Happy to share another great review from our guest reviewer Melaine Wachsmann. Enjoy Melaine’s insights into Leah on the Offbeat!
Welcome back to Creekside! Fans of Albertalli’s first novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, find themselves back in the same universe with Leah as their main character months into senior year. She has come out to her mother as bisexual, but she has not shared that information with anyone in her friend group. Leah is a self-proclaimed fat girl who doesn’t feel the need to be on a diet, is a drummer in a band, and doesn’t take crap from anyone.
Garrett is crushing on Leah, but unfortunately she does not feel the same way about him. Leah finds that her feelings towards her friend Abby are changing, and once Abby breaks up with her boyfriend Nick, the whole thing becomes a little more complicated. Besides the romance drama, Albertalli takes on racism, socioeconomic status, and the stress of leaving high school to start a new life chapter.
Narrator Shannon Purser, better known as Barb from Netflix’s Stranger Things, makes her audiobook debut with Leah on the Offbeat. She convincingly voices the main character as the author describes her as snarky and sarcastic with an ever present resting bitch face; however, the dialog heavy novel turns into a confusing listen without differentiation between character voices or changing intonation or pacing. While this doesn’t seem like an award winner to this listener, fans of Albertalli’s book will enjoy their time back with this hilarious cast of characters.
Leah on the Offbeat, by Becky Albertalli, read by Shannon Purser. 7 hours, 6 CDs. HarperAudio, 2018.
Melanie Wachsmann is a native Texan and a Reference/Teen Librarian at joint use community college and public library outside of Houston. She is a member of YALSA and served on both Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults and Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults. Melanie is a true audiophile and spreads her love of audiobooks to readers of all ages. In her spare time she enjoys movies, her fur babies, and board games. You can follow her sporadic tweets at @LibrarianMel.