Book Review: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

YA Contemporary Fiction, High-School, LGBT

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Sixteen-year-old Simon is gay – he knows it and he’s okay with it. But he’s not sure if those closest to him will be when they find out. He and his gay pen-pal, who goes by the pseudonym Blue, have been flirting via email for a while now. But when one of those emails gets into the hands of classmate Martin, Simon’s sexual identity could become everyone’s business and Blue’s privacy could be jeopardized (especially since Blue is not out yet either and he attends the same high-school).

I received this book as a belated birthday gift from my wonderful friend Kalli over at K the Ravenous Reader who said it’s one of her absolute favorites. With its film adaptation, “Love, Simon”, on its way and winter break from classes finally being here, I was eager to read this one right away…so eager that I consumed it in one night!

One of the many things I really loved about this book is that it integrates different genres, creating a multi-faceted reading experience. The story is centered on Simon’s sexual identity and his struggle to come out, but premised on the mystery of his pen-pal’s identity. Amidst the subterfuge and blackmailing, there is fluffy romance, precious friendship, and dorky teenage humor. Simon’s story proves that navigating high-school is as equally challenging as navigating who you are to your friends, family, and yourself. So much to learn and gain from just this book!

According to Publisher’s Weekly’s starred review on the back cover, “Readers will fall madly in love with Simon” and I can attest to that. I fell so in love with Simon, there are not enough words to describe my infatuation. Simon is very well-balanced as a character. He obviously loves his quirky and over-bearing parents, and even when he thinks they’re very awkward and uncool, he isn’t ignorant toward them. He and his siblings are close enough to re-enact Alvin and the Chipmunks at Christmas, but still keep some secrets to themselves. He is a great friend and when he makes mistakes, he genuinely feels bad about them. He is just the right mix of perfect and imperfect without seeming too unrealistic.

He is just the most precious human being ever and no one deserves him…except  Blue…

Brief interstitial chapters transcribing their email correspondences are sweet, fun, and extremely insightful. Their emails accurately reflect their growing closeness and maturity, which does not develop independently from Simon’s daily shenanigans. They weave with the main story very well and their convergence into one another toward the end is satisfying.

You will find yourself rightfully annoyed, irritated, and hurt whenever Simon is annoyed, irritated, and hurt. Even when he is not completely in the right, you will defend him with your whole heart…or maybe that’s just me.

If there’s anything worth criticizing in this book, it might be that the ending might was just a little too fluffy and a little too perfect, because not every coming out story ends as perfectly perfect as this one did. But I do think it gives readers a sense of hope and encourages readers to think more about the messages of the book, rather than its outcomes.

With regards to being an LGBT story, I think this story does an excellent job of sending the right message which is that, if it applies to you, your coming out experience is YOURS. Threatening to expose someone’s sexual identity and/or acting on that threat is literally robbing a significant part of someone’s being and life. Only you get to decide, when, where, and how you are outed.

Verdict: It’s literally the 2nd day of the new year and I’m calling it: This is one of my best reads for 2018! This is also the second book I’ve finished for the year, the first being John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down. 

10 thoughts on “Book Review: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

    1. Thanks, my friend! I was glad to start off the new year with two really awesome books and I can’t wait to see the film for this one. Think you might see it too?

      Liked by 1 person

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