Leah on the Offbeat

by Becky Albertalli

Paperback, 2019

Call number



Balzer Bray (2019), Edition: Reprint, 368 pages


Romance. Young Adult Fiction. Young Adult Literature. LGBTQIA+ (Fiction.) HTML: #1 New York Times bestseller! Goodreads Choice Award for the best young adult novel of the year! In this sequel to the acclaimed Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda�now a major motion picture, Love, Simon�we follow Simon's BFF Leah as she grapples with changing friendships, 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. She's an anomaly in her friend group: 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..… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member foggidawn
It’s spring of senior year. Everybody is talking about prom, and college, and Leah is feeling just a little out of step with her friends. Sure, she’s going to college, but she’s going to state school where she got a scholarship, rather than taking her pick of private schools up and down the
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east coast. As for prom, well, who knows? But the biggest issue is the secret she’s never told any of them, not even her best friend Simon...

I spent this whole book hating Leah, then loving her, then hating her, then loving her again. And laughing, because Albertalli’s writing is simply hilarious, even in the midst of the record-breaking amounts of drama Leah and her friends were generating.

Since this book is a proper sequel to Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I highly recommend reading that book first (and not just watching the movie; honestly, and you call yourself a book lover?). A few of the characters from The Upside of Unrequited get mentioned, but not so much that you will feel like you’re missing anything if you skipped that one (though I do not recommend that course of action). This is such a fun book!
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LibraryThing member Ray_
This was so beautiful I can't even!

I honestly didn't connect that much with Leah in the first book and to be frank she seemed like a dick, but then I read this book. And HOLY CRAP I LOVE LEAH!

I LOVED being in her head and reading her thoughts, I think Becky did really well in portraying Leah's
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anxiety and how she keeps overthinking stuff. I related to her in so many ways it hurts.

I was so happy to see my babies from [b:Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda|19547856|Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Creekwood, #1)|Becky Albertalli|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1402915678s/19547856.jpg|27679579] playing a big part in this book. I was literally grinning like an idiot whenever Simon and Bram made an appearance (They're so precious bloody hell!)

I really enjoyed this book, it was so light and fun to go through! I hope there would be more books in the Simonverse bc I can't seem to have enough!

Oh and one more thing:
Dear Garette, just in case you don't find the perfect someone for you

He's so cute and funny and adorable I just can't take it!
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LibraryThing member karenvg3
I appear to be on a roll and back in the swing of reading after slowly getting through a few books last month. I loved Simon so when I was processing this one at work I had to take it home. It was cute, fun, satisfying and I enjoyed it a lot. I loved Leah in the first book so it was great getting
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to read her story. And Simon and Bram 😍😍. 4🌟🌟🌟🌟
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LibraryThing member indygo88
This is a sequel of sorts to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (aka Love, Simon), revisiting a lot of the same characters, although with Leah (the drummer) as the main character. The group is now in its senior year of high school and they're dealing with college choices, relationships, upcoming
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prom, etc. Leah is decidedly bisexual, but hasn't revealed this fact to any of her friends.

I'm not going to lie. I loved Simon's book and I don't feel like any of Albertalli's follow-ups have been as good as that one. And that's okay. As with all of Albertalli's YA novels, there's lots of diversity in this one, and while that's good, I sort of feel like I did with her previous The Upside of Unrequited -- that she almost tried too hard to pack too much of it in there. And with Leah, you almost have to take her with a grain of salt. Simon was cute and adorable and endearing. Leah is more annoying and often unlikable, but yet in all honesty, she's probably a more realistic portrayal of a moody, dramatic teenager. So there's that. All in all, an enjoyable story with a decent amount of humor and fun banter back and forth between characters.
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LibraryThing member cavernism
This book was so cute! Yay for bi representation, and for talking about how confusing it is when girls flirt with other girls. I only had a few minor quibbles with the book - the ending felt a little rushed, but I loved getting a book about Leah's perspective and story. It captured the stressful
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frenzy of college acceptance in senior year of high school, and the realization that your friend groups and relationships will change when college begins, whether you're ready or not. (Also, this book features the best prom dinner reservation mix-up ever. I can't stop laughing.)
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LibraryThing member anxovert
"I’m pretty sure this is the kind of crush you can die from."

