YA Mini Reviews: Girl at Heart & One of the Girls

Today, I’m sharing with you two YA contemporary sports romances I read recently. I put them in this mini review together because while they’re written by two different authors, they are part of the same Roosevelt High School world/series.

Girl at Heart
Author: Kelly Oram
Publication Date: November 4, 2019
Publisher: Bluefields
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

As the daughter of a successful Major League pitcher, Charlie Hastings has baseball in her blood. Unfortunately, being the only girl on her high school baseball team, Charlie has always been just one of the guys.

When her best friend, and secret love of her life, asks another girl to the prom, Charlie is devastated. She’s tired of being overlooked by boys because she’s not like other girls. Suffering a massive identity crisis, she decides to hang up her cleats and finally learn how to be a girl.

But with only two weeks until the state championships, the Roosevelt High Ravens can’t afford to lose their star catcher. Team captain Jace King makes her a deal: Don’t quit the team, and he’ll help her become the girl she’s so desperate to be. After all, he’s got four sisters, one of whom happens to be a cheerleader. He knows a thing or two about girls. (And if he can win her heart in the process, all the better.)

From the bestselling young adult author of Cinder & Ella, V is for Virgin, and the Avery Shaw Experiment comes a new sweet romance that’s sure to leave you with all the feels! Girl at Heart is a clean and wholesome sports romance that will leave you with warm fuzzies and an itch to watch a baseball game.

My thoughts:

First, can I just love on this cover? The colors are all so pretty together and it’s just so adorable. It fits the book so well. As for what’s inside the book… I loved every minute of Girl at Heart. It’s the story of a girl who is on the high school boys’ baseball team. She’s always been “just one of the guys”, but Charlie wants to be seen as a girl. Girl at Heart is a really sweet story about Charlie finding herself and falling in love. I was surprised by the emotions I felt while reading it (I teared up and had to stop myself from sobbing, guys.) and the way things played out. It was more than I expected it to be. That shouldn’t have been a shock since I’ve read and loved Oram’s books before, but it was. I loved it so much that when I saw there was another book set in this world with characters I recognized, I knew I needed to read that book, too.

One of the Girls
Author: Robin Daniels
Publication Date: June 20, 2019
Publisher: Bluefields
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

FROM ENDZONE TO FRIENDZONE…

Senior Nick Moody is the second string quarterback on Roosevelt High School’s championship football team. He’s crushed on Mia for years, but she doesn’t know he exists. It’s time to come off the bench and into the game. Nick refuses to graduate without getting the girl or the glory.

Mia Ashlock is the remarkably kind cheer captain. She’s a yes girl, and her penchant for people pleasing always leads to bad relationships. After being humiliated in a very public dumping, her teammates decide to break her bad habit with a ban on boyfriends.

When Nick sees a poster, advertising cheer tryouts, he has a crazy idea: quit football and become a cheerleader. It’s perfect! He can get close to Mia and steal the spotlight, using his true and hidden talent—gymnastics. Nick and Mia have instant chemistry, but it does him little good. If Mia’s zero dating rule weren’t bad enough, the team treats him less like boyfriend material and more like one of the girls. Breaching the friendzone will be much harder than he thought.

Content: This book contains kissing along with limited/mild swearing and minimal inuendo/crude humor. No explicit language or references to sex.

My thoughts:

Like I said above, this book is connected to Oram’s by the setting and some characters. It actually came out first, but it doesn’t matter which order you read them in. I had never read a book by Robin Daniels before, but I want to read more of them now. I loved One of the Girls just as much as Girl at Heart. This book was opposite that one as it was a boy joining the cheerleading squad. Nick was joined to use his gymnastics skills and to win cheerleading captain Mia’s heart. It was so sweet and definitely a feel good story.

I really, really hope there are more books to come set at Roosevelt High. Whether they’re from Daniels, Oram, or another author, I would happily read them.

Review: Weightless (Kandi Steiner)

Weightless
Author: Kandi Steiner
Publication Date: June 16, 2016
Publisher: Kandi Steiner
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I remember the lights.

