A YA novel by Becky Albertalli
Not quite a sequel but the events of Leah on the Offbeat happen after Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli’s first in what has become known as the Simon-verse.
We meet again the same characters from Simon as they prepare for graduation and collage. Leah features all the same love interests and fallings out that we know we will find in a coming-of-age novel but there is something lacking in this story.
But where Simon featured conflict from the start with action driving the plot, here it is the character of Leah and her awkwardness that seems to trip up the narrative.
Leah, not yet out as a bisexual, struggles with her feelings towards Abby in the build up to graduation. Stilted, unfinished dialogue peppers the novel, leaving the characters frustrated and the readers as awkward as Leah.
It’s odd as we first knew Leah as Simon’s best friend: she was unflappable, even after all of Simon’s exploits. But now, she seems a totally different character. True, we are now seeing things from her point of view, but to feel so different, so unsure of herself and so awkward makes it difficult to really root for her.
While it is great that we are seeing more diversity in characters and sure, bisexuality is still relatively new in YA novels, I wonder if this won’t put people off the genre and exploring more. It’s a shame as there was great potential in the story.
Leah is determined that her graduation isn’t going to become a “teen movie cliché” which is exactly what Becky Albertalli has written.