Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
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.
Review: I liked a romance-y book. What is happening to me? Is this real life?
I can’t believe I almost skipped this novel. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. The synopsis intrigued me, but the reviews made it sound so sweet and fluffy. I don’t do fluffy, and I can’t stand cutesy romances, so I was nervous about this book. But, it turned out to be amazing! It has so much more depth than I expected.
Sixteen-year-old Simon meets someone called “Blue” on Tumblr. They start emailing, and their emails eventually become sexual. All Simon knows about “Blue” is that he’s a boy, and he goes to Simon’s school. One day, a classmate, Martin, sees Simon’s emails and uses them to blackmail Simon in to setting him up with the hottest girl in school.
I flew through this book. It’s so entertaining. Every time I put it down, I picked it up again right away. I read most of it in a few hours because I needed to figure out Blue’s identity and see how Simon would get himself out of this blackmail mess. I love the mystery surrounding Blue. Every time a new character was introduced, I thought, Is that Blue? No, it can’t be. Is that other guy Blue? I did figure out Blue’s identity long before Simon did, but I was never 100% positive, so I didn’t mind being correct in the end.
Even though this novel deals with serious subjects, it’s really funny. My favorite part is Simon and Blue’s email conversations. Both characters are extremely intelligent and humorous. There are a few laugh-out-loud lines in the book. At one point, Simon talks about going through puberty and discovering erotic fanfiction. He says, “That was the summer I taught myself how to do laundry. There are some socks that shouldn’t be washed by your mom.” I spent about five minutes laughing like an immature idiot at that line.
I had a lot of fun with this book, but I do have some issues with it. I think it starts abruptly. It took me a while to figure out what was happening and why all of these characters are important. There are a lot of characters, and almost all of them are underdeveloped. The underdevelopment does tie in to the book’s theme, but it also makes it difficult to keep the characters straight at first.
This story has a great message about identity. It’s impossible to know everything about a person, and you shouldn’t make assumptions about anyone. “People really are like houses with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it's a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”
I would have skipped this book if I had listened to my assumptions about it. I’m so happy that I ignored them and read the book.