Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood, #2)by Published 24 Apr 2018
|Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood, #2).pdf|
|Publisher||HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray|
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.
"Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood, #2)" Reviews
FINALLY A GIRL LIKES GIRL BOOK!!
There are so many YA contemporary romance going around where it's boy likes boy (and that's awesome!) but I'm so happy we get to see a different version. This book was adorable!
The characters were attaching, funny and just angsty enough. If you're looking for a fun summer read, I totally recommend both Creekwood books. It was really nice to go back to this world and continue to explore it. I'm actually sad it's now over!
3.5 stars (I’m not happy about it either)
This book has caused me a lot of turmoil.
When I was reading it, I didn’t think it would be 5 stars. The ending was my FAVORITE though and that gave me the confidence to give it a high rating.
But even after that, I still was doubtful of the 5-star rating. Certain characteristics about Leah rubbed me in the wrong way, and there was one scene in particular that I outright hated. It wasn’t until I kept talking with friends who had read this and seen others’ opinions that I decided: This was not a 5-star read for me.
(Also I think one of my main worries about not rating this 5 stars while rating Simon Vs. 5 stars was that someone would accuse me of only liking m/m… which is ridiculous because I’m a sapphic person and I’ve also read and loved f/f.)
I’m just… really sad and disappointed right now!! This had the potential to be something amazing but [sigh] there were just really big issues that I couldn’t ignore. I literally rated this 5 stars, wrote a gushy pre-review, wrote a “it’s release day!” and “it’s #1 on the NYT Bestselling list!” review and yet here we are at a 3.5-star rating.
The first problem I had with this that just kept nagging me after I finished it was that, in the wise words of my friend Elise, this was “less narratively coherent” than Simon Vs. The plot was kinda sorta REALLY all over the place—it’s hard to discern a specific plotline in this book—and was also slow at times. (I do think my experience was affected by me reading an ebook though. Pacing always feels different for me when I read ebooks.)
My second issue with this is that there was… hardly any romantic development between Leah and her love interest that took place during the book’s time period? Listen I LOVE the relationship (and even teared up over it at the end) but most of the development happened BEFORE the time the book was set in and it annoyed me. It felt like they had chemistry, lost it, and somehow got it again but only because they had had chemistry before.
If that didn’t make sense, that’s exactly how it felt to read this book.
And then of course, there is a horribly hurtful scene that happened, and I don’t even know how it made it into the final draft with the sensitivity readers Albertalli hired. *slight spoiler warning and CW for policing of sexuality* Basically, Leah’s love interest tells Leah that she feels like she is “lowkey bi”, and Leah tells her that she’s either bi or not, pretty much policing her sexuality.
It is not okay to say that to someone. It is wrong and hurtful to police the way someone identifies, ESPECIALLY when that someone is questioning their sexuality.
Now this might’ve been okay if it had been acknowledged as an issue later on, if Leah had apologized to the love interest about what she said. But it wasn’t. And that’s a huge problem.
I can get Leah’s point of view a little bit in this, as a bi person. It’s kind of like a defensive stance that Leah is taking—“lowkey” bi can read as “maybe not really” bi. And I think bi people especially are told to “pick a side” and that they’re “confused” and that they “aren’t really bi”, just straight at one moment, gay at another. BUT. I personally read “lowkey bi” as “questioning if I’m bi or maybe another label”. That was me when I was questioning. And even if Leah meant it in a defensive way, it was HURTFUL to her love interest and she should have apologized. And she didn’t.
And finally, my issues with Leah herself. She is very abrasive and blunt and pessimistic… and that’s cool. That’s fine. That’s completely okay. But there are so many instances where she treats other people like crap and it’s… not okay. I’m aware that people relate to the way she reacts to certain things (especially when she’s anxious), and that’s valid, but she lashes out at people and is rude to them and doesn’t apologize. A LOT of my issues with this book could have been resolved if Leah would just apologize for her crappy actions. But. she. DOESN’T.
