Hello, lovely people!
We’ve all seen the movie Love, Simon. A lot of us have also read the book it was based on, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Well, have you read the second book? The one focused on Leah?
That’s the one I’m talking about.
It’s called Leah on the Offbeat (hello, title of this post).
Leah: Can you imagine the first character is Leah? She’s (surprise) bisexual, but only out to her mom. She’s also fat, a fact that rears its ugly head a couple times, even though she’s comfortable with her body.
Abby: We remember Abby, right? She’s dating Nick, she’s the sweetest summer child we have ever met. She’s also black, which is important both for diversity and plot reasons.
Garrett: Garrett has a huge crush on Leah (not a spoiler, because the reader can see it, even if Leah can’t). He’s a tall, blonde, blue-eyed soccer player.
Nick: Nick is also a soccer player. He is also black. He’s Abby’s boyfriend who just so happened to get the lead in the school musical the first time he tried in senior year.
Simon: Oh, our lovely Simon. He’s in a happy, committed relationship with his boyfriend Bram. The sweetest little gay baby I’ve ever had the pleasure to read about.
Bram: Simon’s adorable, gay, Jewish, black, soccer-playing boyfriend (really checking all the boxes with this one, aren’t we, Becky?). God, I love Bram. What did we do to deserve him?
Leah’s mom: Leah’s mom is pretty important to the plot, because she knows Leah is bi and she has a boyfriend named Wells.
Wells: Leah’s mom’s boyfriend. Important to the plot for undisclosed reasons.
Leah is in her senior year of high school, so prom and college are the only two things anyone in her school can think about. She, however, is also thinking about her crush on a girl and her guilt over not being emotionally able to express her feelings.
She’s going to prom with Garrett, who she may or may not like, and going on a college visit with Abby, who she also may or may not like. And Nick is flirting with another girl and is going to a college up north while Abby stays in Georgia, and both of those facts put a strain on his relationship.
College is also putting strains on friendships. Leah’s friend Morgan doesn’t get into the school of her dreams and takes it out on others, Simon and Bram have to deal with the possibility of a long-distance relationship, and some people think Abby only got into her school because she’s black.
On top of prom, graduation, college, and multiple (possible) crushes that she can’t quite figure out, Leah is having quite the stressful senior year.
This book is worth it, if you liked the first one. It revisits our favorite characters from the first book, though sometimes not in ways you would expect.
I’ve read this one twice now, and I love it. Some parts seem a little repetitive (like when Leah thinks the phrase, “How am I supposed to interpret that” three times in two pages), but that can be forgiven if we take into account how repetitive even the most stressful parts of school can be. It really took me back to my own emotional journey in high school.
We get to see Bram, Simon, Abby, and Garrett all being their adorable little selves. Maybe we can even learn something from what Leah and her friends do and don’t do.
Rating: 4 diamonds out of 5. Final answer.
If you loved Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, you’ll love Leah on the Offbeat. Becky Albertalli, you’ve done it again.