Book Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

This is my FAVORITE Creekwood book. Like, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was great, but this one spoke directly to my soul.

Leah Burke is LITERALLY me. In high school I was the impoverished bi girl who had severe mental illness issues and preferred to BURN EVERYTHING TO THE GROUND rather than let anything slightly inconvenience me.

She, of course, has more supportive friends and family than I did, but her character resonated so much with me I literally cannot stop yelling about it.

All her fears, her wants, her needs…everything. She’s literally perfect. Or…well…fundamentally flawed, which is how I like my characters.

Her relationship with Abby literally had me SCREAMING for most of the book. They’re so cute and so precious. And I really wish they’d gotten together in book 1, but alas. It wouldn’t have been as sweet, in my opinion.

But seriously, Leah is my absolute favorite. And I feel like she really got shafted in the Love, Simon film because they made her openly like Simon. That does not fit her character at all, she only liked Simon when they were really young. Then she had a crush on his older sister.

I did spend a little bit of the book hoping she’d fall for Simon’s younger sister, but Leah/Abby is my OTP for life now.

This book is one of my absolute favorites!

Overall rating: ★★★★★★★★★★
(10/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Plot: 💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜
Characterization: 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

More About Leah on the Offbeat

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.

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Review: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Oh my hecc, I don’t know how I waited so long to read this book! I even saw the movie first, but the book is so much better!

I feel like the movie really missed a lot of the best things about the book. Like, Abby being a literal cinnamon roll and Leah having Borderline Personality Disorder. Plus, the whole arc between Simon and his nemesis Martin was way better in the book.

In the movie it made things more about Simon’s relationship falling apart with his friends, but in the book it was more about Simon and his friends rallying around him surrounding this. There were other ways where his friendships sort of fell apart and mended throughout the story and none of it revolved around Simon’s sexuality. Not really.

The love letters between him and his love interest literally melted my whole heart. This was such a good coming of age queer story I literally am so mad at myself for not reading it until NOW. Like how could my gay ass miss this?

I absolutely LOVED it too. Simon is such a sweetheart, but my fave is Leah! Obviously. Haha. I can’t wait to read more books by Becky Albertalli!

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Plot: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Characterization: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

More about Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Book Review: The Dark Awakening by D.L Blade

If you like romantic plots that are kind of messy, this book is for you. I found the constant choices between all the guys for Mercy to be sort of long-suffering and a little dull, but I’m not big on overarching romantic plots.

What I did like, however, and why I rate this book highly: is the plot. The Salem Witch plot is something I have always found overdone and, frankly, a little irritating, but D.L Blades spin on this left me wanting more. There are so many players in this book and people beyond the shadows pulling Mercy’s strings that it left me hungry for more.

I really wish the plot would’ve been focused on more instead of making Caleb a cocky romantic interest. He was much more interesting as a mysterious love from Mercy’s past where they couldn’t be together. Then, when Dorian showed up I was more than happy to entertain some romantic subplot, but eventually, that too became a huge pain point for me.

There were a lot of times I ended up being pulled out of the narrative by choppy or short sentences or phrases that made me stop and pulled me out of the story, but the nuggets of intense prose and excellent writing pulled me back in. Though I will say this, I wish the plot with Mercy’s mother had gotten more attention. I felt like that got resolved a little too easily.

Plus, there was a lot of slut-shaming and bullying of girls not in the character’s immediate friend group and that really turns me off in a lot of books. I stuck through it, however, and I’m glad I did.

Let’s talk about the ending. I won’t spoil anything for anyone reading my review, but I will say that the ending was AMAZING. When I read it I immediately knew I was going to read the second book in the series. So I have to say I’m very interested in where this series is going.

Overall rating: ★★★
(3/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 🙇🏻‍♀️🙇🏻‍♀️
Plot: 🧹🧹
Characterization: 🧙‍♀️🧙‍♀️
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥

More about The Dark Awakening

I stepped quickly to the side to walk by him, but he moved into my path, blocking me from going any further.

“Mercy, relax. I’m not going to hurt you.”

Everything around me froze in place and my heart stopped in its tracks. He knows me.

How did he know my real name?

Just as Mercy pieces her life back together after a vicious attack, she notices a stranger lingering in the shadows, and watching her every move.

Mercy isn’t certain if what she’s seeing is real, but when Mercy crashes her car on the side of the road, she’s rescued by a handsome and mysterious man named Caleb, who she finds herself both drawn to, and afraid of.

Caleb reveals to Mercy that she’s strongly linked to an ancient coven; the roots slowly dragging her back to Salem. He also claims to be in love with her, but can she trust him?

This story takes you on a journey of magic, secrets, betrayal, and abduction, in a world filled with witches, vampires and werewolves, which Mercy and her friends never knew existed.

Mercy must discover who she truly is, and find the powers within her to save mankind.

i can’t without you

I’m laying here awake
Naked
Skin soft and supple
Lips wet
Fingers on your chest
Cheek against your shoulder
Ripe
Sweet
Open
And you’re checking your phone
For things that will never be
While I’m here next to you
Ready to be plucked from the stem
Heart racing
Heated
And pleading
But you
You’re too far gone
No matter how many nights you hold me
Beg me not to go
Smooth my hair over my shoulders
Kiss my forehead
Placate my whimpering trembling body
You’re never you
Not anymore
You’re just a shell
Hunched over your phone
Next to the
Sweetest fruit you’d ever eat
Escaping to the things that bitterness is made of
Just to pretend to feel whole again
Like you never will
Without me. 

miracles

I’m standing here
bathed in the light from the hallway
still waiting for you to come back
to say thank you
to love me again like you used to
but deep down I know you’re never coming back
because you’re angry and I’m angry too
because I hate you and you hate me too
because there’s nothing we could’ve done
but just waited for each other
and you’ve moved on
but I’m still stuck here
like a ghost
loving you
and you’re out there searching for other things
and still missing the point
of someone so devoted they would stand here
door open, hands at their sides
waiting for a miracle
but maybe miracles don’t exist
outside of fairy tales. 

convenience

Enveloped in your arms
cheek pressed to the soft flesh of your chest
listening to your words come softly
the words that tell me
“this isn’t love”
then what is it?
What are these caresses
declarations
sexual encounters
“convenience”?
And I’m used up
bitter and cut off from the world
because I love you more than anything
because I dared to love someone like you
more than life itself
and my reward
is forever remembering you