I remember I wanted to photograph them, the way the red and blue splashed across his cold, emotionless face. But I knew even if my feet could move from the place where they had cemented themselves to the ground and I could run for my camera, I wouldn’t be able to capture that moment.

I had trusted him, I had loved him, and even though my body had changed that summer, he’d made sure to help me hold on to who I was inside, regardless of how the exterior altered.

But then everything changed.

He stole my innocence. He scarred my heart. He took everything I thought I knew about my life and fast-pitched it out the window, shattering the glass that held my world together in the process.

I remember the lights.

The passionate, desperate, hot strikes of red. The harsh, cruel, icy bolts of blue.

They symbolized everything I endured that summer.

And everything I would never face again.


Kandi Steiner is an author who is newer to me. I’ve read and liked a couple of her books and have wanted to read more. I decided to give Weightless a try because I was intrigued by the blurb. I liked it, but there were several things that bugged me.

Let me start with what I liked. Natalie was a character that reminded me a bit of myself in/at the end of high school. She saw herself as imperfect and not worthy of the people she loved. Natalie was overweight and bigger than the other girls. She had just been dumped and saw losing weight as the way to win back her man. Natalie put in the effort to be a healthier version of herself for someone else. I wish I could say I haven’t been in those shoes, but I have. While I didn’t love every decision she made, I loved how much she grew and became more comfortable in her own skin. That was the best part of this book — her journey.

Now, I’m going to rant a little bit. I wasn’t a big fan of most of the other characters. Mason and Shay made me pretty mad. Mason because I’ve had ex-boyfriends like him. He didn’t want to be with Natalie, but he kept her hanging on by a thread. He made her feel like she wasn’t someone to love the way she was, and that sucked. He sucked. I hated him. Shay was just an insecure mean girl. I wish Natalie could have seen that from the beginning.

Rhodes I was a little wishy washy over. The dude was good for Natalie’s self esteem, but he had some major issues. I couldn’t get past his extracurricular jobs and how Natalie was able to kind of look past it. That part of the story was a big turn off for me. It made me not want to keep reading. I did end up liking him in the end, though.

I did like the mystery surrounding Rhodes’ twin sister, but I felt it could have been more of a focus and a little more fleshed out. Her being missing was mentioned here and there, but it didn’t become a big focus until right before the end.

Basically, there was a lot of good stuff in this book. I just didn’t love it all.

Series Review: Between the Lines (Tammara Webber)

Once again, I’m working on my backlist. Between the Lines is a series I’ve wanted to read since I fell in love with Tammara Webber’s Contours of the Heart series. I was excited to finally get around to reading it. Here are my thoughts on each of the four books in the series.


Between the Lines (#1) ★ ★ ★

I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t dislike it either. Between the Lines is told in two perspectives. The first was Emma’s. She was an almost eighteen year old who was cast in a movie along side Reid, one of the hottest young stars of the moment. I liked Emma a lot. She seemed like a teenager trying to figure life out. The other perspective was Reid’s. I hated Reid. He was a tool and a jerk. It was really hard reading his thoughts and choices. He is what made me not love this book — along with the fact that there is a third player in this story. Emma also has a developing “friendship” with another actor names Graham that makes a love triangle out of this book. As this book comes to an end, big secrets are exposed and the triangle is sorted out. I’m glad it didn’t leave me hanging. In the end, this one felt a big set up for the rest of the series to me. I am going to keep reading because I’m curious and have the rest of the books.

Where You Are (#2) – ★ ★ ★

The Reid – Emma – Graham triangle continues! Well, it becomes a love square as Brooke jumps in on the action and increases the drama. I still hated Reid, but he did do one thing I respected. I loved Emma. Graham turned out to be a total sweetheart. Brooke…I loved her last book, but now I feel as good about her as I do Reid. Where you Are was a wild ride.