I loved "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" and I think this book was even better. :)

"“It was amazing,” I say. “It was unicorns vomiting sunbeams.”"
LibraryThing member readbybrit
where is my girlfriend!!!!!!!!!!!!
LibraryThing member fingerpost
I loved "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" which made this book a profound disappointment.
Two weaknesses.
First, the plot is thin for a 300+ page book. A group of high school seniors (the same group we met in Simon) is close to graduation. They are planning their lives after high school, and
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getting ready for the prom. Several tangled relationships are what the entire book is about, primarily bisexual protagonist Leah's crush on heterosexual (or is she?) Abby. These relationships and crushes are discussed ad nauseam.
The second and more serious problem is that Leah is simply a loathsome character. All of her friends are wonderful people... kind, thoughtful, generous, polite... Leah is moody, angry, ill tempered, selfish, jaded and generally a miserable person. She uses profanity like punctuation marks. (Granted, some people talk like that, particularly some teens. I myself do not enjoy being in the presence of such people, and neither do I enjoy reading a book in which obscenities are on nearly every page.) I found it impossible to believe that Leah's set of wonderful friends would ever have welcomed her into their clique, or that she would even want to be a part of their clique. I definitely couldn't imagine either Abby or Garrett having a crush on her, because there just wasn't anything in her personality to like.
In the end, she seems to have learned nothing, gained no insights into life, and is still a dreadfully self-centered and obnoxious person... but she gets everything she wanted.
I'll give it 1/2 star above one for a few chuckles here and there... especially when the whole gang goes to the dinner that Garrett kindly made reservations for on prom night.
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LibraryThing member sweetiegherkin
Leah and her friends are all getting ready to attend prom, finish high school, and move on to college, which leads to a lot of confusion and messy emotions. For Leah in particular, a lot is up in the air as she has not told any of her friends about her bisexuality or where her romantic feelings
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This sequel to Simon versus the Homo Sapiens Agenda takes on the perspective of another member in Simon's friend group. It's an interesting way to still have a 'problem novel' that deals with the same characters while allowing the previous protagonist to continue to live his happy ending.

Leah is another compelling character, although having her interior thoughts really helps with that. I found myself a bit frustrated with her from time to time when she was making problems worse by never speaking up. However, that is true to life and especially to teens, which is fitting with Albertalli's writing style that has a good grip on high school students and their issues (good or bad). Here she does tackle a number of heavy issues (e.g., racism, fat shaming, etc.), although in a fashion that still feels entertaining on the whole. Once again, the happy ending might be a little too neat for some readers, but it's nice to occasionally have a book that isn't all doom and gloom.

For the audiobook reader, Shannon Purser did a decent job. I felt like her narration style fit Leah's character well, but she didn't do a lot of very distinct voices, which could get a bit tricky in scenes heavy with dialogue. Her enunciation wasn't always super clear either meaning sometimes something like "fan girl" could sound like "fang earl" for a moment. After a while though, I got used to her style of speech and that seemed to help.
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LibraryThing member Shelby_Kuzma
“I shrug and clasp my hands, feeling suddenly small in Garrett’s hoodie. It’s that girlfriend feeling again, not that I’ve ever been anyone’s girlfriend. But I imagine it feels like this. Like I’m this tiny precious wanted thing.”

We first meet Leah in Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda
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when she is introduced as one of Simon’s best (if not slightly angsty) friends. Although we don’t know it in the first book, Leah is bisexual, but she has yet to come out to any of her friends. In this installment, we follow her through her senior year of high school as she navigates through firsts and lasts, and really grows into herself.

There were a lot of things I liked about this book. I liked getting little glimpses into the lives of Simon and Molly (from The Upside of Unrequited). I liked watching Leah grow up and become more kind and more empathetic to her fellow classmates. I liked all quotable moments (and there were a lot). I liked being able to relate to the fear of putting yourself out there and trying something new. I liked that I can laugh and cry in the span of just a few pages. I [obviously] LOVED all the Harry Potter references.

However, of Becky Albertalli’s book, I think this one was my least favorite. Part of the reason for this is that Leah is not a very likeable character. She has a lot of angst going on, and she is kind of b**** sometimes. She holds grudges, she is so stubborn, and she is self-centered. While I still enjoyed reading about life at Creekwood High School through Leah’s eyes, I didn’t connect with her the same way I connected with Simon and Molly. My favorite parts in this book involved Simon (sometimes with Leah... and sometimes just Simon).

I am still SO glad I read this book; I flew through it! In a lot of ways, this books reminded me of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I anticipate that if you enjoyed that one, or either of Becky Albertalli’s other books, you will enjoy this as well!

