Tuesday, 21 August 2018
A Review of Leah on the Offbeat
Under a cut because I doubt I can talk about this book without spoiling it. It's hard to even write a summary without spoiling.
No-one is ever going to believe me at this point, but back when I first read Simon, I thought that Leah's jealousy of Abby might be more jealousy around Abby. The scene from the movie where Abby dresses as Wonder Woman almost convinced me, too. At first, I thought this was going to be another book about a bi girl falling for a boy. Not that we don't need those books - we need narratives about all types of relationships, and all types of people. But I had seen it crop up often recently, so this book was a refreshing change.
Also, did I not mention that Abby and Leah are the actual cutest? Because they are!
Leah is in many ways a realistic teenager. She's not going to try and make an effort with her Mom's boyfriend just because it would make her Mom happy. She's going to complain and make a big deal about it. This is sad, because Wells is genuinely trying - the scene near the end where they go shopping made me happy. But I could be the same at her age, and some people will be able to sympathise with her concerns, like money. She's also got my Harry Potter and anime side, too. And I loved her passions in both drumming and art!
Something I did love was the anxiety representation. I am someone who needs a lot of alone time, and when things go wrong, I need to process it by myself. This has caused issues in the past with friends of mine with anxiety. So, I learnt to better articulate and explain exactly what was going on in a way that didn't cause them to worry. This was no problem for me to do, and I hope this book means more people may come up with other ways to help out others with anxiety.
This is one of the first books I've seen of it's type that could naturally slot in the characters and references to the plot of another book. Sometimes, when characters from another book pop up, it can feel forced, but with Leah being part of Simon's friendship group, there were reasons for them to be there. This feels much more like a sequel and continuation of Simon's story, while still being a novel of Leah's own.
Also - did anyone actually still care about high/secondary school gossip once they moved away to Uni? Leaving out the few people I kept in touch with out of a genuine desire to, I really didn't pay attention to what was going on with most of them. The last page didn't really feel authentic, to me.
Recommended for those who would like to learn more about different types of sexuality, anxiety and fans of Simon!