Author: Becky Albertalli
Published: April 24, 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 13-16, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars
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.
The whole gang from Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda are back for their senior year of high school and all the drama that will unfold with that important year: picking a college, prom, and for Leah: should tell my friends that I am bisexual? This time the novel focuses on Leah, Simon’s bff.
It actually surprised me that the focus was Leah, as of all the friends, she was the one I connected with the least, but that might have been because she was more of an afterthought in Simon. But we get to know her through this novel. And even when I was done with Leah, I still found her my least favorite character of the group. She is an angry girl, who is also petty and uses excessive foul language. I did enjoy how Leah is a self-taught drummer and there were constant musical references throughout the novel, including the title.
The one character I really had empathy for was Garrett, the poor boy was so clueless but no one would help him out. I had some sympathy for Nick, but not as much due to his negative attitude. I wanted more Simon and Bram moments, they are just adorable!
As the gang goes through their senior year they experience the changes that inevitably will come which includes growing apart and moving on by attending different colleges. The novel was just an ‘ok read’ for me until the ending. The ending is what made me award it 3.5 stars vs 3. The ending had me ready to see what happens next for the gang when college starts. Hopefully Albertalli will continue with their story. Now, in the same universe as Simon and Leah is The Upside of Unrequited. In Upside the focus is Abby’s cousin Molly.
Due to the mature themes and constant foul language used, I would say this one would be for older teens.