I’m usually a very easy reader to please and there are very few hyped/popular books that I haven’t loved. But this seems to be a bad week. Simon vs is one of my all-time favorite books and Love, Simon was an absolute delight. I have to be upfront that I didn’t really like Leah in the first book but I still decided to read this one because I love Becky’s writing and ofcourse, to read about Simon and Bram as a couple.
Let me talk first about what I loved. Becky writes in such an easy manner with lots of sweet, hilarious, humorous moments that I couldn’t stop reading once I got started and had a smile on my face most of the time. It was amazing to read about a fat MC who is confident about her body, is not interested in a diet and will not entertain any ideas about fatshaming. Leah is also an artist and loves doing fanart on tumblr. I loved the references to HP and various fandoms, especially fanfics of Drarry and Inej/Nina.
The various friendships are also depicted very realistically. It was nice to see Leah develop a bond with Bram considering that she and Simon are great friends. It’s heartening to see a wonderful depiction of a m/f friendship which remains platonic. I want many more such friendships in books (especially without one of the two having to be gay) which don’t end up in a romance. This book also has some adorable Simon and Bram moments that I just couldn’t get enough of. They are so cute together and so much in love and I wanted to read more. (*Spoiler*) Bram’s promposal is one among the cutest and loveliest gestures I have ever read. He is so thoughtful and caring and overall such a precious cinnamon roll (*Spoilers end*).
The cast here is diverse just as we have come to expect from Becky’s stories and everyone is very accepting and there is no homophobia. It might seem very idealistic but sometimes, it is necessary to take a break from dark, gritty potrayals of the real world and read a feel good love story where gender identity/sexuality of the MC’s is not an issue. It was also great to read about a bisexual female main character who is very comfortable with her sexuality but still has troubles with coming out to her friends. There are also some very important discussions around racism and financial insecurities that were integrated well into the story. I will, for obvious reasons, not comment about the bi rep in the novel and I’m sure you can checkout other appropriate reviews to know more about it.
Now, I will get on with what I didn’t like in this book and that is unfortunately, Leah. I thought I would get to know her better if I read a book in her POV but I didn’t start to like her character. She is extremely rude to many people throughout the book but her attitude towards her mom (and her boyfriend) was especially irritating. She is very judgemental of everyone (which is necessary in some cases but not all), quite hypocritical (expects apologies when others are wrong, but there were very very rare instances when she does the apologizing), can’t be bothered to even try to be nice (even in reciprocation) and has an extremely pessimistic attitude. What’s more grating is that she is very much aware of all this, knows she is hurting others but doesn’t want to even try to change. She is also never called out for her attitude, almost like everyone is resigned that they can’t expect anything else from her. There is no character development for her and she just remains the same till the end.
(*SPOILERY PARAGRAPH AHEAD… Read at your own risk*)
I am one among everyone who is very happy to see a book with an f/f romance as #1 on the NYT Bestseller list but to be frank, I was very underwhelmed by the romance in this book. I never felt any sort of chemistry between Leah and Abby and there was hardly any buildup to it. Since reading Simon vs, I have only felt that Leah hated Abby or didn’t like being around her but never saw the romantic interest. It just came out of left field halfway through the book and even though I knew it was coming, it was jarring. I also hated that Leah strung along Garrett, going to prom with him knowing fully that he had a crush on her and she didn’t like him at all. Also, the idea that she did all this because she liked the idea of being pursued felt very juvenile. We also never get to know how Nik or Garrett reacted to Leah and Abby together and the epilogue, where everyone is randomly paired up felt like a copout, as if the author didn’t want any confrontational scenes.
In the end, I can say that I enjoyed the experience of reading the book, especially when Bram and Simon were around. But Leah was annoying throughout and I wish she had consciously chosen to change her attitude a little – because she valued all her relationships and not just because she got a girlfriend.
Rating: ⭐ ⭐⭐