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Search tags: Becky-Albertalli
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review 2018-09-11 11:34
Leah Burke - Creekwood's Cynical Teenager
Leah on the Offbeat - Becky Albertalli

Reading Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda makes me smile for a good reason. Its warm, funny and yet meaningful in many ways how I care about the characters. But what makes Simon special was how its written. Then came the spin-off, Leah on the Offbeat, where the central character is Leah Burke - totally opposite of Simon Spier; cynical teenager about how life is for her and how she view things in life that is negative in many ways. While Simon is light and filled with colorful characters, well on his point of view, Leah on the other hand is on what reality is - no fluffy bears but just judgmental on every thing. Its not bad, its just not that better and more of the same but less beautiful.

 

Following the events after Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens AgendaLeah Burke is in the band with AnnaMorgan and Nora, only its falling apart after college is on the horizon and with prom coming, suddenly things just seem to fall apart. Nick and Abby strangely aren't together as always, Morganhad offended Leah with a racist remark and Garrett seems to be in love with Leah, which is isn't. What matters worst is Leah's mum is in love with someone who isn't exactly someone Leah would like to have as future stepdad. And then there is Abby Suso, a girl Leah isn't sure she likes her or not but when things start to question about relationships, Leah doesn't know if he can accept Abby as someone as a close friend... or some thing more.

 

The beginning is some what unimpressive and it was later on, it slowly picks up. I can't seem to find what was the purpose of this book as it felt like it starts off in the middle of every thing. And then, its pretty much how young adult books are written, only with cynical wit and lots of waffles, cuss words and I-am-not-sure-what-I-want-in-life moments. There are times it is funny, and I really do start to like Leah and the rest of the characters on the later part of the book. But from how it really starts off and towards the end, overall its not that bad. Its just not better. Pretty much normal but in a realistic way. To me, this is a 3.5 out of 5 star rating. If you love the first Creekwood book, you will still enjoy the second, just no better.

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review 2018-08-26 01:16
SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

Simon is outed while trying to deal with his best friends' problems, his parents, and his youngest sister.

I liked Simon. His family was weird but likable. The story captured the angst of the teen years. Best friends are not easy to tell especially when jealousy comes along. He is also falling in love with a Tumblr e-mail pal. I liked how social media is portrayed--the good and the bad to the downright ugly.

This is a good beach read. I look forward to more in the series.

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review 2018-08-24 13:33
A Coming Out Book Love Story That Is Witty and Funny
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

I have read a few LGBT books before, I do enjoy them by how its written but missing out Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda when it was first published in 2015, I finally get around reading it. Part of reading this book was because of the movie (which I have yet to watch still, and its not showing in my country) but to get my hands on a hardcover edition, was never a regret moment. It took me a few weeks to finish when it should be just a week but I bid my time to enjoy it, which I did.

 

There is much to talk about Simon but I am not going to spoil much of it but share my thoughts what I feel towards it. For one - I love the writing. If there is any thing that should be written for a young adult love story, this is it. It feels so natural the exchange dialogue between characters that is real enough for me, I had a great time laughing. The characters are wonderful and memorable. There's Simon, who really is not an open person and afraid if he openly tells people he is gay, his family and friends may not accept him. LeahAbby & Nick, his closest friends shares their acceptance and arguments with him like friends should be is just lovable and cute. And then of course, the chapters of exchange email letters. It just felt so natural, like peeking into someone's life with interest of course. I mean, we all do that some times. And then, what the main theme is about this book that makes it worth reading - open up ourselves to the world and its not about being open up of being gay, but by who we are opening up to the world of what who we are instead of just pretend to be who we are not. I love the writing of it that really have a good lead towards it, with of course a few mushy lovey-dovey teen drama in it (which is why I dock off one star and giving it a four). In all its worth, I really enjoy it.

 

To me, people should read this. It has this feel good feeling, the coming-of-age-out-of-open-up young adult book that I would recommend anyone reading it. I am looking forward to reading the next Creekwood book, Leah on then Offbeatafter this. If you haven't read this, please do. This is really a good read.

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review 2018-08-22 19:43
Simon Says Part 1
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

What if you had a secret and it defined your whole being? What if someone was blackmailing you with that secret to get closer to a friend? What if you were in love with someone you have never met? What would you do to keep that relationship? 

 

So I have to admit I watched the movie first before reading the book. I know I know its a grave sin!! I should always read the book first. That's what I have always done because another wise I feel like I'm cheating. But I'm actually glad I did it reversed. This will be a two-part review, first the book then the movie in comparison. 

