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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 2018-08-17 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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text 2018-08-16 21:39
Reading progress update: I've read 70%.
Leah on the Offbeat - Becky Albertalli

What is this book? I don't know what happened but we had some truly unrecognizable people in this one. Reading Simon and then this next really showed the flaws in book #2. No spoilers on Leah's love interest, but it came out of nowhere, didn't work at all and I started to get really annoyed by her and her love interest.


This book right here is a good point for not doing sequels to popular first novels/series if you are going to just rewrite/change up characters the readers already know in order to throw shocking twists at readers that make zero sense based on what you already know. Looking at you Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. 

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review 2018-06-24 19:21
Damsels and Damsels Mermaids
Damsels Volume 1 Tp - Aneke,Leah Moore,John Reppion
Damsels Mermaids - Matt Sturges,Jean-Paul Deshong
Damsels Vol 2 - Leah Moore

The Damsels series, both the straight forward series by Leah Moore and the sequel series about the Littler Mermaid are at once good and leave you wanting more.  They are wonderful and frustrating.  It’s good but there is a sense that it can be much more.

 

                In part both series, in particular the first by Moore, explore the idea of storytelling as how it effects those in the story.   Are you living your life or simply a narrative?  In Moore’s Damsels this is carried though to the end of the series, but that ending feels rushed.

 

                Damsels Vol 1 and Vol2 follow the adventures of Rapa and her associates.  The story starts in meds rex.  You do not have a very strong sense of a what is going on, but that is because Rapa doesn’t, she is after all missing her memory.  It is then revealed that she is hunted; she is one of the missing princesses, for the witches have taken revenge.  Hence, we have a combination of Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, the Little Mermaid, and Red Riding Hood, among others. 

 

                The character design is wonderful and Moore keeps to the harsher, more extreme version.  So, the Beast is cursed because he doesn’t want to have sex with an older woman, Sleeping Beauty is named Talia.  Though the stories are not quite as dark – Rapa doesn’t seem to have given birth to twins in the desert, among other things.  Yet the small details are quite amazing.  Rapa’s hair, for instance, is wonderfully rendered, and the comment from Talia about always being the spotlight and forced to be perfect are a wonderfully rebuke to the media and its portrayal of princess.

 

                The combination of various stories works quite well.    But the ending is sudden.  It works for the ending tells into the idea of storytelling well as well as the power of belief, but it also hits too fast and too many plot points are either hastily tied up or forgotten.  Perhaps this because the series was canceled, but I’m not sure.

 

                The Mermaids series which runs five issues chronicles the adventures of the Little Mermaid, seemingly before the start of the Damsels series.  The pacing is better, though I give the original series an edge in terms of art (though this is a totally subjective view).  The story is also somewhat darker, though there is a wonderful conversation between the mermaid and a selkie that sets the story going.

 

                There is a bit more humor in the Mermaid series as well, in particular during the fight scenes.  Like the original series, it is also concerned with the idea of kingship, love, and ruling.  It is also more of a woman in a man’s world story as well.

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review 2018-06-22 15:42
Good
Damsels Volume 1 Tp - Aneke,Leah Moore,John Reppion

If you can stand being dropped into a middle of mystery, this book rewards you in spades.  It takes well known fairy tales - Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, the Little Mermiad, Beauty and the Beast among others  - and plays with the idea of story telling and revenge, and love.  It's actually quite beautiful LGTB friendly, including a few hits towards how social media treats famous women.

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