Am I prepared to be done with all the Simonverse books? Nope, nope, nope. Will I reread them again and again. Yes, yes, yes.
Can I admit that I haven’t read The Upside of the Unrequited yet? Ok, I will soon. I didn’t realize Upside is part of the Simonverse? But I’m posting my review before reading all three books, because I adore Leah and Simon. (no pitchforks and burning down the blog, ok?)
Also apparently, the series is officially titled Creekwood on Goodreads? How have I never seen it called this anywhere?
And this review is slightly spoilery. Because I’m a terrible reviewer right now, apparently. And maybe I can’t gush about Simon & Leah without spoilers? I will work hard to label spoilers for Leah on the Offbeat. But not for Simon Vs, because it’s been out for three years. You have been warned.
Creekwood High is just perfect? (Well, except for Martin? Why does he still have to be in these books?)
I love the realness of the high school experiences. Tumblr, FB with all the parents, and Harry Potter references galore. And I’m stealing Simon’s idea and doing Dementor for Halloween sometime. (Also, biggest disappointment with Love, Simon was the missing Dementor costume)
me @ every time HP is mentioned
And the high-school theatre. So much love for it all. Also, Simon as Simeon in Joseph the musical was so funny and on point.
I also love that the books are set in Atlanta. I’m pretty close to Atlanta, and the southern feels are everything. Gah, I love it so much. Waffle House, and Georgia State, and zipping around Atlanta. And when Simon mentions how racist people are, I nodded in sad, sad agreement.
Also, diversity? Can we just please have more books with this level of diversity? I appreciate how Becky writes complicated diverse characters. It’s just part of the story without being over the top.
Simon Spier – Can we just say Simon is a human teddy bear? Or puppy? He’s just so sweet and adorable. I pretty much loved Simon from the very first page of Simon Vs. He’s totally Gryffindor, and that’s me too. And the Drarry fan fiction? So funny!
Speaking of funny, I laugh all the time at Simon. His texts, his goof-ups, his conversations. Just so real and funny? (Also, how many times can I type funny in one blog post?)
I also super had fun reading about the college decisions. Kind of jealous of Bram and Simon’s college trip. And going to college in Philly & NYC? SO COOL. Also, FEAR THE SQUIRREL. The red squirrel is my patronus, so I approve this message.
Bram – Bram is Simon’s soulmate and that is all. But he’s also the sweetest? And I really enjoyed the relationship building between Leah & Bram.
Leah – I always knew I would eventually like Leah. Now, she was a bit standoffish in Simon Vs, but I was ecstatic to read her POV in Leah on the Offbeat and actually get inside her head.
So yes, Leah is 100% Slytherin. And so honest? I just appreciate this so much. (Also, can someone give me other books with Slytherin main characters?)
Leah goes through so much in both books, and I fell in love with her journey. Her art, her music, her love of nerdy life and fandom, it’s all the beautiful happy tapestry. Also, her mom is a cutie pie. And Wells? He’s kind of adorable too. (Am I shipping her mom and Wells? Maayyyybbbbeeee? Sorry, Leah)
Also, Leah’s book is full of the best quirks that are amazing?
Dogeared pages are the worst. Yellow combat boots. Going shopping & anxiety.
Ok, the anxiety felt so real and relatable. And I nearly cried for Leah and her spiral of thoughts and how hard it was for her to not just shut down?
All her thoughts about Prom. Why is prom a thing? It makes no sense to me. Also, I was homeschooled and didn’t have prom, so of course, I’m totally snobbish about prom.
But Leah’s bashing on prom was so relatable and I wanted to give her a high five.
Abby – So can I say I liked Leah more than Abby? Especially in the first book? I think Abby was just toooo perfect. Toooo Gryffindor. Or Hufflepuff. Leah calls her a Gryffindor but I could have sworn Abby was a Hufflepuff. That threw me. A lot.
But she read all the Harry Potter books? SO THERE. Yes, Abby. Go, Abby.
Basically, all the characters in the simonverse.
And Abby always stands up for herself. She’s not afraid of anything. (Spoiler: Even breaking up two weeks before prom. WOW)
Oh, and I LOVE how racism is dealt with. Basically, white people are racist a lot, and not just in books. It’s hard to deal with. And sometimes people try to get away with it. There’s a lot of conflicted feelings over how to deal with casual racism and I super appreciated how Leah Burke dealt with it.
I was sorry & sad to see a friendship ruined over racism. But honestly, it’s what happens. Kind of reminded me of the Hate U Give and the white girl trash talking police brutality. And how Starr had to walk away from that.
Sometimes, just walk away. For you own health & because if people are problematic and don’t stop being problematic, you can’t fix them. So walk away.
Bonus – Spoiler alert – Cal & Nora are agh, so cute! But like Simon, I was confused. And he’s like, Yep, Cal has a type. Dying. Dying. Dying.
Ok, so slight disclaimer. These books are just emotionally driven? there’s not a whole bunch of plot. And not too much character development.
I think it’s super easy to bash Leah because she is problematic. Here’s one review that talks about the problematic moment. Did I shift uncomfortably while reading this? Yes. I did. I was confused? Ok, I was almost sure it was problematic and reading this review confirmed my thoughts.
Since these books aren’t really character or plot driven, when people make mistakes, especially main characters, it doesn’t feel like the mistakes are corrected. or even acknowledged? That bothers me. It doesn’t ruin the book, but it bothers me.
Leah’s voice is also really, really hard to read. I understand her voice, because her anxiety and reactions remind me so much of my sister. Having someone shut down and walk away when they’re hurt is hard to deal with. I nearly cried for Leah and her mom in the shopping scene. I wanted Leah to keep fighting, and not fold in on herself.
Leah isn’t perfect. And we can’t expect perfection from all our main characters. Would I have liked to see. her grow a bit, verbalize and apologize for some things? Yes. Did it ruin the entire book for me? No. But I understand if some people can’t enjoy Leah on the Offbeat and are even hurt by the way Leah acts.
Did I read Leah on the offbeat in one afternoon? Yes, yes I did. Was it completely perfect? Is any book absolutely, completely perfect? (Sorry, but no)
I’ll probably reread Leah again later this summer. And I might try not to speed read it like I did the first time. (We’ll see, I’m rather horrible at pacing my reading)
My rating – 3.75 stars (Three Quarters of a star is a real thing, right?)
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.
Have you read Leah? What did you think?
Do you prefer Simon’s book, Upside of Unrequited or Leah?
Are you a fan of Slytherin narrators? Do you think Abby is A Gryffindor or Hufflepuff?