Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genres: YA, GLBT, contemporary, romance
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
“People really are like house with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”
I really enjoyed this book but I had a couple of issues that drove me mad at the beginning and nearly had me DNFing up to around 20%. They’re nitpicks really, so I’ll just list them quickly now.
1. Simon’s ‘teenage’ way of narrating. I mean, I can’t even. Maybe it’s just that I don’t read a lot of contemporary’s but this really grated my nerves for a long time.
2. Simon goes along with Martin’s plan without any real consideration of how Abby will feel about it, or about the fact he’s setting his friend up with a complete douche-bag. I was glad Abby called him out for this in the end, which made it less bothersome.
3. The Tumblr.If you’re going to use any kind of social media or pop culture reference surely you should do at least some research? Five minutes spent on the website or talking to it’s users would be enough to know that it’s called Tumblr, no the. It’s silly, but every time it was mentioned, it made me think of my dad talking about The MyFace. Not great for what’s meant to be a teenage narrator, which contantly threw me out of the story.
Other than that, I can see why this book has been so popular. It’s very fun and fluffy, despite the blackmailing plot (perhaps even treating Martin a little too lightly). The characters are great. I loved Simon’s circle of friends, how they were all there for him in there own ways. His family reads like a real family, in that there were joke and blow-ups but with affection underneath that. And of course finally, there are Simon and Blue. The relationship is lovely to watch develop, and neither of them handles everything perfectly, just like real teenagers. I suspected Blue’s identity but probably not too early for the plot, and I enjoyed the red-herrings that were thrown in.
I’ve seen the word ‘cute’ constantly used to describe this book, and I think that probably the perfect description. Cute in a good way. Cute the way ‘cute’ should be written. A lovely light-weight story, that really stayed with me.