It can surprise no Simon fan that revisiting Shady Creek High through the eyes and thoughts of Leah Burke means awkward encounters and adorable mishaps.. or the other way around? Although Leah is in the spotlight this time there’s no need to be alarmed. We don’t miss out on our favourite friend group as Simon, Abby, Bram and the rest of the gang is still very much the centre of the story – even Martin Addison gets cameos!
The story picks up right where Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda left off and it feels like no time has passed between the releases of the two books. Leah is having a hard time accepting her body, going from owning her curves to being insecure about dress shopping for prom. She also struggles with the idea of coming out to her friends regarding her sexuality – although she knows they’ll be cool about it (considering the love Simon has received after coming out). Her negative attitude towards Abby Suso has everyone wishing they could just get along but it turns out to be a self-preservation mission. Leah doesn’t want to get too close to Abby since she’s dating Nick, one of her best friends, but once the two girls start spending more time together, it gets harder for Leah to deny her feelings.
On top of her personal issues, the group is anxious about college decisions and the stress of it all builds up to some clashes and confrontations within the group that threatens to part them right before prom – which they’re supposed to attend together as one big, happy family.
There is so much entertainment packed into this book along with a bunch of thoughts and events that are so relatable, you often feel like Albertalli knows you a bit too well. The whole teen-to-adult phase the group lingers in is described in a very realistic and comforting way. Although I personally think Leah is mean, annoying and overreacts constantly, she is a strong character and I had the best time reading this book and following this wonderful group through their last struggles in high school. I highly recommend this book!
(I was requested to include a page count so I will add this feature to future reviews!)