This is spoiler free HOWEVER there is a spoiler right at the end (which is indicated).
I have to admit, this one slipped under my radar for far too long. Funnily enough, I’ve seen the cover for the Upside of Unrequited everywhere but I never knew, until recently, that it was written by Becky Albertalli or that it was a part of the Simon universe. Not that the latter matters too much although I will say that if you are interested in reading Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda, I recommend reading that before this one because there will be minor spoilers in the Upside of Unrequited that could ruin your experience of reading Simon.
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NOTE: This is spoiler free but there will be spoilers for Simon VS the Homosapiens Agena.
There’s a lot of pressure when you have high expectations for a book and you’re 90% sure that it’s going to be good. A pressure because a part of you knows you shouldn’t have such high expectations, no matter what the book is, but the other part of you simply can’t help it. That was the case for me with Leah on the Offbeat.
Earlier this year I re-read Simon VS the Homosapiens Agenda which is a favourite of mine and also the prequel to this book. Reading Leah on the Offbeat wasn’t something I planned because I didn’t own a copy at the time of finishing my re-read of Simon, however, while I was on holiday at the end of June I walked into a bookstore and right there on the shelf was one copy of Leah on the Offbeat. One copy? Of course, I had to buy it. It felt like a sign.
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This is the second time I’ve read this book and I loved it, even more, this time around.
For those of you who don’t know Simon vs. the Homosapien Agenda follows sixteen-year-old Simon who is gay but hasn’t come out yet. The only person who knows is Blue, a boy from school, who Simon has been emailing although neither boy knows the other’s real identity. However, Simon’s emails fall into the hands of another student, Martin, who blackmails him into being his wingman otherwise Simon’s sexual identity will be revealed to the world.
Sounds kind of heavy, right? It is, in some ways, but it’s also very light and happy in places too. This entire book is funny, adorable, and breathtakingly emotional. There were times where I wanted to laugh and times I wanted to cry (sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for bad reasons). Becky Albertalli does such a fantastic job of balancing the upsides with the downsides. Every the upsetting scenes in the story feel necessary and are incredibly well done. And the funny moments? They’re genuinely good and are perfectly placed throughout the book.
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