Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Brays
Published: April 24th, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, YA, LGBT+
My Rating: 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.
I loved this. I mean, I expected to love it, but it lived up to most of my expectations. I’m not sure if I’m completely on board with the ship, but I did enjoy the story of discovery in that character.
I really relate to Leah. The way she never feels like people actually like her despite having a group of people to hang with most of the time; the way she closes herself off from people when things get hard; how she never feels like she’s where she’s supposed to be. I get it. I wish I had this book when I was seventeen. I feel like it can make people who read it feel like they aren’t alone.
This book didn’t have the emotional pull for me that Simon had, probably because I wasn’t invested in the ship, but I think Leah’s story is so much more than her romantic life. How she interacts with her friends and her inner turmoil with body image, and her relationship with her mom, and her inner demons is way more important than her love life.
I listened to the audio, which was read by Shannon Pulser who did a wonderful job bringing Leah to life. Maybe she didn’t do cool voices like some audiobook narrators, but the voice fit Lean, and I loved it.
I do think that some of the pop culture references may date this book quickly, but they are funny right now, and I’m reading it right now, so they work.
This book was good, a quick read. I probably would have read the print version in a day, but the audio is a little over seven hours. I highly recommend this one, especially if you’re into YA contemporary.
Until Next time, Internet,