Title: Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Contemporary LGBTQ
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Synopsis: 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 was the fastest I’ve gobbled up a book in a long time, and I completely loved it. There was something so sweet and utterly perfect about this book that just had me turning its pages two at a time, wanting more and more of Simon Spier.
Let’s talk about Simon. He’s a character you can’t help but love. His voice was completely real – not to mention hilarious. He was adorably genuine with a sassy, sarcastic voice that you can’t help but relate with. Example of his adorableness:
“I take a sip of my beer, and it’s – I mean, it’s just astonishingly disgusting. I don’t think I was expecting it to taste like ice cream, but holy fucking hell. People lie and get fake IDs and sneak into bars, and for this? I honestly think I’d rather make out with Bieber. The dog. Or Justin.”
-Becky Albertalli, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
One of my favorite things about this book (besides Simon’s voice) was just how perfectly everything fit together. First, there was Simon’s voice. And of course, there was the ever-present question: Who is Blue, his emailing penpal? But not only do we have snarky humor, romance, and mystery, but we also have incredible family and friend dynamics.
Simon and his groupies are like… Regina, Cady, Gretchen, and Karen from Mean Girls. But less mean, of course. And with different names: Abby, Leah, Nick, Simon. Their friendship was messy, beautiful, and most importantly, realistic. They had problems, but they also had that ever-present underlying tone of true friendship.
As well as true friendships, Simon vs. displayed a fantastic parental presence. A parental presence is so many times absent in YA novels, when in reality it’s an essential part of a person’s life. I really loved his family’s relationship because it reminded me of my own: sometimes they hated each other, but you could tell how much they cared for one another.
If one thing could be improved upon in this novel, I would have liked a little more closure with the relationship between Simon and two of the characters, the first being Martin (the person who’s black mailing him), and the second being [this may be a small spoiler if you haven’t yet read the book] Cal, that really cute boy who asked Simon to hang out.
Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda had it all. Family. Friendship. Love. And none of them were perfect, none of them were straightforward. It was real.
This book was a shining 5/5 stars, and I highly, highly recommend it.