Love, Creekwood

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Love, Creekwood Book Poster Image
Short, sweet LGBTQ romance as friends start college.

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Kids say

age 14+
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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Romance meant to entertain.

Positive Messages

Change can be scary and hard to navigate, but don't be afraid to make changes when you need to. Even your level of happiness will have ups and downs throughout life, but hopefully the support of friends and loved ones will always be there. You don't owe anyone your happiness; if you're sad it's OK to be sad and don't worry about how it makes other people feel.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Simon, Blue, Abby, and Leah all model strong, loyal bonds of friendship. They also strongly model positive same-sex romantic relationships. There are no physical descriptions, so issues like race, ethnicity, or body type aren't mentioned; readers of the previous books will be aware of the characters' physical differences. There's some speculation at one point that Simon may be struggling with depression. He says he isn't, and the issue isn't explored any further or in depth.

Violence
Sex

Via email, first-year college students mention having sex and talk about romantic feelings and physical attraction, but nothing's directly described. Having sex is implied in mentions like not doing much sleeping in bed. Mention of a past incident of someone nude doing cartwheels. Mention that a cartoon character looks like a penis.

Language

"S--tty," "f--king," "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "dumbasses," "sucks," "WTF," "Jesus Christ" as an exclamation, and "goddamn."

Consumerism

Lots of tech, food, and beverage products as well as restaurants and some retail outlets mentioned by name. One character is obsessed with Oreo cookies.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In one email Simon admits to being "a little drunk" when he's writing it. Mention that Blue had three glasses of champagne. A drunk girl remembered from high school.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Love, Creekwood is a short romance novella that continues the story in author Becky Albertalli's popular series of books, which includes Simon vs. the Homosapeins Agenda. It would be best to read the other books first because this one has a lot of spoilers about them. The four main characters are now in their first year of college and are paired off into two same-sex relationships. The story's all told in email exchanges between the friends, so sex and romance are mentioned but nothing's directly narrated. Frequent strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole." Lots of representations of positive same-sex relationships and supportive bonds of friendship. Issues explored include coping with change, doing your best even in unhappy circumstances, and not being too afraid to make positive changes in your life. There's some speculation at one point that Simon may be struggling with depression.

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Teen, 16 years old Written byInigo Montoya October 16, 2020

You'll Only Care if You Love the Others

If you don't love the other books in the series, this isn't a book you should read. It's almost like an epilogue to the books that lets you know... Continue reading

What's the story?

LOVE, CREEKWOOD continues the stories of Simon, Blue, Abby, and Leah who are now all off at college. Abby and Leah are roommates together, but Simon and Blue are each in different colleges and missing each other like crazy. All four have to figure out how to navigate their new lives and what the changes mean to their relationships. Will Abby and Leah get too close, too tired of each other if they're together all the time? And will Simon and Blue be able to maintain their long-distance relationship?

Is it any good?

Fans of the "Simonverse" will eagerly devour this short, sweet novella, which serves as an epilogue for the much-loved characters in Becky Albertalli's book series. Reading the other books (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Upside of Unrequited, and Leah on the Offbeat) first is highly recommended because this book has lots of spoilers about them. Love, Creekwood has plenty of humor and sigh-worthy romance to stand on its own as a breezy, quick read. But if you don't already know and care about the characters and their stories so far, it won't resonate as deeply as it will for fans of the franchise because there's almost no character development here. 

It's part of a franchise that includes a movie (Love, Simon) and a spin-off TV show (Love, Victor). All the entries feature refreshingly positive LGBTQ role models and representations. Issues like love, romance, and coping with change are universal enough that any teen can relate to one or more of the characters. Lots of strong language and some brief but normalizing mentions of sex and drinking make it best for teens in high school and up.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the strong language in Love, Creekwood. How much is too much? Is it realistic? Does it matter if it is?

  • Did you read any of the other books in the series first? Which was your favorite? If not, would you like to now? What about the movie adaptaion, Love, Simon, and the Hulu TV show, Love, Victor? How do they compare?

  • In the Acknowledgements, author Becky Albertalli says she spent five years swearing she'd never write this book. Why do you think she changed her mind?

Book details

  • Author: Becky Albertalli
  • Genre: Romance
  • Topics: Friendship
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray
  • Publication date: June 30, 2020
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
  • Number of pages: 128
  • Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
  • Last updated: July 31, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Teen romance and LGBTQ+ stories

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