Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli Book Review

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.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Going into Leah On The Offbeat I was a little wary. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Leah in Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda so I wasn’t sure how fun reading an entire book from her perspective would be. I had also been spoiled as to what the endgame was and I was cautious. It was one of my potential ships but I just wasn’t sure how Albertalli would handle it. I trusted her though because both of the books she’s written so far have been phenomenal so I went into it with an open mind. I’m really glad that I did because it was honestly amazing. I think I like it even more than Simon VS( yes it’s that good.)

First off while the reception to this book has been for the most part positive, I’ve seen some really disturbing reviews where they describe it being akin to fanfic and talking about how they much prefer the interactions between simon and his boyfriend than the actual couple that was being highlighted. That’s not okay. You may well as say that you just don’t like books with sapphic characters because that’s really what you’re implying. How is Leah ending up with a girl fanfiction??? You do know that are sapphic couples in real life right? They just don’t exist in fiction so I really fail to see how on earth Leah On The Offbeat is like fanfiction. Also your fetishization of mlm couples is showing and it’s disgusting. It’s really disheartening for people to fame over male gay couples and then completely disregard female ones. It’s disgusting and your queer phobia is showing.

Anyway side rant aside, I think that having a book entirely centered around Leah was the perfect way for me to really appreciate her as a character. In Simon Vs. I found her to be a little cold and just not that of an appealing character but reading from her perspective made me really understand who she was. Seeing her innermost thoughts and insecurities really helped me to understand the persona she put forward. Leah is the amazing fat bi Slytherin MC that we all deserve. I related to so much of the things she went through especially how she catastrophized everything and as an anxious person the way she blew everything out of proportion was very relatable.That scene where she was prom dress shopping was lowkey me last year. I’ve never felt more seen. I also really related to the way she approached her sexuality and honestly Leah is such an amazing character and honestly one of the most relatable characters that I’ve read in a long time.

Becky Albertalli honestly just has this amazing way of writing teen characters that feels so authentic. She understands teens so well and the way she crafts all of her characters is amazing. Her incorporation of diversity is also impeccable and you can really tell how much it matters to her. Since she’s an allocishet white women she hires sensitivity readers to make sure the rep is good and unproblematic. Shes just such a great example of an ally who’s aware of her privilege and never tries to overstep and it’s really amazing to see her write books with amazingly diverse characters.

I also really appreciated how even the side characters were well developed. Obviously since this is a sequel to Simon, we’ve already established side characters but I really loved how we got to see all the characters from the previous book. It was of course first and foremost a book about Leah but you had some really great moments with Simon, Blue, Abby, Nick, Garret and just all of the characters you loved in the previous book. I did feel as though the way that Nick was treated during the book wasn’t the best and I just wish there could have been more of a resolution in the end. Other than that, it was amazing and I loved seeing our favorite Creekwood students freaking out of over prom ( that American doll scene has me in tears it was so funny oh my god) and college. I’m really sad that Becky is never coming out with more books in the simonverse but I think that Leah was the perfect conclusion. I’m just sad that it’s over and we’ll never know more about these amazing characters. I’m going to miss Creekwood.

While I was wary about the endgame, I found myself loving it to bits. I am not a person that cries because of books which is kind of weird because I cry all the time but Leah had me in tears many time. Not really because it was sad but there are so few popular books featuring f/f couples so this book really meant a lot to me. Becky is one of the queens of contemporary and knows how to create the best chemistry and Leah was no exception. It was adorably cute and I’m so glad that that’s the direction that Becky decided to take with Leah’s love interest.

Update: I just saw a review written by the wonderful Marianne where she highlighted a scene that was problematic and hurtful. I am bi and to me it didn’t catch my eye as being problematic but that doesn’t mean other bi ppl won’t get hurt by it. I rlly recommend reading her review so you go into the book knowing what you’re getting into. I also lowered my rating from a five to a four point five to reflect this problematic scene.

Advertisements

Adult Books For Those Just Getting Into The Demographic.

