Monday, January 4, 2016

Review: Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Title: Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 7 April 2015
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia

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.
(summary from Goodreads)

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a fun, lighthearted read that will leave you a puddle of "aww"-ing goop!

I am so in love with this book. It's one of my top reads of 2015. It is so freaking cute! And I know, some people aren't fans of 'cute', but trust me - you have to read this book. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is humorous, has a snappy pace, awesome characters, and is full of emotion. It's the kind of story you connect with and react to. I couldn't put it down and I wanted more and more. The great thing about it is that Albertalli confronts some serious issues, of identity, sexuality, friendship, bullying, in a way that is everyday realistic. So it's entirely relatable. Many times I found myself in awe, reciting "yes, yes, yes" at particular points because it was just perfectly spot on. I enjoyed how the narrative alternated between Simon's point of view and the emails between him and Blue. For me, it kept the pace moving, but it also let us get to know Simon, and especially Blue, that little more. I tried so hard to figure out who Blue really was, and I was so happy and surprised at the reveal. It was fitting. What made Albertalli's writing fun and adorable and heartfelt is that we fall for Blue the same way Simon does, liking him simply through his emails, desperate to know his identity, frustratingly searching for clues. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda feels a little more charming for this.

It isn't just Simon and Blue and their relationship that makes Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, though they are incredibly amazing. Simon is sassy and likeable, wearing his heart on his sleeve. Blue is sweet and shy, and seriously, I'm wearing a big grin right now just thinking about the truth of Blue. His and Simon's relationship is swoonworthy and that much deeper for getting to know each other truly before 'meeting'. All the characters and their relationships are real. Simon's friendship with Leah and Nick has ups and downs but is strong and lasting, and his burgeoning friendship with Abby is lovely. It's a beautiful portrayal of how some people are just meant to be part of your life. Leah, Nick and Abby's sort of love triangle is awkward and heart-wrenching but I appreciate how it turned out. It wasn't perfect and happily ever after for everyone, but that's life. And there's still a hopefulness that is touching. I adored Simon's family. They're each so very different and yet connected and supportive in a way only family can be. My parents and I are absolutely not into reality TV, but there are shows we get together to watch each week and can't watch unless we're all present. It was awesome reading that dynamic in Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, though I doubt my family is quite as quirky as Simon's! Lastly, there's Martin, and what a hard one. At times Martin is such a likeable guy, that I wanted things to work out, but his choices and actions are plain unforgivable. And yet my heart still broke under the anger. It's marvelous what Albertalli has achieved. Everything about this book is just so genuine and good.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is one of those unforgettable must reads that is at once insightful and effecting, and just plain joyful and delightful!



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