This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase what is discussed. I will receive a small commission from the sale.Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Written by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer + Bray
Published on April 7th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT+, Romance, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon, on Book Depository, or on Barnes & Noble
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.
There are books you see everywhere across the book community and that don’t live up to the hype when you start reading them. And then there’s Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda.
I’m quite the slow reader because 1) reading in your second language requires more effort and 2) I get easily distracted. But let me tell you, I devoured Simon vs in only one day, because I simply couldn’t put it down. And then I picked it up again and read the last few chapters a second time. And a third time. And, well, not a fourth time, but I could have.
Simon vs is such a feel-good book. It’s light and fluffy, even if it doesn’t shy away from discussing heavy topics like blackmail, being forced to come out, and bullying. It’s such a nice take on LGBT+ stories, in that it is a coming-out story but it’s not full of angst and sad tropes. And when you’re queer yourself, even older than the teen audience this book is aimed at, it’s always a breath of fresh air to read a gay love story that isn’t all tears and drama. Oh, there are tears alright, but happy ones. I can’t imagine how important this book can be to LGBT+ teens in need of someone to look up to. Well, yes, I can actually. And that’s awesome.
I will admit to knowing who Blue was from the very beginning, if only because I spoiled myself by asking a friend if [redacted] was the one playing the love interest in the upcoming movie. (He does!) (I be happy!!) But it didn’t ruin the reading experience for me, because I was still looking for clues as to Blue’s identity alongside Simon. And I will admit to having a big “aaaah!” moment when I got the logic behind one big clue. Which may have made me look like a mad woman to one of my friends, but oh well.
Also, I just really like when teenagers are written as teenagers? I mean, sometimes in contemporary fiction, teenagers just sound and act like adults, which makes it hard to find authenticity in the characters. But in that case, a lot of Simon’s thoughts and actions reminded me of being a teenager, with all the mistakes and naivety that comes with it. It has a raw, real feeling to it that adds more charm to the book. Mostly because it makes the characters more realistic, more alive.
In short, Simon vs is a perfect read when you want a bit of sunshine in your life despite a gloomy January day in London. Or even when it’s sunny outside too, to be honest!