Okay so I’ve always kind of read Adult and YA books interchangeably and have favourites from both demographic and I’ve never really had trouble getting into an adult book but I know there’s a lot of people who have trouble finding an adult book that they enjoy so I’d thought that I’d just recommend some adult books that are fun reads that may help you if you want to read more adult books.

1. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult.

I love all of Picoult’s book but out of all of them I think Nineteen Minutes is the best one if you’re most used to reading YA. I think even some of the POVS are teens. Anyway it’s a very heartfelt book that will keep you captivated until the very end. This is the first book I read of hers and ever since I’ve fallen in love with particularly everything she writes.

2.Can You Keep A Secret by Sophie Kinsella

If you like contemporary YA novels then Sophie kinsella books are for you. Her shopaholic series are pretty good but sometimes the cringey aspects are a little too much while her standalone definitely curb back on the second hand embarrassment. They’re all hilarious and one of the few books that had me actually laughing hysterically but my favorite is probably Can You Keep A Secret. It’s just a tad bit more hilarious and amazing than the rest. But honestly if you pick up any of Sophie Kinsella’s Books you’re in for a wild treat.

3.The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

All of Hosseini’s books are absolute tear jerkers that are masterfully written. Kite Runner isn’t my favorite one of his( that honor goes to And The Mountains Echoed) but I think it’s the best one to read if you’re used to reading YA. Hosseini has a really beautiful but simple writing style which is amplified in the Kite Runner are part of the novel follows the Mc’s life as a child. His books discuss very difficult topics so I’d be wary of that. It’s really worth the read if you’re able to read them though!

4.The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill.

Lawrence Hill is another phenomenal writer that has a beautiful but simple writing style. The books he writes are absolutely phenomenal and I couldn’t recommend them enough. Book of Negroes is very difficult to read emotionally as it talks about slavery so there’s lots of tough and emotional scenes so again be wary of that. But the way Hill tells stories and creates characters is amazing and everyone needs to read The Book of Negroes. It really is worth the read.

5.The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

I’ve read all of Albom’s books and have loved almost every single of them. He’s most well known for The Five People You Meet in Heaven but this one is my favorite. His books are all very quick reads that really pack an emotional books. This book in particular is so interesting and even though it’s been quite a while since I read it, i remember how enraptured I read while I flew through the book. His plots are always super unique and he just writes about things that you’d never really think of. They’re all super fun reads and I’d recommend all of his books but The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is where I’d recommend you start.

6. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

If you like thriller or horror type books then this book is for you. When I pieced up this book at the library, i only checked it out because I had heard some people talk about it but I wasn’t sure if I would even like it but damn this book blew me away. It’s so creepy and weird and just such an unique novel. To this day I haven’t read anything quite like it. If you’re ever in the mood to be disturbed then this book is definitely for you. You won’t be disappointed I promise!

7. 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Can I really have a list about adult books without including Stephen King? For the longest time I refused to read anything by him because I’m not the hugest fan of horror but I finally caved and read 11/22/63 and I absolutely fell in love. Since then I’ve read a bunch of his books and am slowly making my way through the rest of his books which is going to take quite a long time because damn he has a lot of them. Even if you’re not a fan of horror, I really recommend 11/22/63 because it’s not a horror novel at all and it’s a time travel novel which follows this dude as he tries to stop the assassination of JFK. This book is absolutely phenomenal and even though it’s like 700 pages long, i flew through it because it’s amazing.

8. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender.

This is honestly one of the weirdest books I’ve ever read but it’s weird in a great way. It’s one of those fools that you just really need to read to truly understand what it’s about. I wouldn’t even technically consider it an adult book because the entire book follows a child but that’s what goodreads classifies it as soo. Anyway I really recommend it, it’s weird, it’s emotional, it’s interesting and unique and I mean the title and cover include cake how can you not read it?

9. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

I honestly don’t know why I love this book so much but I just do. Time travel books are my favorite thing ever so I guess I’m just destined to love everything that contains time travel. I’m at this book at its core is basically a romance novel but it’s just such a beautiful and heartbreaking romance that I can’t help but to fall in love with it. No matter how many times I read it, I never lose interest and find myself,f time and time again astounded at how the plot develops. If you’ve watched the movie and weren’t a book fan, I’d recommend still reading the book because the book goes much more in depth and is just 100x more amazing.

10. The Martian By Andy Weir.

This book is hilarious!! I never thought that a book about a dude stuck on mars would interest me but it’s just so fun to read! There was quite a bit of scientific discussion but it was sprinkled with so much humid that I didn’t even mind. It’s honestly one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. The movie is just as amazing but I highly recommend reading the book if you haven’t already because the book just has a little bit more jokes.

What are some adult books that you love?

Nope Book Tag

So I realized that I haven’t done a book tag in awhile and I saw this tag on my feed and it seemed fun so I decided to do it! I mean who doesn’t like to talk about the books they don’t like?

NOPE. Ending: a book ending that made you go NOPE either in denial, rage or simply because the ending was crappy.

Mockingjay. That book was just so disappointing and a horrible way to end an otherwise great series. It was confusing and fast paced in the worst way and it just ruined the entire Hunger Games trilogy for me.

NOPE. Protagonist: a main character you dislike and drives you crazy.

Martin from Simon Vs the Homo Sapians Agenda. He’s literally the worst character ever and I hate him so much and he’s trash through and through.

Nope. Pairing: a “ship” you don’t support.

Any ship with Draco. I mean yeah I love Draco with all my heart and he’s a fascinating character but pairing him with Harry or Hermione or basically anybody from Hogwarts is so weird and makes me really uncomfortable. He bullied them consistently throughout the school years, shipping him with anybody would be such a weird dynamic.

NOPE. Plot Twist: a twist you didn’t see coming and liked.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. That plot twist still has me reeling two years later. It was amazing and so well done. Kate Morton really knows how to craft an amazing story

NOPE. Genre: a genre you will never read.

Erotica or like pure romance novels. Yeah nah I’m good. It’s just really not my thing and not something I could see myself ever reading

NOPE. Book Format: book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition.

I really don’t like hardbacks. I mean I do like them and they’re beautiful but they’re so much more expensive which is why I buy all my new books in paperback.

NOPE. Trope: a trope that makes you go NOPE.

Love triangles! They’re so frustrating and annoying and I hate them and it’s usually really obvious who the Mc will end up with.

NOPE. Recommendation: a book recommendation that is constantly pushed at you, that you simply refuse to read.

People don’t really recommend any books to me but anything by Sarah J Mass. I have 0 interest in any of her series and will never read anything she’s written. There are so many other books that I’d rather read.

NOPE. Cliche: a cliche or writing pet peeve that always makes you roll your eyes.

“She let out a breath she didn’t know she had been holding.” WHAT?! HOW?! it’s just so annoying and cliche and every time I see it in a book I cringe. It’s so annoying.

NOPE. Love Interest: the love interest that’s not worthy of being one.

I honestly can’t think of anything right now. I’m usually a pretty big fan of all love interests.

NOPE. Book: a book that shouldn’t have existed. a book that you just don’t like.

13 Reasons Why. This book is so problematic and I hate how everyone loves it and the TV show. It’s a horrible representation of mental illness and it just shouldn’t be a thing. Plus the author is trash so it’s just an overall shit show.

NOPE. Villain: a villain you would hate to cross.

Levanna from the Cinder series. God she’s the best villain ever but she’s terrifying.

NOPE. Death: a character death that still haunts you.

****’s from the Book Thief. I will never be over that death. It was so sad and like all of the deaths in that book were sad, but that was definitely the saddest.

NOPE. Author: an author you had a bad experience reading for and have decided to quit.

I read one book by Francesca Zappia called Made You Up and hated it so even though I know her latest book is supposed to be good, I have no interest in anything she’s written.

