Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (2015)
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, LGBTQ+
Simon, I love you. This book was fantastic, eye-opening and just made me long for what Simon longed for. I have had this on my shelf for a while, but I have only just picked it up and I am so glad that I did – I would 100% recommend this book!
*I don’t actually think I can talk about this book without mentioning the ending, or at least the build up to it, so this will be a spoiler review. Please go and buy this book if you haven’t already though, it is something everyone needs to read, and then come back and talk about it with me.*
Let’s start off with talking about Simon, the perfect main character – I love his innocence and his excitement and I can see my younger self reflected in him. His family is fairly cool and I love hearing about his home life. He has some awesome friends at school and generally things are going well for him. Obviously the main issue here is that Martin is blackmailing Simon to hook him up with Abby or he will release the emails between Simon and his crush, Blue.
I am immediately angered by Martin and his assumption that he has any sort of right to when Simon can come out. He is totally taking control of a situation that Simon will remember for the rest of his life. As you can imagine if you’ve read the book, my anger only increased once Martin posted on Tumblr about Simon and Blue. It really got to me that this guy thought he could hold Simon’s sexuality over him and how helpless it made Simon.
Something I found refreshing in this novel, and actually in a lot of new YA contemporaries, was the lack of school cliche groups, such as the jocks and cheerleaders etc. There were no laws as to who can hang out with who, or who could do what at school. This wasn’t an issue that needed covering and I am glad, because I was starting to get sick of reading the same school setups all of the time.
The two discussions about how straight and white should not be the default really resonated with me. Albertalli hit the nail on the head with her writing here, we are a world that default to what we know, or knew first. This is definitely not acceptable and never should have been, but I think the world needs to be trained out of thinking like that, so this step will help get a few people there I hope. Simon addressing this issue as someone suffering from the pressure of coming out is so important, it should not be any easier to say you are gay than to say you are straight. I really felt for him when he spoke about his dad making gay jokes and how that made it hard at times and important it is for everyone to be more open.
All of the characters that Simon is friends with are fantastic and I love the different traits they have. I think my favourite has to be Abby, I love her relationship with Simon and how chilled she is as a person, I think I would want to be her friend. Nora and Alice are also super cool, Simon is lucky to be surrounded by such supportive family and friends.
Must talk about Blue now before this review becomes more like an essay. Blue is romantic, literate, poetic, kind, caring, thoughtful and just awwwwwwwwwwww BRAM. I love that this is how the book ends up going, because I totally thought it was going to be Nick up until he started dating Abby. It just seemed to be hinted that it would be him, but I guess that was the point, to trick the reader and it worked.
When Bram came and sat next to Simon on the ride, I did not see it coming that it was him, but I am so glad it was. He cares so much about Simon and he wasn’t ashamed in the slightest, which was just as it should be! The development of their relationship in the short amount of the book that they are together is just so perfect. They make me desperate for a relationship like theirs. I love how proud all of these couples are of each other, Nick watching Abby dance is so sweet, he is clearly mad about her, and so he should be.
So basically, Becky Albertalli has totally destroyed me in book form. I will reread this book for sure and until then I will just be recommending it to everyone I know.