I genuinely hope Becky Albertalli never ever stops writing. She knows how to write real characters and real(ish) high school relationships. I know she co-authored another book with Adam Silvera set to come out this fall, and I could not be more excited. Thank you, Becky Albertalli, for another beautiful story.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

“‘Am I the worst person?’ ‘Well, no,’ says Simon. ‘That would be Voldemort.’”
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LibraryThing member Linyarai
I enjoyed this more than I expected to, it was a typical teen prom drama, but I got sucked in.
LibraryThing member snickel63
I love that this book has a good amount of Simon in it from Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda (Love Simon). It is a coming of age story and it is cute. The main character reminds me of how high school is and how scary college can be. It’s a great story for anyone that loves to read young adult
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LibraryThing member Noeshia
Leah is great, annoying, but great. I say annoying because Leah and her overthinking are just like me sometimes and I annoy myself when I do that. It's nice to learn what really was bugging Leah in the first book, and even better to see some bi representation up close. Anyway, this is the story of
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someone who overthinks learning to let go just a little, and if you need that, then you should check this one out.
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LibraryThing member DrFuriosa
I can't even with all the drama and anguish in this book. I'm actually reasonably angry that this book centered on the chasing-a-straight-girl plot that populates so much of queer women's cultural texts. I'm glad Becky Albertalli gave us a bi character, but not at the expense of nuance or the
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integrity of her world in the previous book.
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LibraryThing member Rhianna410
Honestly, this felt like bad fan fiction of the (really good) first book.
LibraryThing member reader1009
diverse teen fiction (fat, bi teen has crush on her friend's black, questioning girlfriend, other LGBTQA characters graduating from a high school in Georgia)
Apparently other people find Leah annoying and one-dimensional, but I think she's hilarious and snarky, just like the rest of her friends
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(though maybe a bit angsty, as in "I don't even know what I want, but why is this happening to me?"). I may have liked Simon's story (Creekwood #1) better but honestly don't remember much from it at this point. So, this works as a standalone, too.

LGBTA notes *spoiler alert* : Leah sort of jumps all over Abby for saying she's only "a little bit bi" meaning that she'd heretofore been attracted only to males, but finds herself attracted to Leah. Abby did respond with the fact that "other people do not get to choose her label" (paraphrasing here), but I thought Leah's attack was sort of unfair (sort of like how some gays don't accept bisexualism as a real thing when in reality there is a whole spectrum of things people can identify themselves as--even if "a little bit bi" isn't, perhaps, the correct term if that's really what they mean). But Leah was already having a rough month, and I could understand why she'd be angered by her perception of what Abby was saying. I'm of the opinion that the whole process of questioning/coming out to people can be hard enough as it is and Leah should probably have been more sensitive to that (I don't remember her apologizing for it later; instead Abby revises her statement to say she's totally bi after they've made up and come out to their friends).
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LibraryThing member Completely_Melanie
I went into this book with kind of low expectations. I had read The Upside of Unrequited and gave that a 3.5, and I read Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda and gave that 5 stars. After the reviews I heard about Leah on the Offbeat, I was expecting this to rate closer to a 3, but I actually ended up
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liking it a lot more than I expected. Yes, Leah is very snarky, but I feel a lot of that has to do with low self esteem issues that she has. This story is supposed to be about her trying to figure out how to come out to her friends as bisexual. Coming out to her mom was easy, but coming out to her friends is a little trickier. Also she is dealing with feelings that she is having towards someone. Yes, all of that was part of the book, but to me the whole book was really about this group of friends that are all graduating high school and getting ready to spread out all over the place going to different colleges or in the case of some not going to college and how they all are adjusting to this part of their lives. Some people will have to say goodbye while others become closer. This aspect of the story is why I enjoyed it so much.
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LibraryThing member kevn57
I liked this just as much as the first book in the series and in fact I liked Simon even more in this book then I did in his. I think the reason for that is when Simon choose the college that was the better fit for him then just following his boyfriend to NYC. But Leah was so pissed at Simon for
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coming out to Abby first but she'd known far longer that she was bi and never told Simon even after he came out. She actually comes out to Abby first too in this book.
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LibraryThing member clrichm
Loved this almost as much as I did Simon.
LibraryThing member BarnesBookshelf
It's nice to return to the world of [book:Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda|33535964] and to see our favorite characters from the first book again. I would love to see a book that focuses on Abby, since she is a major player in both books. Leah is very much a stubborn teenage girl, which makes for
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some frustrating moments, but it's nice to see her grow out of her cynicism over the course of the book.

The book is a quick read, very modern, and quite humorous. The dinner reservation scene for the prom is my favorite scene in the whole book.
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