Good for You (#3) ★ ★ ★

I really, really didn’t want a book about Reid falling in love. I mean, the guy is a total turd. I didn’t want it to be a woman who changed him because that wouldn’t be real life. I wanted him to change himself. That being said, I liked who Reid became. He grew up. It was refreshing to see him come to some conclusions about himself. Dori was okay. I liked all the stuff she had to go through.

Here Without You (#4) ★ ★ ★ ★

This, in my opinion, was the best book of the series. Everything came full circle for the remaining cast of characters. I loved how it was done. I also really loved how Tammara Webber wrote River. This ended up being an interesting celebrity coming of age series. It’s worth a read if you’re a fan of the author.

Review: The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred

The Sweet Gum Tree
Author: Katherine Allread
Publication Date: May 12, 2005
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction, New Adult, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beans—everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever.

Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick’s abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer.

Suddenly, Nick is gone—leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick’s abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she’s starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she’s content if not happy—until the day she looks up and sees Nick standing across the counter. He’s back…and he’s not alone.

Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she’s built around her emotions—the truth about Frank Anderson’s death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.


The Sweet Gum Tree is not a book that I normally would have picked up. Honestly, the cover and title wouldn’t have appealed to me. Luckily, I read a review of it by Stephanie. Her review made The Sweet Gum Tree sound so interesting. I decided I wanted to read it and requested it from my local library. I’m so happy I did! I ended up really enjoying this book. I didn’t want to put it down. I read it one night, and stayed up super late to finish it.
When I first started reading The Sweet Gum Tree, I wondered what I was getting myself into. While the story was written in my favorite first person narration, it was told straight to me by the main character Alix rather than experiencing it with her. That felt really odd to me. I got used to it and kind of forgot about it. It didn’t ruin the book for me.

I loved the setting of The Sweet Gum Tree. I’m a big fan of books set in the southern United States. This one was even more special with it being set in a small town. I could easily imagine how closely tied together all of the characters were.

I really liked how the story started when Alix was a young girl and grew with her until adulthood. This was done in a great way. I got just enough of her story at important times in her life to understand how she ended up where she was an adult. I loved seeing how her relationship with Nick in all those years changed Alix. I adored Alex and Nick’s love for each other. It was so sweet and it grew from a very special friendship.

What drove me nuts about The Sweet Gum Tree was the lack of communication between the characters. That caused the majority of the problems, and showed just how immature the characters were — even into adulthood. Another thing that was a little frustrating was all the cheating involved in the story. It wasn’t described, so that wasn’t the problem. It was the way that the characters all reacted to it. It seemed like no big deal and was easily forgiven. That was just so odd.

Overall, The Sweet Gum Tree was a surprisingly addictive read. It wasn’t perfect in my eyes, but that didn’t matter. It drew me in, kept my attention, and left me satisfied in the end. If you’re a fan of women’s fiction, books set in the South, or books set in a small town, you might want to give The Sweet Gum Tree a try. It’s a special book.

Review: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

If There’s No Tomorrow
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Audio
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications, and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be one of opportunities and chances.Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian could never forgive her for what happened.For what she let happen.With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?


If There’s No Tomorrow is the first book I’ve read / listened to by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I’ve seen her books around and thought they probably weren’t my thing. For some reason, I thought all of her books had fantasy elements in them. To be completely honest, the only reason I requested this audio book was because Stephanie told me I should consider this author for my fantasy NA bingo checklist. I chose this one because it was available from library. It wasn’t a fantasy at all. I couldn’t find any reason to be disappointed in that other than it didn’t check off that box because I loved this book. It was a great introduction to Jennifer L. Armentrout’s writing and it made me actually interested in her fantasy novels.

Keeping with the whole honesty thing I have going on in this review, I have to warn readers that this book was slow going. I’m not sure if that was just because I was listening to it and the narrator had a slow and somber way of delivering the text or if it was actually a slow read. At first, this kind of bugged me because I wanted to yell at her to get on with the story. As the story progressed, it made sense with Lena’s thoughts and feelings. She was so in her head, and the narrator did an excellent job portraying that.

