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Cindy DeJesus

Norfolk, VA USA
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  • Leah on the Offbeat

  • By: Becky Albertalli
  • Narrated by: Shannon Purser
  • Length: 7 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 562
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 534
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 532

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat - but real life isn't always so rhythmic. She's an anomaly in her friend group: 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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I’ve been waiting months for LEAH! Was not disappointed

  • By Seamus Hughes on 04-25-18

Fan Service for the Simonverse

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-14-18

I picked this up because I loved "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda". If you haven't read that one, or seen the movie "Love, Simon", I would definitely recommend checking either or both of those out before starting this book. I guess, technically you could read this book without those, but it's good to know the history of this universe before diving in to Leah.

Right of the bat, I will say I was not a fan of the narrator's voice. I don't know if the author meant for Leah to sound stuffed up with a lisp, but that's what you'll be listening to for 7 hours. Maybe I'm just being critical because I LOVED the narrator for the Simon book. I mean, I guess it kind of suits the Leah character, but I just didn't find it as pleasant to listen to for an extended period of time.

The story itself it pretty good. You get to go on this modern coming of age journey with Leah where she is forced to deal with her sexuality, friendships, relationships, life plans after high school, etc. I thought focusing on Leah was a peculiar choice though. After reading the Simon book, I definitely felt that Leah was not focused on very much compared to the other characters in the "Simonverse" and I didn't find her particularly that interesting as a character anyway. Was that an intentional set up for focusing the sequel on her?

I think I enjoyed the Simon book better as a whole, not just for the superior narration, but probably because Simon was just a more likable character to follow. Leah is your typical angsty teenager with a sarcastic a surly wit. I found myself becoming very frustrated with her character during the course of this story because I felt like she over-complicated things due to her surly and angsty demeanor.

I will say, this book, like the Simon book, has excellent dialog and despite being frustrated with Leah, I was entertained and engaged the whole time. If you were a fan of the characters from the Simon book, you will enjoy this story as it picks up at the following school year. You get to find out how everything panned out and learn more about a character that didn't get much of the spotlight in the previous book. Overall, I would recommend this for any fan of the "Simonverse" and/or anyone looking for a dramady style LGBTQ Young Adult book.

#ComingOut #JadedTeen #School #Cynical #LGBTQ #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

  • The Guest Room

  • A Novel
  • By: Chris Bohjalian
  • Narrated by: Mozhan Marno, Grace Experience
  • Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,019
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 918
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 917

When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother's bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. She brings their young daughter to Manhattan for the evening, leaving her Westchester home to the men and their hired entertainment. What she does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, her husband sharing a dangerously intimate moment in the guest room, and two women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bohjalian's best one yet

  • By Barbara on 02-07-16

Great Story, Weird Narration Choices

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-31-18

This was my first time hearing/reading a novel from this author, so I wasn't sure what to expect. The plot was engaging, however I did feel like there was a lot (maybe too much) time spent on frivolous details. I get it, imagery is important and all that, but I would have preferred more plot movement. It was nice to hear the different points of view from the various people involved in this story, but did we really need to spend that much time on detailing the EMT that responded to an emergency call rather than the result of said emergency?

The narration was...distracting. I am curious as to why the main part of the story was narrated by a woman rather than a man when the focus was mostly on Richard, Also, it was cringy listening to the woman's voice describing the debauchery in a "bro" voice. The third person narrator's attempt at an Armenian accent left much to be desired. It reminded me of Natasha from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. Definitely made it difficult to take her parts seriously which is a shame because she narrates some really heavy parts.

Overall, I would recommend this book, but maybe read it yourself.