did find that Nick was slightly off in the book. It was completely understandable to the plot but it was a little weird but did not prevent the overall plot for me.
There were many things that I also really loved about the book. Leah having a hobby for a start which she was passionate and good at. It's the little things. There is also a couple of Love Simon references which were a nice touch and definitely made me laugh. I also adored the fact that there are also references to YA books throughout which was meta but also great! The book also tackles rascism in a small way which was nice to read about especially with Leah calling out another character in the book. The relationships were definitely the thing that I loved seeing develop in the book and were the best but it was also lovely seeing the struggles and trials of school and university being tackled in the book. I just loved everything about it and it was so damn cute. Just read it!
Leah On The Offbeat is everything that a sequel to Simon Vs. needs to be. It's cute, it's funny, it's heartwarming, it's the book that everyone needs to read. Like now.