ARC Review: Leah on the Offbeat

Leah on the Offbeat


Title: Leah on the Offbeat

Author: Becky Albertalli

Series: Creekwood, #2

Publisher: Penguin

Release Date: May 3rd 2018

Rating:

Four Stars

In this sequel to the acclaimed Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – soon to be 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. 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 realises she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“We graduate in less than three months.”
And in that moment – for a split second – I feel it. How short that is. How soon everything changes. It’s strange because good-byes are a thing I can understand intellectually, but they almost never feel real.

Everything is changing for Leah now she and her friends are preparing to graduate. Prom is approaching and college acceptances have been made, but Leah slowly finds her group fracturing as relationships break down under the pressure of becoming long distance and friendships turn sour due to college rejections. Then, on her college tour with Abby, Leah finds herself struggling with feelings for her friend she thought were long-gone.

Leah has always been the odd one out among her friends, and we didn’t get a lot of her in Simon Vs. so I loved getting to know her more in this book. Leah was very much a character I could relate to, and while there were some parts of this book I wasn’t comfortable with overall it was a brilliant read and I loved seeing all my favourite Creekwood characters again, especially Simon and ‘Blue’.

“Leah.” Mom shakes her head. “You’ve got to stop doing this.”
“Doing what?”
“Burning everything to the ground whenever something goes wrong.”

Everything is changing for Leah and revealing she is bi, confronting her feelings for Abby, are just two more big changes on the horizon. However Nick is still reeling from their breakup so can Leah really act on her feelings if it means hurting her friend in the process, and what about Leah’s prom date, who clearly wants to be more than friends and who definitely isn’t Abby.

I really loved Leah on the Offbeat, however I do wish we’d got a little of the story from Abby’s perspective. The single person POV worked well in Simon Vs. because like Simon we didn’t know who ‘Blue’ was. One of the things I loved about Simon Vs. was the coming out story and Simon’s journey, and we didn’t really get that to the same extent in this book. It was all about Leah growing as a character, facing the end of high school and her feelings for her friend, and while I loved that I feel like Abby’s story would have added to it.

…The Characters

“I swear, people can’t wrap their minds around the concept of a fat girl who doesn’t diet. Is it that hard to believe I might actually like my body?”

Leah is sharp-tongued, stubborn and unapologetic, she stands up for what she believes in and doesn’t really back down. Also I loved that we got a curvy main character who is confident in her weight, she doesn’t feel the need to diet or slim down to fit in. One of the things Leah did which I definitely identified with was fall down at the first sign of a set-back; something small goes wrong and Leah’s ready to give up completely, which is something I’ve done a few times in the past.

There’s a lot of vulnerability in Leah’s character. She only has her mother and she isn’t as rich as the rest of her friends so she can be on the outside but she doesn’t let that show. I thought the relationship Leah had with her mother was well written. Even though her mother works long hours and has a new boyfriend she’s interested in her daughter’s life, and clearly wants the best for Leah even if Leah doesn’t agree.

“Are you asking me to prom, Leah Burke?”
“Yes,” I say flatly. “We’re literally standing five feet away from your boyfriend, and I’m asking you to prom.”

Abby feels more lost than her friends do as high school comes to an end. She doesn’t think her relationship with Nick can survive the long distance of their colleges and she wants college to be a fresh start. Abby struggles with her feelings a lot in this book, which is why I would have loved to see more from her POV. She isn’t sure if breaking up with Nick just before prom is the right thing to do, and she feels guilty for what it’s done to their group of friends.

The dynamic between Leah and Abby was an interesting one. Leah is closed off around Abby because she isn’t sure of herself around the other girl, but Abby is more than willing to reach out and open herself up to Leah, hoping the other girl will reach back. Abby isn’t sure what she feels of Leah, and makes some mistakes trying to figure it out but neither of them are perfect.

*Spoilers for Leah on the Offbeat below*

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.”

One of the things I hated about this book was when Abby came out to Leah as ‘a little bit bi’ and Leah pretty much turned around and said that wasn’t a thing, that Abby was either bi or she wasn’t. I don’t think you can ever tell someone how they can come out, or that their feelings and how they identify themselves isn’t valid. Someone’s sexuality and their coming out is very personal, you can’t tell them that they’re wrong and I don’t like that Leah did that to Abby.

