Becky Albertalli’s Leah on the Offbeat is an exceptionally candid sequel to her bestseller Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda told from the point of view of one of the main characters, Leah Burke.
Despite being the best friend of the Simon, the protagonist of the novel’s prequel, Leah’s story is nowhere near the focal point and readers are so caught up in Simon’s story that they don’t really see much of Leah. Leah on the Offbeat remedies this as the reader experiences life from Leah’s pessimistic point of view as a fat, closeted bisexual girl in high school with a somewhat broken home. It isn’t always easy to sympathize with her, but it is certainly easy to relate to her.
Albertalli continues her, much appreciated, streak of not shying away from difficult issues, dealing with the realities of being different from one’s peers and the fears and struggles that comes with straying from the status quo. Reading Leah on the Offbeat is as difficult as it was relieving because it makes the reader face the realities of their own situation, and gives them hope for the future. If Leah can get back on the beat, so can you.