As for the story, I loved it. There were so many different emotions that went along with it. Lena was such a complex character. Her thoughts and feelings about everything and everyone were so well written. She’s a character I was easily frustrated by but completely understood. It was uncomfortable being in her head, but it paid off in the end. Her story was one that needs to be shared. It truly showed how one bad decision can change everything — especially when it comes to drinking and driving. I also felt it did a great job at portraying survivors guilt. I’ve never been in the position to have that type of guilt, but I felt it through Lena.

Overall, I felt that If There’s No Tomorrow is an important, timeless read. It’s geared to young adults, but I think adults would benefit from reading it as well.

Review: Losing the Field by Abbi Glines

Losing the Field
Series: The Field Party, #4
Author: Abbi Glines
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA, Sports, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Losing his dream, his ultimate plan, and his future- Nash Lee never expected to be facing a life without football. One wrong move and it had all changed. Going back to school for his senior year no longer appealed to him. He’d rather not leave his house. Walking back into Lawton High School, seeing pity in everyone’s eyes was just another reality in his nightmare.

Revenge wasn’t a pretty thing. Tallulah Liddell had found it was rather controlling. The way you looked at life changed completely when you clung to the ugly notion. But she’d done it anyway. From the last day of her junior year when Ryker Lee had made a fat joke about her and Nash laughed with him, she’d been driven by pain. It wasn’t like no one had made fun of her weight before. She was used to that. What had hurt so deeply was Nash’s laughter. He’d always been the one person to notice her, include her, not treat her differently. But that one moment had changed it all. From the time she walked out of the school building to the moment she returned for her senior year Tallulah had been determined to lose weight and finally be the size her peers considered acceptable.

What she wasn’t expecting on her return was to find a broken Nash Lee who no longer smiled, rarely spoke, and didn’t care about anything or anyone around him. He was just existing. But the pain in his eyes she understood all too well. He was alone. He no longer fit into the perfect package.


I don’t know… I have some mixed feeling about Losing the Field. In order to keep my thoughts straight, I’m going to bullet point this review with what worked for me and what didn’t.

What worked:

  • I flew through it. I read it in one sitting and it had my attention the entire time.
  • I liked Tallulah. Her wanting to be outside of the spotlight was understandable. I liked that she didn’t really change with losing weight. I could identify with some of Tallulah’s feelings on being overweight and also losing a lot of weight. I understood how one person’s comments — especially someone you like — could influence you to lose weight.
  • I liked Nash. He was a decent guy — even when he wasn’t the nicest. Nash’s rage and attitude was easy to understand. I liked how connecting with Tallulah helped him overcome some of his issues.
  • Nash and Tallulah together. They were a cute couple.

What didn’t work:

  • Coach Dace. Everything involving him was just…ick. I wasn’t actually upset with where his character took the story, only what became of the situation and the reactions to it.
  • Haegan. That whole scenario just felt weird. I didn’t get why it really needed to be in this book with how it all worked out.
  • The two things I just listed combined with all the slut and fat shaming were just too much for one book. There was just too much going on for one book.

When it comes down to it, I guess I just expected more from Losing the Field. I still enjoyed reading it, but it’s probably my least favorite book a series that I’ve really enjoyed.

Review: In Harmony by Emma Scott

In Harmony
Author: Emma Scott
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received this book from NetGalley. This review is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In Harmony…gives a voice to the voiceless…”

The root of all madness is an unbearable truth…

At seventeen, Willow Holloway’s life was torn apart. The happy, driven girl is gone, and she is left wracked by post-traumatic stress her body remembers even if she does not. When her father suddenly uproots the family from their posh penthouse in New York City to the tiny town of Harmony, Indiana, Willow becomes more untethered and lost under the weight of her secret. On a whim, she auditions for a part in the community theater’s production of Hamlet and unexpectedly wins the role of Ophelia—the girl who is undone by madness, and her love of Hamlet…

Isaac Pearce is from the ‘wrong side of the tracks.’ The town bad boy. Girls pine for his attention and guys are in awe of him. That he’s an acting prodigy only adds to his charisma. Isaac utterly disappears into his characters; the stage is the only place he feels safe from his own traumatic home life. He wants nothing more than to escape to Broadway or Hollywood and leave Harmony behind for good.