Simon, Simon, Simon....... I want to love him but I kinda don't. He's a little self-absorbed and superficial with his friends. The entire time he is all consumed with how things affect him and trying to hide that he is gay. Throughout the book, his emails and relationship with Blue mirror Simon's real-life relationships. In the fact that Simon really does not dig deeply into any relationships, his long relationships with his best friends are only surface deep and when someone wants to dig deeper (such as parents and sisters) he pushes them away. Blue's animosity reflects how Simon hides everything about himself and when the person he wants to get the closest too treats him how he treats people, he is forced to reflect on himself. Yet, his personality and attitude are how the adolescent stage is.  

Albertalli does a great job in constructing a society where secrets are kept. Simon's sisters, friends, classmates are all keeping secrets that don't necessarily have to be a secret. Just like Simon, they do not want the image of themselves to be altered because that means things will change. Albertalli captured the hardships of trying to project what society expects from us vs what we truly are. I loved that Albertalli did not censor Simon's language or actions to fit into a pleasant box. Simon cusses, drinks, do what his parents would probably not like him to do BUT he's a teenager! Leah.... I don't like her, I just don't. She's a little too angry for my tastes. I don't think Albertalli developed nor gave enough backstory to her. Nor to many characters outside Simon and Blue. 

I did appreciate the authenticity of the bullying in the school. Portraying coming out in a positive and negative light. It was the little jabs here and there that made the deepest wounds for Simon but at the same time, he saw people stand up for him even people he least expected. 

Quotes:

Nothing is worse than the secret humiliation of being insulted by proxy

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review 2018-08-17 13:37
Don't Know if I Dislike This More Than the Cursed Child...
Leah on the Offbeat - Becky Albertalli

Sigh. I don't know why there always has to be a follow-up to a popular book before an author can work out the kinks and or think to themselves is the book in question necessary. "Leah on the Offbeat" was not good. This book ruined characters from the first book in the series "Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda." Leah is also a jerk, I didn't like her and I wasn't rooting for her at all. There is still an issue with the author not really getting African American communities at all and how they are towards those who identify as gay. It's not realistic to just keep showing things as perfect. It just feels like there are blinders up in order to force fit a HEA that doesn't work for the book.

 

Leah who was introduced in the first book is dealing with the fact it's senior year and all of her friends seem to be moving on. Even her mother seems to have found someone to be with and is moving on from her father leaving them both years earlier. We quickly find out though that Leah has a crush on someone (that comes out of left field) and makes zero sense in context to the first book. So the entire book is just Leah thinking about this person, obsessing about this person, and getting mad this person isn't doing what Leah wants them to do. 


I hard cringed though this whole book. There is no there there with Leah. The Leah in the first book was a drummer, into magna it seemed, and was fierce about her friendships with Nick and Simon. This Leah doesn't play the drums once in the whole story. Is totally absent from Nick's life it seems, and only seems to talk to Simon here and there. She's also fighting with her mom and her friends from the band. Everyone seemed to have a total personality transplant and it was maddening. 

 

Nick doesn't feel real anymore, not even Abby or Morgan, Nora, etc do. Instead these are just people moving in and out of Leah's story. I don't know if Albertalli meant to do that, but it really felt like Leah had no one really in her life. 


The romance felt forced in this one instead of like a happy surprise that it was when we were following Simon and Blue. It didn't feel real or earned and I hated that Leah had the nerve to argue that someone should be forced to come out before they were ready when she hadn't even told her mother or friends about her liking this person or even hinting that she could like girls. It was like Albertalli forgot what a garbage person Martin Addison was for blackmailing and then outing Simon in the first book. 

 

I also feel frustrated because I really wanted a book that accurately portrayed the lengths the African American community needs to still go with regards to accepting and acknowledging LGBT people. 

The book taking place in Georgia once again didn't seem to be that realistic. It's 2018 and the book references Hamilton and other things that show it's taking place in our here and now, but not very well. There is a whole sub-plot about Leah calling out someone from her friend group for being racist and I kid you not it didn't seem believable to me at all. It felt shoehorned in there so Leah could be a better person, but even I got sick of her self righteousness after a while. This person eventually apologizes to Leah saying she needed to be a better ally and I rolled my eyes. 

 

The writing felt more empty this time. There are not emails going back and forth between love interests. Just Leah moving through her day and getting texts here and there. There is eventually a road trip that also didn't help matters. I felt like I was in a totally different book.

 

The ending was a joke. We have a time jump so we don't get to see the immediate fall-out to Leah and her new love interest. Instead we get an email (finally) between Leah and Simon and Leah is just giving a quick recap on people who once again don't feel real. I can say that the friendship between Simon, Leah, and Nick seems to be over and that made me sad. 

 

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