Leah on the Off Beat is on numerous listicles for 2018 but for CBR Bingo purposes it is located on BookBub’s 20 of the Biggest Teen Books for Adults coming in Spring 2018.
Albertalli revisits the Creekwood social circle of Simon Spier with the narration falling into the less capable hands of his friend Leah Burke. Leah is an overweight, Harry Potter obsessed drummer who has always known she was bisexual but failed to come out to her best friend Simon even after he had a dramatic outing himself the year prior. This point really stuck with me because, for all the good Albertalli is doing with the Creekwood series, it felt like bisexuality was being used as a plot device and was shoehorned into an existing universe because it was more likely to be successful. Part of me kept wondering if I would have liked the story more if everything stayed the same but was with new characters in a new locale.
“Leah.’ Mom shakes her head. ‘You’ve got to stop doing this.’
‘Burning everything to the ground whenever something goes wrong.”
Leah, Simon, Bram and all their friends are finishing up their senior year of high school and the friend group is beginning to fray as college grows closer. Leah, who has always felt different from her friends because she is poor and has a very young, single mother, begins to struggle with the romantic feelings she develops on one of her
(straight) female friends. The whole plot surrounds Leah’s inner turmoil but nothing really happens which made this ultimately a pretty lackluster read.