But! This book was not all bad!
I love the humor in Albertalli’s books. Loved it in Simon Vs., and I love it here. Leah’s humor, Simon’s humor, everyone’s humor. I LOVED IT ALL. It is an overall hilarious book and I laughed and smiled over so many things and iconic moments. Albertalli’s sense of humor is really similar to mine and I genuinely adore it. Honestly just read Elise’s review; it’s full of the hilarious iconic moments of the whole book.
Another thing I loved was: SIMON AND BLUE !!!!! I swear my heart burst into millions of 💘💓💕💖💗💝💞 each time one or both of them showed up. They make ME genuinely happy, and each other. They’re so cute. I LOVE THEM.
Other characters I really loved were Abby and Leah’s mom. I’ve always adored Abby and I think her character was quite well-written in this book, and Leah’s relationship with her mom was such a gem!! And I mean… I really did love Leah at a lot of parts. I’m in love with her sense of humor, she says a lot of genuinely hilarious things, and she had so many great parts to her personality that I loved. (It was just the way she sometimes acted towards people and didn’t apologize for hurting them that kind of ruined her character for me.)
Also, Nick deserves to be written better. What happened to him. I LOVE HIM.
Another thing I really liked was that there were a lot of really important messages in here! There’s one scene where Leah immediately shuts down her friend’s claim that Abby got into a college and the friend didn’t, because Abby was black and she was white. Later, when Leah discusses it with Abby, Abby talks about how she has to deal with that kind of thing as a black girl all day, every day. And since Leah is fat, we see a lot of thoughts from her about how others view fat people—Leah questions why fat and beautiful are opposites—and how it makes her view herself—she talks about how even if she likes her own body, someone is always there to tell her not to.
Also: the romance. I know I had issues with its development, and one particular scene, but god if I don’t ADORE THESE TWO together. A majority of my highlights are of Leah and her love interest being cute and gay together. The chemistry between them is kinda wacky when you think about it but also they’re such a perfect couple and I was so engayged in the story that I didn’t really noticed it? I was so immersed with the two of them. And I love the ending. It’s adorable and perfect for these two soft girlfriends. My favorite line is “I mean, she didn’t seem so straight when she kissed me” because that is the ultimate mood.
Anyways. I’m really conflicted about this, because I really enjoyed it but also had some pretty big issues with it? I truly loved the humor and the romance (IT WAS SO CUTE) and a lot of the characters, but I really can’t, in good conscience, give this more than 4 stars, even if I really want to.
Also I’m still salty and annoyed and frankly exhausted about this, so: Before you think that saying a book has a happy ending or not is a spoiler, think about if it features queer characters or not. Think about how queer media in the past and STILL TODAY has ended in tragedy for the queer characters. Think about how queer readers don’t want to read books that have sad endings for people like them. (Also your homophobia is showing because I KNOW y’all wouldn’t be saying this kind of thing about books with an allocishet romance.) And one more thing: You can say you want to discover whether the ending is happy or sad or whatever and that’s perfectly fine. But just keep in mind that if you’re allocishet and you read a book and discover that it’s a sad ending for the queer people, you probably aren’t that affected. Queer people aren’t afforded the luxury of “discovering it for themselves” and not being affected by a sad ending. It HURTS to see a queer character like you not get a happy ending while all the non-queer characters are completely fine and happy.
And (one last thing I swear) HOW THE HELL is saying that Leah gets the girl a spoiler when it’s been promoted as an F/F BOOK by the author herself. F/f book = a major, ENDGAME f/f romance in the book. It’s not rocket science, jesus christ. I swear to god if I said that the boy gets the girl or the girl gets the boy, none of y’all would BAT. AN. EYE. (And even then, you wouldn’t say anything based on the assumption that the boy and girl are both straight. Which is gross.)
All right rant over I hope you all find yourself an f/f book where the girl gets the girl in a happy ending and enjoy!!! And I hope these two lovely girlfriends are having the best time doing gay things and living their gayest lives!!!
