April 15, 2015 by Bernadette ~ The Bumbling Bookworm
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Publisher/Year: Penguin Books, 25 March 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, LGBTI
Format: Paperback, Review Copy
Source: Courtesy of the Publisher
Rating: 5 stars!
Other books from author: This is her debut novel!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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.
What I Thought…
After immersing myself in quite a number of different fantasy worlds lately, this book was EXACTLY what I needed to read at this time. It was super cute and adorable and fluffy! What a fantastic read!
When we meet our protagonist, Simon Spier, he’s in a bit of a pickle. You see, Simon is gay but not out, and he has an email relationship with boy named Blue. Blue also goes to Simon’s school, and neither knows the other’s true identity. Their email relationship is super adorable and I could bask in it’s glory all day long. Unfortunately The one blight on all the adorableness is Martin and his stupid blackmail plot. Martin has discovered Simon’s secrets and continues to use them against him to get in with Simon’s friend Abby. Oh what a tangled web!
One of the things I absolutely loved about this book was Simon and his relationships with his friends and family. Simon is so nerdy and funny, his sense of humour is super dry and I often found myself laughing aloud as I read. He has his parents and their wacky behaviour to contend with, along with his two sisters Alice and Nora. His friendship group at school is varied, with Nick and Leah his oldest friends and Abby the newcomer to the group. The jocks hang out with the drama kids and there’s a real mingling between them all. Albertalli has written some amazing platonic and romantic relationships in this book; not all of them are without their issues but they’re healthy relationships which can sometimes be hard to find in books. It reminded me a lot of my family and my time at school, which brought on all kinds of nostalgia!
Unlike Simon, who at times found himself pitying Martin, I was not so magnanimous. What he did was horrendous, and unfortunately the blackmail plot is not the worst of it. There were times when I just wanted to shake him around the shoulders and slap him upside the head! I mean, really, who does that!?! Gah, I’m still cross thinking about it now!!
I’ve never read any LGBTI fiction before, but what Simon went through felt so realistic – his conflict at wanting to come out yet wanting to stay in the closet, his difficulty telling the people closest to him about his inner self. He’s concerned that he may be rejected, and that if those closest to him reject him then he won’t know who he truly is. I felt conflicted along with him, and there was one quote which I found to be particularly poignant:
Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.
I often think that in this day and age, it shouldn’t be a big deal when gay people come out – not because it’s meaningless, which it isn’t, but because it shouldn’t be this great shock. This quote really resonated with me because there shouldn’t be a default. We’re all different, there are so many things that make us unique and we shouldn’t have to explain outselves. Certainly not in 2015!
This book made me swoon, it made me laugh, it made me a little teary, and it was so freaking adorable that I just can’t stand it! I just want to pick it back up and read it all over again! I’ve read so many good books this year, and this is definitely a new favourite. I highly recommend it!
What did you think of this book? Did you enjoy it?