*enters scene with a box of pizza*. everything : *is in flames*
Ummm….Hello yes what happened here?
It’s not everyday you see one of your most anticipated books, most hyped, by one of your most beloved authors really stab you in the back 56 with a knife, steal both your thumbs and run away to Hawaii as a llama named Carl – and yet. Here we are.
We’ve gathered here today because someone *looks pointedly at Becky Albertalli* couldn’t keep their narrative coherent.
Not you Simon sweetie you’re doing amazing and we’re supporting your dreams of doing a musical in Collage.
Long sighhhhhh. I was really excited for this ok because I enjoy Leah’s character in theory because if anyone knows about resting bitch face and deadpan HELLO YES it would be me – I have such a perpetually angry and/or sad face that I get asked by teachers why am I sad like every single day. I’m rocking the short stabby child dressed as a rainbow look and aesthetic. It’s not my fault my eyebrows and mouth do the thing where they look like we are plotting a murder!!
I DIGRESS, OBVIOUSLY I LOVE GRUMPY CHARACTERS!
So I really wanted to read from her perspective. I also really love seeing F/F relationships getting more spotlight! Because queer ladies are awesome and great and beautiful!
But this was….not great.
(to change it up a bit and separate the 2 sides to my demoralizing cynic rambles)
–CANON F/F RELATIONSHIP IN A POPULAR YA BOOK!!!!
Because we really need more of that! M/m is definitely more popular and gets more hype then f/f. i myself have read a lot more m/m then f/f so I REALLY LOVE SEEING DIVERSITY AND REPRESENTATION. I love Becky’s books for their diversity.
–It was really funny in usual Becky Arbetalli fashion.
I buddy read it with one of my friends (wave if you’re reading this which you are NOT because I don’t tell y’all about my secret blogger identity) and we kept sending quotes to each other because we were dying.
Bram: “Simon’s acting weird. It’s like he’s not telling me something.”
Garret: “Maybe he’s gay.”
Bram: “Yeah I’ve been wondering that.”
“I want to know who you like.”
“Trick question I hate everyone.”
–I actually liked Leah!
Yeah she’s rude and pushes people away BUT. I know people like her. I actually know a friend so like Leah it’s scary (I was actually a bit scared of reading the book because I felt like reading my friend’s thoughts that’s how scary accurate it is it’s like down to tiny details horrifying). I can also very much relate to her resting bitch face and people’s tendency to judge her based on said resting bitch face.
It’s refreshing to not see a happy female lead once in a while.
–The fact that Leah wasn’t rich!!
I never see characters that struggle with money in American YA and it was so refreshing!! Sometimes America and it’s expectations that everyone has money scares me. Seriously.
(Do people actually afford to buy Starbucks? more than once a week??? also why would you buy Starbucks that often FOR?)
–It does discuss important things!
Like fat shaming and how you can be fat and beautiful too! I loved the body positivity! This is actually the first fat female lead I’ve read (if we don’t count Nina Zenik queen of waffles and my heart obviously) and it’s really important to see more body types especially in books for teens!
And it also discuses casual racism and calling people out when they say ignorant stuff.
-I continue to absolutely love Simon and Bram!!
They are the cutest and by far my favorite characters in the book. And you get to see how adorable and oblivious Simon is from an outside perspective it’s amazing. And if you don’t think that Simon being a “baby gay” that writes adorably cute Love Actually fanfic then I don’t know you I was so gone at that point.
-The absolute best thing about this book are the friendships!
Ugh Becky always hits me in the feels with soft gooey friendships. Leah and Bram are adorableeeee and Nora and Leah are also cute and Nick and Leah and Simon are the trio of trios.
….Now here is the part where I actually think about all the troubles. Because I sat on the carpet and gave actual thought to WHY did this book bother me?
– How the Garret plot ended (or better said didn’t end). A throw away comment in the last chapter in a “oh and he got with another girl” way in an email? That’s not really a resolution now is it.
– How Leah was sometimes rude to her mom for absolutely no reason at all. She says some really rude things for no reason and in arguments I found myself rooting for the mom and not Leah because of it.
– How Abby was a bit too perfect sometimes. I love Abby as a character she’s amazing but sometimes? Sometimes it a bit too much. To the point where it felt weird putting her next to Leah because it made Leah pale in comparison in every single way. In a not a cute dynamic kind of way.
– Simon and Bram have a smol conflict…and it just disappears. Simon agonizes over it for a few chapters and then BAM what would you know it’s and fixed all is good in the world again. They obviously discussed it in private but in that moment I wanted Simon’s pov….ok I wanted Simon’s pov the whole book who am I kidding I just really like Simon.
And yet 3 things in particular didn’t sit well with me at all.
These are more then your usual “dislike”. These are thing I straight (get it? straight? like i’m def not?? har har a straight joke when reviewing a Becky Arbetalli book lol) up hated. There are the “wow book not cool”. These are the real reason this book makes me breathe smoke from my nostrils.
– “You’re either Bi or you’re not. There’s no such thing as low-key bi.”
<- basically this scene. It all made me really sad. Look, language is language it’s fluid you can use whatever label you want and whatever label YOU FEEL MOST COMFORTABLE WITH. Policing is NOT OK. Abby even says “Hey it’s a real label for me.” but you can’t just put that scene in there AND NOT call Leah out on her crap at the end of the book. And the resolution in the narrative is basically Leah-was-right-all-along and Abby should never have said that. Which feels so half-assed.
If that scene was discussed, if Leah admitted she was wrong or she apologized it would’ve been FINE. But it’s NOT and I didn’t like it.
– The ending
I know I know what a surprise. But the last 2-ish -3 chapters I. Did. Not. Like. At all. Yeah Leah gets the girl in the most romantic way at prom. But how they go “fuck everything and consequences like our friend’s feelings and how it’s a bit cheating” it’s kind of shitty. Sorry but you don’t really get a pass for jerk behavior just because its fluffy and gay. “Don’t you dare think about anything else and kiss me” when Leah has a date is not going to work.
– How at the end Leah’s like “surprise I’m bi!” to Simon when the boy has been freaking our over his lack of queer friends for the past YEAR AND A HALF.
Like this boy has faced so much and he’s been outed and you want me sympathize with Leah when she left him all alone?? He gets excited about uni because he would finally have some queer friends ok please protect Simon at all costs. Not to mention the fact that Leah was annoyed at Simon for not coming out to her when she doesn’t come out to him UNTIL THE VERY END? When he sees her kissing another girl no less??? And all HE SAYS IS “I’M SHOOK.”?! wow ok no thx you lost me.
Overall: I WISH I LIKED THIS SO MUCH MORE THEN I DID. I’m disappointed. Honestly. What good came out of reading this is that I’m now driven to read some really good an actually wholesome F/F stories. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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.