:: rep :: fat bisexual female MC, black questioning-if-bisexual black female LI, gay male SC, black Jewish gay male SC, black Jewish SC
:: content warnings :: policing of sexuality/labels, fatphobia (challenged), biphobia (challenged)
*insert ‘its not you, its me’ speech here* :'(
i think its time for me to break up with miss becky albertalli and this book is what helped me make that decision. the dedication to this basically admits its her writing fanfiction of her own book, and it definitely shows. every other word was some sort of reference, the whole progression of the plot (if you could even call it that) felt forced, and leah was just sooooo unlikable. honestly, i found myself just skimming for only the parts involving simon. and even then, most characters didnt even feel like the same people i met in simon vs. i know this book is the ultimate dream come true for so many fans and i am beyond happy it was everything they hoped for and more, but the execution of this story just wasnt for me.
Unpopular opinion coming up!!
Soooo usually i'm a VERY easy to please reader, and Simon vs. the homosapien agenda is my precious baby,so when Leah's book was out, i IMMEDIATELY started it with zero hesitation and left all the books i was reading.The thing is... i kinda wish i hadn't...? I'M SORRY BUT THIS WAS A DISASTER.
To me, it felt like Leah was a way different character than the one in Simon's book.In this one she was moody, angry all the time at PETTY REASONS AND being bitchy to her mother, who loved her unconditionally and was ready to do anything for her. Also treating Garrett badly...Seriously, if you don't like Garrett THEN JUST TELL HIM FFS!! not to mention how she always referred to him as "only Garrett", which really annoyed me.
AND THE MORGAN DRAMA WAS WAY TOO MUCH EVEN FOR ME. I literally live for the drama, usually im the one starting them too lol but THIS!! It occupied like a quarter or more of the book, and just because one comment??? Just to be clear, I'm NOT implying that what she said was okay, but Morgan said that because she was mad and wretched, people say things they dont mean when they're feeling that way. She also felt reallyyyy bad about it, and Leah took it too far *shrugs*. And as i recall Leah was really mean at some points and no one called her out for it, except her mom thank god.
This is just my opinion, and ik many others have different point of views and love Leah and can relate to her.I really wish i liked Leah too since i was head over heels in love with her in Simon... but i didn't....Okay this review is over, im gonna go and hide now...
I'm the worst kind of Slytherin. I'm the kind who's so stupidly in love with a Gryffindor, she can't even function.
Leah. What can I say? At times I love her, other times I don't get her. I'm glad she got her own novel, though. There was a lot going on in Leah's head that we did not see in Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. And of course, with this book, we're invited to revisit all these amazing characters from the previous Creekwood book. And this is the point where my criticism sets in.
The first 150 pages of the book were a bit of a disappointment. They focused much more on the kids from Creekwood than on Leah herself. It almost makes you forget that Leah is the main character of this story. Abby, Nick, Garett, Taylor, Bram and Simon get so much spotlight that they push Leah out of it. It feels as if Becky is a bit too much in love with her characters. But I can't really blame her for that. They are a lovely bunch. However, the same thought occurred to me again toward the ending. Everything is so well-rounded and all the characters somehow found ultimate happiness. Which is amazing, but unrealistic. Trying to get so many characters' background stories between roughly 300 pages is impossible and it flattened they characterisation, in my eyes.
Let's talk about Leah. At times I struggled to connect with her. Her negativity and rudeness were often annoying and seemed to come out of nowhere. She hardly ever apologised. She treated her mother like shit. You might say that she acts that way because she is anxious, self-conscious and insecure, which I wouldn't exactly disagree with. It's still no reason to be a dick whenever something doesn't turn out the way you want it to. And overall, Leah is a confident character, who is outspoken and loves her friends. So, as I said, sometimes I don't get her.
Last but not least I need to say that this is still a wonderful YA novel that freely celebrates diversity in all colours, shapes and orientations. Many people, young and old, will love this book and hopefully also learn from it.
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