No one can play Hamlet but Isaac, and when the director pairs him with Willow in acting class, they clash again and again—neither willing to open their hearts to anyone. But clashing leads to breaking, breaking leads to the spilling of terrible secrets, and soon Isaac and Willow find Shakespeare’s words mirroring their lives. When they are cruelly torn apart, neither know how this play will end—with madness and heartache? Or healing, love, and the discovery of who they are truly meant to be.

In Harmony is a standalone YOUNG ADULT/NEW ADULT love story, and is intended for readers 18 and up. PLEASE NOTE, this book contains sensitive material such as physical abuse, and the aftermath of sexual assault (off the page). Reader discretion is advised.


It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Emma Scott. I have to admit that I had to wait until I was ready to pick up a book that I knew would be emotionally taxing. Emma Scott’s books always hit me hard. She makes me feel so much, and I knew that In Harmony was going to be one of those books that would bring tears to my eyes. It totally did.

In Harmony is a story about two broken young adults. Willow is not herself. She hasn’t been since her world was changed over a year ago. Willow hopes that moving to Harmony, Indiana will make things easier. Maybe she can get back to the girl she was before. Isaac is the town’s bad boy. He doesn’t mind the title. It keeps people from bothering him while he’s working on getting out-of-town. His one chance to leave his horrible existence behind is his acting. When Willow and Isaac are cast in a play together, they find a comfort in each other and a chance to heal.

This book was so beautiful. I can’t really even come up with the words to explain it. Willow and Isaac had been through some horrid things. I hated that they had been through so much. It made my heart hurt. I loved the comfort and trust they found in each other, and how meeting each other changed their lives for the better. It was just such an incredibly important story.

I know this review is short, but I’m so overwhelmed with the feelings this book gave me. In Harmony was truly a special book. I highly recommend reading it.

Review: The Accidentals by Sarina Bowen

The Accidentals
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Never ask a question unless you’re sure you want the truth.

I’ve been listening to my father sing for my whole life. I carry him in my pocket on my mp3 player. It’s just that we’ve never met face to face.

My mother would never tell me how I came to be, or why my rock star father and I have never met. I thought it was her only secret. I was wrong.

When she dies, he finally appears. Suddenly I have a first class ticket into my father’s exclusive world. A world I don’t want any part of – not at this cost.
Only three things keep me going: my a cappella singing group, a swoony blue-eyed boy named Jake, and the burning questions in my soul. There’s a secret shame that comes from being an unwanted child. It drags me down, and puts distance between me and the boy I love.

My father is the only one alive who knows my history. I need the truth, even if it scares me.


Welcome to YA, Sarina Bowen!

Sarina Bowen is one of my most favorite NA/Adult contemporary romance writers. When I learned she was going to be writing her first YA novel, I was really excited. Based on what she’s done in NA/Adult, I could only imagine what type of YA novel she would write. I knew it was going to be amazing, and I was right!

The Accidentals is the story of a teenager who finally gets to meet the father she’s only known through the press after her mother dies. It’s a bittersweet pill for Rachel to swallow. She can’t help but feel guilty over the joy of meeting the man her mother wanted to keep her away from. As Rachel gets to know her father, she meets Jake. Jake is perfect for Rachel, if she doesn’t let her past ruin her present.

I was immediately impressed with The Accidentals. It had me hooked from page one. The story was so emotional. Being in Rachel’s shoes would have been so hard. I can’t imagine having my biggest dream fulfilled while losing the most important person in my life. It would have been devastating, and it was to her. Her sense of guilt and loss radiated off the pages.

