March 21, 2016

Oreos, Please! • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda book cover
If there’s a novel that I’d say was super hyped up for me in 2015, it was Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I heard nothing but praise from so many people (especially in the blogging community), and it simultaneously made me excited and nervous about reading this one.

Fast forward to last month, when I finally got a chance to sit down and read it. This novel is the story of Simon Spier, who happens to be (1) gay and (2) involved in a relationship with a mysterious guy named Blue, but only via email. It chronicles what happens when Martin finds out about his emails with Blue, and blackmails Simon into helping him get the attention of one of Simon’s best friends. Sounds like something straight out of a movie, doesn’t it? (Side note: This would be an adorable film!) There are plenty of ups and downs that ensue, and it's impossible not to want to keep on reading just to find out what happens next (and who Blue is)!

Anyway, Simon is a most excellent character to read about; he’s funny and clever and someone I could totally be best friends with in real life. His trains of thought were a constant source of amusement for me, and I really just fell in friendship love with him and wish I had a Simon of my own in real life. It was also quite cool to see his relationships with other people, from his awesome family, loyal friends, peers at school and, of course, Blue. It was particularly lovely to witness his relationship with the latter, because most of it was conducted via email and their exchanges were honest, and funny, and really great to read! I was a huge fan of that particular relationship and when the big reveal happens, it just made me even more giddy with joy.

But what really stands out about this story, at least to me, is how authentically Albertalli portrays being a teen. It really transported me back to my own days in high school! I was with these characters as they experienced the good and the bad, and it definitely made me feel seen when I realized how real Albertalli's writing made the high school experiences - both for her characters and for the reader. It's no surprise that I loved this aspect, as I really like when authors manage to write their stories in a way that really connect with me on a personal level.

So, what's the end verdict on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda? If you haven't already guessed, I thought it was so great! I was thoroughly amused by Simon, and completely invested in the outcome of all the craziness that ensues after Martin finds that email to Blue. It's such an adorable read, and a quick one, and I'm so glad that I finally got around to reading it!

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Source: Gifted by the publisher (Thanks!)

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.


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