Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon Homo Sapians AgendaSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becki Albertalli
Genre: YA Contemporary LGBT
Publication Date: April 7th, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

Wendy’s Review

I knew as soon as I saw Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda that it was a book I need to read as soon as possible.  If you’re a regular follower of this blog, it should be obvious that I enjoy reading LGBT novels.  Even if I tried, I couldn’t even come close to figuring out how many adult LGBT reads I’ve loved, but I can tell you that there has only been about 2 or 3 YA LGBT that I felt strongly about.  I’m not sure why.  If I were to guess, I think it probably has something to do with how authors write young LGBT voices.  Sometimes, most of the time, I find them to be slightly stereotypical.  I feel like, with some great exceptions, the authors are trying to hard to make their characters sound a certain way.

Still, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda screamed at me when I saw it.  It begged when I read the synopsis.  I just had a feeling that this book would be really, oh so good.  I was right!

I guess they feel secure enough in their masculinity that they don’t care.
I actually hate when people say that.  I mean, I feel secure in my masculinity, too.  Being secure in your masculinity isn’t the same as being straight.

What I thought stood out about Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda was that Simon wasn’t the super popular kid, and he wasn’t the super unpopular kid.  He skirted the popular group, had a lot of friends, and was well liked, but he was just a normal guy.  I also really liked that he was a drama kid, but I also liked that he wasn’t the ‘star’ of drama.  In fact, in their current play he didn’t even have any lines.  It didn’t matter anyway, because regardless he was completely committed and he was 100% a drama kid.  Since I’m on a role, I also liked that even though he was a drama kid, the author didn’t go overboard on making him the quintessential drama gay guy.  He was just a guy who loved acting, and he happened to also like boys.

I also really appreciated the range of friends that Simon had.  He was a drama kid, he had friends that were in the popular crowd and friends that weren’t.  I loved that he had legitimate friends of color, and it wasn’t an afterthought.  I sincerely applauded when they discussed people’s default perception of ‘man’ as being hetero but also white.  I also enjoyed that, while there were assholes in the story, Simon’s core circle of friends and family were supportive and kind.

So, as much as I loved all that other stuff, what kept me up reading this until 1am was the emails between Blue and Simon.  I’ve always been a sucker for YA books where the relationship starts through emails, or instant messages.  The idea that these two characters met on a level that wasn’t physical just really pushes all my buttons.  It was so cute, and sweet, and completely grammatical.  (If you read the book, you’ll see what I did there.)  I figured out pretty early on who Blue was, so I guess that makes me more perceptive than Simon.  It didn’t really matter either way, though.  Even knowing made it exciting!

I don’t really have any concrete reason for the lack of that last half star, in my rating.  I guess it’s just that, even though I loved so much about this book, when I measure it to some of my other favorites it was just missing that last little flare.  They had something that hit me in the feels just slightly more than this one.  It shouldn’t matter though, I mean it’s nearly 5 stars.

Just pick it up and read it, already!

Rating: 4.5 Stars = B+

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