Leah on the Offbeat (Simon Book 2)
By Becky Albertalli
Genre: Contemporary/Coming of Age
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Bang Bang Review
Firstly, I didn’t know this was a book 2 to Simon until I saw it on the cover. I figured the characters would be the same but I just thought it was a standalone.
Secondly, I’ll skip the plot synopsis because you don’t need that.
Thirdly, this will be the last book I read by Alberalli and here’s why:
I’m WAY over 18 years old and Albertalli’s books are not written for me. Most YA contemporary are written for teens, you say. Yes, but there are a lot of YA contemporary books that contain themes that transcend age and I think Simon did just that. It discussed love and acceptance and friendship where as Offbeat discussed high school problems-prom and where will I go to college? I could give two shits about those things as I’m no longer in high school and therefore cannot relate.
I had an issue with the love interest because it seemed to come out of left field. I didn’t see any hints in Simon but if I’m wrong, please correct me.
The whole Morgan is a racist thing was forced tension and took me out of the story. I don’t think Morgan was racist; I think she said something racially insensitive and took too long to apologize. In The Hate U Give, Star’s friend repeatedly said racially insensitive comments over time and she tried to justify her behavior. Morgan said one thing and now all of a sudden she’s racist. Many of us have said insensitive things; that doesn’t make us the worst name you can call a person. Anyway, it was forced and pointless to the plot.
Leah was a far better character in Simon. She was insightful and witty and relatable. In her own book, we are stuck in her head all day and it’s full of tropey teen angst and bitchiness-what did she mean when she said that? Why did he look at me like that? UGH- TEEN PROBLEMS! Leah didn’t like her mother’s new boyfriend-how many times have we read this trope. Leah’s attitude about this situation seemed out of character. Leah is supposed to be a cool chick but her attitude about the new boyfriend was that of a basic chick and once again-TEEN PROBLEMS! Albertalli offered no new insight on a teen dealing with her mom moving on.
Just like The Upside of the Unrequited, this book was not written for me and I couldn’t pull any relatable themes for a person my age. There were too many characters to connect with any of them and the more round characters displayed no nuance-this includes Leah. Albertalli isn’t adding anything new to the coming of age narrative. I do think teens will like it and I will recommend it to teens but not to adults.