leah is a best seller and i am a crying mess.

Picture the scene: I'm sat in my room, aimlessly scrolling around on my phone when I decide to check twitter for the hundredth time (no reason. I'm just checking because what else do I do when I'm waiting for more energy to finish my Charms lesson in Hogwarts?) The app opens and I'm suddenly faced with a feed full of happy yelling and blue love hearts. Huh? Oh. Leah on the Offbeat news; that's cool I wonder what it is. (At this point I'm still not really paying attention.)

Then I look at what is actually being retweeted and immediately burst into tears.

Leah on the Offbeat is a new number one best seller. A book about two girls falling in love is a number one best seller.  A book from an author I adore and trust is a number one best seller.  Cue Tears. Lots of them.

Now a little confession: despite attempting to be a book blogger I am so out of the loop with book things it's not even funny - I had no clue the NYT list was even coming out on Wednesday until I opened twitter so it's not as if I was anticipating or stressfully hoping for this news! And I hadn't read it yet either so why exactly did I burst into tears the second I realised Leah was topping the list?

I put it down to two things - trust and representation.  I've read Upside and Simon and I trusted Becky to write this story well, I trusted her to do it justice.  Even without having read it I knew I would give it at least four stars just because of how much I adore her writing and how genuine she is in her story telling.  The fact that her writing was now topping the charts was incredible and I felt a ridiculous wave of pride for her!

Saying that however; I do feel that the main reason for the tears is definitely the second one I listed there. Representation. This is the first book I can ever remember topping the charts where the main character is one I can relate to.  Where the main relationship is between two women.  Yes I know there are loads of f/f books but not many of them make the list - and I know some of them have, I'm in no way trying to erase the success of Marieke Nijkamp (or any other authors) but I wasn't aware of either of her NYT list books until very recently.  With Leah I already knew the book was about two girls. The world knows that the book is about two girls and that doesn't happen very often.  Normally I find out about a book by going searching for it and Leah literally landed on my lap.

My entire reading list this year is full of books I've found out by explicitly searching 'happy ending lesbian couple' or 'bisexual protagonist' etc. and the majority of the ones I found are books that I already knew. I've heard the titles, I've seen them in bookshops but I never picked them up because I had no idea they contained a gay protagonist or a female love interest.  So much of marketing is what appeals to the wider market and it's very clear that f/f is seen as non-appealing or at the very least as something to hide until the last minute.  Leah isn't like that.  Leah was openly and publicly marketed as bisexual with a female love interest. Leah was openly talked about and widely known about and she topped the best seller list anyway.

So I think that's why I cried. It's knowing that a book openly stating 'I'm a bi girl' hit the NYT list.  It's knowing that an author I trust and like hit the NYT list (the amount of times I've read books which end up being hurtful or bad rep or just a bit 'eh' is honestly ridiculous but like I said earlier - I trust Becky, I trusted that this book wouldn't end up being one of those.) It's knowing that a book I could relate to was on the NYT list.  F/F was on the NYT list.  Representation of my love for girls was on the New York Times Bestseller list.  As someone who grew up genuinely thinking there was something wrong with me because not only did I not know any gay people in real life there also weren't any in the books I was reading this is like Christmas and all my birthdays and all the summer holidays came at once.  Partly for me because F/F is topping the charts and it's glorious but also partly for anyone out there who is like me.  Who loves reading and girls but hasn't yet found anything that combines the two.  Well we're out there. We are at the very top of the best seller list and the entire world can see us so excuse me while I go and cry again because this is the first time I can remember, the first time I am aware of and I'm so happy about it.

I have now read it - all in one go until three in the morning the day it came out because I just could not put it down and go to sleep.  It's amazing. Five billion stars. I absolutely adored it.  My review will be up sometime in the next couple of weeks so keep an eye out for that!

eloise x

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