The rest of the characters were just as well written as Rachel. Frederick was the perfectly flawed musician. Rachel’s relationship with him developed in a guarded way that I really enjoyed. I also liked how her friendships went through ups and downs. The one with Haze was especially interesting to me.

What was surprising to me was the romance in The Accidentals. It took a backseat to everything else going on in the book. I was expecting the story to revolve more around it, but was glad that it didn’t. I liked Rachel’s romance with Jake, but the relationship with her mother and father were more important. I loved that was the focus.

As far as I’m concerned, Sarina Bowen’s first step into the world of YA was perfection. I absolutely adored The Accidentals. I hope this was just the first of many YA books to come from Bowen.

Review: One Small Thing by Erin Watt

One Small Thing
Author: Erin Watt
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.

Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…

Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.

Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.


There are so many collaborations in the book world these days. One of my very favorites is Erin Watt: Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick. Their writing together is seamless and outstanding. In One Small Thing they weave romance, emotion, and surprise in the entertaining way they have become known for.

For those who have previously read Erin Watt’s books, I’m sure you’re wondering whether One Small Thing closer to The Royals series or When It’s Real. I would say it’s closer to When It’s Real, but that it does have some elements of The Royals mixed in. It’s a darker, more emotional story. I really liked the journey it took me on.

One Small Thing is the story of a girl just trying to live her life after her older sister’s death. Since the moment her sister died, Beth’s parents have been controlling her every move. Beth’s started doing things against her parents’ wishes in order to reclaim her freedom. When she sneaks out to a party, Beth meets Chase. He’s a bad boy right out of juvie. Beth should stay away from him, but she can’t get past their night at the party together. Their romance would be forbidden, but Chase is the only one who truly sees Beth.

Beth was a great female YA character. The way she approached her problems wasn’t always healthy, but she was willing to stand up for what she believed in. I loved Chase and his willingness to accept fault. He didn’t blame others. He accepted responsibility and tried to move on. Beth’s relationship with Chase wasn’t easy, but it was right. I loved how they helped each other heal and find direction in their lives.

There were a ton of other great characters in this book, too. Most of them weren’t ones I fell in love with, but I appreciated their part in One Small Thing. They helped the plot go in the direction it needed to.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading One Small Thing. It made me feel so many different emotions. I loved how it dealt with forgiveness, grief, understanding and love. It was a unique love story that I feel will resonate strongly with readers.

Audiobook Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Leah on the Offbeat
Series: Creekwood, #2
Author: Becky Albertalli
Narrator: Shannon Purser
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ+

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In this sequel to the acclaimed Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—now a major motion picture, Love, Simon—we follow Simon’s BFF Leah as she grapples with changing friendships, first love, and senior year angst.

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.

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.


I might be the only one who feels this way, but I thought Leah on the Offbeat was even better than Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I loved Simon, but it took me almost until the end to appreciate it as much as I did.

I was in love with Leah from the beginning. She wasn’t perfect. Leah had some major flaws, but they made her easy to relate to. Her world was changing. Even when she was fighting those changes or making dumb decisions, I could understand why she made the choices she did. Leah was afraid to put herself out there and get hurt or hurt her friends. I loved the reality of those situations. I’ve felt that way so many times in my life.

What struck me most about Leah and this book were the relationships in it. Everything that happened with Leah and her friends reminded me of some of my own school friendships. There’s always drama and ups and downs with friendships in high school. This book did an excellent job portraying friendships and how they evolve. It was my favorite part of the book. Well, besides Leah’s relationship with her mom. I loved that. Leah wasn’t the nicest to her mom, but when are we ever the nicest to the people who love us unconditionally when growing up? It was a good reminder to me that our parents are people, too. I still forget that even as an adult sometimes.

Overall, I adored listening to this book. Becky Albertalli’s writing was as amazing as always. Her characters were complex but easy to love. Shannon Purser brought life to Leah in an unforgettable way with her voice. Leah and the Offbeat is one of my favorite YA audiobooks I’ve read so far this year.