Leah on the Offbeat is the final installment of Becky Albertalli‘s Simonverse. It started with Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, left the Atlanta burbs for Washington, DC in The Upside of Unrequited, and returns to Creekside High for senior year in Leah.
From the publisher:
When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic.
She’s an anomaly in her friend group: 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.
If you’ve read Simon, you’ll be familiar with most of the characters and relationships in Leah on the Offbeat. Leah, Simon, Bram, Abby, Nick, and the entire Creekside squad (yes, including Martin) are late in their senior year, with prom coming up and college decisions being made.
Unlike The Upside of Unrequited, which had only cameos from the familiar characters, Leah on the Offbeat features the whole gang prominently. It is, for all intents and purposes, a sequel, despite being told entirely from Leah’s point of view.
I have praised Albertalli’s voice many times before. I love her ability to capture inner and spoken dialogue that feels very real, and that’s fully on display here. She builds tension between characters as well as within Leah’s psyche.
Leah on the Offbeat is a touching story, a fitting conclusion to the trilogy, and highly recommended.