Simon Versus the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 7, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary, LGBTQ+
5 Stars, Completed April 24, 2015
– highlight to view SPOILERS –
This fantastic book was on my goodreads TBR shelf for a while now, but after seeing Justin fanboy (yes, I just made “fanboy” a verb) in his review I had to get a hold of a copy as soon as I could.
Simon Spier is a Harry Potter fanboy, music enthusiast, theater boy, and Oreo addict, but among these many characteristics, he’s also a closet gay. Simon has a quirky family and close group of friends, however the only person that knows his secret is his somewhat online boyfriend, Blue. He and Blue have been emailing each other for months after Blue’s post about loneliness on the school’s tumblr, Creeksecrets, an internet outlet used by the student body to post anonymous confessions and secrets. The book begins with Martin Addison logging on the school computer and accidentally discovering Simon’s sexual identity and his secret email correspondence with the careful Blue. Martin also screenshots the emails and blackmails Simon into helping Martin get together with Simon’s close friend, Abby. (I hope that wasn’t too confusing to follow…) From there several misunderstandings arise and Simon’s world is a pandemonium.
This was actually the first LGBTQ+ book I’ve read and it didn’t disappoint. What I really loved about this book was the realism. The characters are relatable, the emotions soaked into the pages were pragmatic, and the entire storyline was compellingly real. I can’t say I understand what it feels like to be gay or have to struggle with the pressure of coming out, but the readers definitely live through the anxiety Simon feels throughout the entire book. The mystery of Blue’s identity made me intrigued, so I found myself reading at odd hours of the night to discover this answer, something I haven’t done with a book for a really long time. DO NOT HIGHLIGHT THIS IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK —> Was I the only one that thought Martin was Blue from the beginning? I knew the whole Abby and blackmail situation made this impossible, but it would’ve been a crazy plot twist!
And even though this was a novel about LGBTQ+s, the plot with Simon’s internal struggle about his sexual identity didn’t dominate the plot, so straight readers (that do get uneasy because such subject matters or homosexual relationships) weren’t left uncomfortable or bored. It’s more of a novel about a young guy trying to find himself and fitting in. Simon was another reason why I automatically loved this book. Simon is that awesome protagonist. The one where you want to bring him to life and befriend him. And there were a bunch of great supporting characters, the girls were actually not annoying but rather fun and caring. And Blue. Oh, Blue. In each email, you could feel yourself falling a little for Blue along with Simon. Instead of a smoldering hot romance, it’s more of a sweet love story. There was also humor and cuteness at a level I can’t properly express or do justice in this review.
Another nice touch that I really appreciated was the southeast U.S. references. Being a South Carolinian (literally nothing happens here) and born in Atlanta, I loved the references of the southeast businesses such as Chick Fil A (yes, I am aware they are omnipresent in the States, but it’s a huge chain fast food where I live), Publix, and other landmarks. Since virtually all the young adult books I read are usually set in California or New York, I found this to be refreshing. Another thing that I noticed, being the nitpicky person I am, is the role of tumblr in this. In real life Tumblr isn’t used exactly as a social mechanism that this book describes, which kind of threw me off in the beginning. Despite this minor detail, this book was still wonderful and enjoyable. I’m so glad I picked it up while everyone is still fangirling/fanboying (there I go again, using this term as a verb).
I can easily see that some readers will think this is a rather simple story, but my level of enjoyment was 5 stars worthy. This may even be the book that’s cured my bout of reader’s block. It was brilliant, and one I’d recommend to someone who wants a light and fun read. And if you’re looking for a fictional best friend, Simon’s the guy for you.