I’m generally not a big fan of contemporary novels but I am so glad I read this one! Simon VS. the Homo Sapiens Agenda explores the action of coming out (or in this case being forcibly outed) while also bringing to life one of the sweetest and most romantic relationships I have ever come across.
This review may contain mild spoilers for this book (What I consider spoilers might not be what you consider spoilers but I thought that I’d put it out there just in case). READERS YE BE WARNED!
I picked up Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda when I found out that it was being turned into a movie and loved every sweet, teenage-angst filled second of it. What an amazing debut for Becky Albertalli. Realistic, funny, and filled to the brim with drama and cuteness, this book is sweet enough to give you cavities!
Good Reads Blurb:
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.
Simon VS. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a contemporary, coming of age story with all the elements one would expect from such a book. The story focuses on Simon and his journey from a mostly comfortable, closeted gay teenager to a happily out-of-the-closet (mostly) individual in a new relationship. The story includes more dialogue and internal monologue than any sort of direct action, which may sound boring but really isn’t.
The characters in this novel are all very realistic and act in such a way that it doesn’t even feel as if you’re reading a work of fiction. You have the parents who are embarrassing and want to know everything that goes on in their kids lives, the protective older sister, the childhood friends who have grown up to be practically siblings, and the jackass class clown who really needs to think about his actions before he takes them. Reading about these characters lives was an amazing experience because it felt as if you were standing beside them and experiencing their world as well. The romance that sparks the events in this story is another aspect of the novel that is extremely convincing, especially as the use of technology grows more frequent. With the anonymity of Simon’s love interest it was almost like Simon (and yourself by default) was playing a game of Guess Who, except Simon wasn’t exactly an adept player.
Character Appreciation/Disdain (Sometimes a rant but what can you do?)
Simon: My poor little nervous bean! Simon is one of those characters that everyone just adores and needs to be protected at all costs.
Blue: Ok, I must know how someone be both suave and nerdy at the same time!!! It doesn’t even matter that you have very little face to face interaction between Simon and Blue for most of the book, Blue is still one of my favourite characters!
Marty: WHAT. A. WANKER!!! I bloody hate this kid! This boy, more than anything else in this book, makes me extremely glad that I went to a small, all-girls school where no-one was game enough to be nasty or do anything this detestable.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, one of the main reasons I adore this book is because of how completely believable it is. It’s almost as if you are reading the diary of a teenage boy who was in this position. All I can say is that Becky Albertalli is an amazing writer and I cannot wait to read more of her work.
Around about here is when I usually say “if you’re a fan of (insert series) then you should check out this book” but not this time! This book is honestly one of my all time favourites and I think that even if you don’t like contemporary, even if you think this might not be your cup of tea, everyone should read this book. I can only hope that they do this amazing novel justice in their book to movie adaptation and I can’t wait to see it come to the Big Screen!