... captures the reality & humor of self-acceptance, friendship, and moving on.

Summary:

Leah Burke is great at keeping on beat - at least when it comes to drumming. She has always been the outsider of the group of friends she hangs out with (now all high school seniors). While Leah knows who she is, she finds it harder to broadcast that fact to the rest of the world, whether it be her body-image, her artistic talent, or even her sexuality. She's also the daughter of a young, single mother and they live in a neighborhood that perhaps isn't as posh as the rest of her peers.

Now close to senior prom and graduation, Leah's friend group begins to fracture in a way she couldn't have imagined, and everything feels offbeat. She is navigating a breakup within their friend group, clashing views on colleges, and turbulent friendships – all while battling newfound feelings she had thought she had left behind years ago.

As one of her friends tries to come to terms with their discovered sexuality, it's up to Leah to decide whether her actions make or break the fragile bonds of friendship that are threatening to fall apart just when everyone is scared of letting go. Maybe, just maybe, being on the offbeat might be exactly what she needs.

Teen Student Volunteer (15):
Leah on the Offbeat follows the best friend of Simon Spier as she tries to stick to the beat of what she already knows. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and the lighthearted tone makes it a good read for those simply looking for a fun summertime book. The mood isn't serious, which kids may enjoy, but it still includes some realism. One of the pros for the book is how the story handles somewhat sensitive topics, including Leah's parents' divorce, her mother moving on, and the issues within her friend group. It accurately describes the melancholy feeling that comes with friendships and relations drifting apart and evolving, as well as the teenage emotions that come with each up and down of life.

The authors writing style – using first person and appropriate vocabulary for the age of the character – accurately helped me as a reader get into Leah's head. It was almost as if I could hear her voice reciting her thoughts to me. It made the story engaging and fun to see the events unfold from the perspective of a teenager. I also liked how in this book there was no major fallout towards the end. It gave the whole novel a kind of lighthearted and fun tone, making it a humorous and easy read.

Leah on the Offbeat is a delightful book for a summer read. I would read it again, but it doesn't reach the level of emotion and connection that would compel me to read it over and over again, or keep it in my personal collection. It was a great book definitely worth reading once, but it didn't have that high level of personal impact for me.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

A delightful summer selection for readers looking for lighthearted - but realistic - stories of friendship and life after high school.

Content Awareness Factors:

Characters use profanity. There are 5 curses per chapter, so that is something to be cautious of. Although there are no explicit or implied sexual scenes, kissing and make-out descriptions tend to be rather thorough, including conversations containing sexual references. A big part of the novel refers to teen sexuality and the LGBTQA+ community. Some teens drink although the main character does not participate in this.


Type of Book:
This is a first-person narrative about the life of a senior trying to figure out who she is and what she wants the next chapter of her life to be.
Educational Themes:

This novel does serve to educate readers on bisexuality and LGBTQA+ youth culture, specifically the journey of coming out and coming to terms with yourself. It also provides some insight into body-image issues and the drama and emotions around getting into college.

Reading Level:
3.7
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
15 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
15 and Up
Age of child:
Teen Student Volunteer. Reviewer Age: 15
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow. Definitely worth the read.

Title Leah on the Offbeat
About

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Book 2

Author Becky Albertalli
Publisher Balzer + Bray, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2019 (Reprint Edition)
ISBN 9780062643810
Material Paperback
Cost $10.99
Genres Friendship, Humor, Science Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Reminder: Cover images, amazon.com and indiebound.org links are affiliate links. The Reading Tub can earn income via purchases made via these links. 100% of any income goes directly to our literacy mission.

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