You may know Becky Albertalli as the author of the acclaimed novels Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (the book that gave life to Love, Simon, starring Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford and Keiynan Lonsdale), The Upside of Unrequited, Leah on the Offbeat (coming out on April 24th), or maybe as the co-author of What If It’s Us with Adam Silvera. But I guarantee you she’s much more than that.
You may be wondering “how is Becky any different than other authors and why should we read her stuff?” Well, for starters, her books are just gay all over the place. While some straight authors don’t write much representation into their books, when it comes to LGBTQIAP+ characters, Becky actually does the opposite. All 3 books of Becky Albertalli’s books (only 2 have been published) have LGBTQIAP+ characters in them.
In Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, we meet Simon Spier, a sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay who prefers to save his drama for the school musical. Although when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrown into the spotlight. Simon gets blackmailed by the class clown Martin Addison; if Simon doesn’t play wingman for Martin, his sexual identity will be exposed and hence become everyone’s business. And even worse, the privacy of Blue— the pen name of the boy Simon’s been emailing—will be compromised.
With the drama between his group of friends and his relationship with Blue developing flirtatiously, Simon’s junior year has gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, the boy has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out, without alienating his friends, compromising himself or losing a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
In The Upside of Unrequited, we follow Molly Peskin-Suso (who’s the cousin of Simon’s friend Abby!) who knows everything about unrequited love considering she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often but she always keeps it a secret. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up and go for it, Molly can never stomach the idea of rejection. When a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit and for the first time she becomes a lovesick mess, Molly sees herself dying of loneliness. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. There’s only one problem: Molly’s co-worker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien super fan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him, right?
In Leah on the Offbeat, we follow the squad from Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda in their senior year of high school. This book is written from the point of view of Simon’s best friend Leah. Leah Burke is a girl-band drummer and master of deadpan. When it comes to drumming, Leah is usually on the beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. She’s an outsider in her friend group, the only child of a single young mom and her life is decidedly less privileged. Besides drumming, Leah also loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t gathered the courage to tell her friends, not even her openly gay bestie, Simon. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high and Leah doesn’t really know what to do when her friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. It’s hard for Leah to hit the right note while her loved ones are fighting, especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.
Besides writing fluffy books with happy endings and LGBTQIAP+ characters, Becky also writes main fat female characters, which is something we rarely see in YA novels and literature in general. Due to the literary stereotypes, a lot of people tend to ignore the fact that fat people need representation just as much as LGBTQIAP+ people or people or colour; but Becky actually acknowledges that fact and incorporates it into her novels by writing two of her main characters, Molly and Leah, as fat.
Becky interacts with her readers daily and shows them support by doing small and simple things such as reading and responding to tweets, or by merely reading their fanfiction or noticing their fan art. So if you’re looking for an author that writes cute happy books AND interacts with her supporters, you should absolutely check her content out.