Save The Date by Morgan Matson Book Review

Summary:Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future. (less)

My rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via netgalley in exchange for an honest review,

Morgan Matson is honestly the queen of contemporaries. I read Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour three years ago and that was probably my first real introduction to YA contemporary and ever since then I’ve been hooked. I’ve read all of her books except for one (Second Chance Summer) and they never fail to impress me. They’re a fun quick read which is guaranteed to leave you swooning.

I read someone’s review on Save The Date and they said that it reminded them of a movie and the minute I saw that I couldn’t stop thinking of this as a movie. I mean everyone knows that wedding movies are honestly the best and Save The Date is filled with the most hilarious shenanigans so can a movie of this please happen? It would seriously be epic.

As with any book by Morgan Matson, the characters were amazing! I especially loved all the different sibling dynamics we saw as Charlie interacted with all of the, throughout the book. They all had such interesting character traits and and were all very complex and I really liked seeing their personality and relationship develop. Though this book takes place over a very short period of time we learn a lot about them and they really grow and their point of views change a lot. It was really interesting see just how much they change and how much the wedding weekend affected them.

While I really liked Charlie’s( the main character) relationships with her siblings I just wished we would’ve gotten just a little bit more insight into other aspects of her life. While it’s very clear that her family is very important to her, I would’ve liked to seen just a little bit more surrounding her passion for journalism or her best friend so we got a more rounded perspective of her personality. At times I found her a little annoying because she was SO obsessed with her siblings and it just felt like a little much at times.

Despite this being a Morgan Matson book we don’t really have a clear romantic interest. I mean of course there is romantic elements which I absolutely adored but the focus was really family which I really appreciated. So few contemporaries focus on family so I really appreciated romance taking the back burner because it’s usually the other way around. I would’ve liked just a little bit more scenes with the potential love interest because what little scenes we did get were amazingly cute but all in all I’m really happy with the way Matson centered the Book.

Station Eleven By Emily Saint John Mendel

Summary:An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains – this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

My rating: 5/5 Stars

When this book first came out and everyone was obsessing over it, I looked at the summary and though it didn’t seem like a bad book, it just didn’t interest me that much. I didn’t think that a book about the apocalypse could possible be something that I’d be interested in.  I mean sure I love dystopian novels as much as the next person but postapocalyptic situations have never been my favorite take on that genreAnyway so I found this book at a charity store for a dollar and a couple of weeks later I picked it up on a whim and I fell in love. This book is amazing and it’s definitely one where you need to read it to really understand the hype. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend doing so even if the summary doesn’t necessarily drag you in. It’s a gem and definitely worth the read.

I’m not sure if I’m able to exactly pinpoint what it is that I love about this book. I think it’s the way Mendel develops the story and sets it up so you have parts that are set in the past before the plague hit and then you follow multiple people who exist in the wasteland after the disease has wiped out almost all of the earth’s population. It’s so weird and interesting to see the contrast between the two timelines and it makes for a very jarring experience. I also really loved the way that the setting was not a central focus of the novel and it was very much a character driven novel. I feel that oftentimes with books like these character development was sacrificed for a good plot but this book had amazing characters with a plot that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Though many authors attempt to that, very few are good at it and I think that Mendel did a fantastic job of creating a balance between the two.

Honestly I think my favourite part of this book is how everything is connected somehow. You’re introduced to a lot of different storylines throughout the book and you don’t really understand how it’s all related at first but the more you read, the more it starts to click and everything starts to fit like a puzzle. Everything is connected in this really fascinating way that makes you look back at what you read and just be amazed at how Emily Saint John Mendel built all the storylines to connect. It was absolutely brilliant and it was so much to read.

This is just a small thing but I loved how it was partially set in Canada and the fact that the author is Canadian. As someone who lives in Canada I have a soft spot for anything Canadian related and I always love seeing Canadians authors become popular. It’s really nice to see because it always seem that the Americans get the spotlight.

Have You Read Station Eleven? Have You Ever Read a Book That You Didn’t Think You’d Enjoy But Ended Up Loving?