*End of spoilers*


This is a great sequel to Simon Vs. and it was brilliant getting more from my favourite characters. It has all the characters I loved from the first book, and continues their story in a way that feels real. Everyone struggles with the idea of moving from high school to university, and the fracturing of relationships and friendships that comes with it, and I loved seeing that represented in this book.

What did you think of Leah on the Offbeat? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.

41 thoughts on “ARC Review: Leah on the Offbeat

  1. I just bought this the other day and I can’t wait to read it. I’m glad I’ve only read good reviews about it. This review is awesome. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I adored this book! And your description of Leah of so accurate. I also just posted a review, and i would be so happy if you could check it out! x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one! After reading the book and watching the film, I’ve been wanting to see more of Leah and her story. The book sounds lovely, despite a few things. It’s disappointing to hear that Abby wasn’t gifted a POV, especially since she’s already an established character. But it’s well enough that Leah’s story has been shed more light on. Great review, Beth. Really excited to pick this one up some day 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure you’ll love this one then Azia (wasn’t the movie incredible BTW?!) Leah was a great character to follow, and yeah I think I would have rated this one a little higher if we’d had Abby’s POV as well, shame but not a deal breaker you know?
      Thanks so much Azia. 🙂 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh the movie was absolutely fabulous. Such a wonderful film. And perfect casting too! Can’t wait to get started on Leah’s story whenever I get the chance 😀
        Of course ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Beth ❤ Great review! I am half-way through so I haven't read the spoiler parts, however I loved reading your thoughts about this book 🙂 I really enjoy the book so far- it's proving to be just as addictive as Simon and Upside. Looking forward to seeing how Abby and Leah's relationship develops!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Sophie, and oh yeah definitely a good decision. I want to make sure whoever is reading my review but who hasn’t read the book yet wasn’t spoiled (because there’s nothing worse right?)
      Definitely, and I loved all the Simon and Blue cameos as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I loved the scenes with Simon and Blue, as well as the cameos with the characters from Upside 🙂 It’s awesome that they’re all part of the same universe. I am almost done (about 15% left) and I get what you mean about wanting to hear more from Abby’s POV!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Some book are harder to review than others, right? Although I liked Leah, I didn’t enjoy it as much as Simon vs, so now I have to figure out what rating to give it haha 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh that’s great to hear. I really hope you love it but either way you definitely have to let me know what you think.
      Ha, possibly because of the POV’s we see Abby through. She’s one of Simon’s best friends and Leah has a crush on her so they kind of paint her in a loveable light you know?
      Thanks so much. 🙂 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay, I didn’t end up finishing my current read as planned so Leah will be postponed for a few days. 😭 Will definitely have to post about it once I finish though!
        I guess that’s true, the characters all do show Abby to be an adorably sweet person so I can understand it from a real world perspective.
        So looking forward to reading it! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha, don’t worry I’ve done that in the past. You can never tell how long the book you’re reading is currently going to last, but don’t worry Leah on the Offbeat is going to be worth the wait! 🙂 Yeah, it’s why I would gave liked seeing some of the book from Abby’s POV because then we would have got more of an insight into her character rather than just how the others saw her. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I agreed with so much of this! The quotes you included were the best, haha. Also I think you’re right about the scene where Abby came out; it made me kind of uncomfortable to read. Abby didn’t have to label herself if she didn’t want to. It was still a cute read though, and I’m glad you liked it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. 🙂 Yeah while I was reading this I made a note of my favourite quotes so I could use them in this review! 😀 She definitely didn’t, at the end of the day it’s Abby’s sexuality so it’s down to her what she identifies as. At least that’s how I saw it.
      Definitely, and thanks. 🙂 ❤️

      Like

  6. I really liked this review! I hadn’t considered what it would have been like if we’d gotten Abby’s POV, but I do think that could have been interesting. As for the part where Leah and Abby talk and Abby’s sexuality, I was a little iffy on that, but I don’t think the point was that Leah WAS deciding Abby’s identity. She was upset bc she saw it as Abby not fully claiming her identity, but Abby did call her out on that. I don’t think either of them were fully in the right in that situation. But it’s a pretty grey area

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, yeah I mean in Simon Vs it made sense we didn’t get ‘Blue’s’ POV but I would have liked it if this book had been told through both. I think it would have added to the story a little.
      That’s a good point, and yeah I do see what you mean there but for me personally it’s not where my head went when I was reading it for the first time you know? Definitely a grey area though, but I was glad Abby called her out on it either way. 🙂

      Like

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