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

April 1, 2015 Reviews 8 ★★★★½

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
on April 7, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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.

Confess!  For those of you who have read this book, did you skip ahead to learn the identity of Blue?  I was SO tempted to do this, but I refrained, and I’m glad.  If you have not yet read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, (Come on!  Read it!), Blue is the pseudonym of the mystery boy our MC, Simon, has been emailing.  All Simon knows is that Blue is his high school classmate, and he has good grammar.  (As does Becky Albertalli who knows how to properly use “nauseated,” rather than “nauseous.”  And thank you for that Becky, because that is a HUGE pet peeve for me.)  Simon is intrigued.  Very intrigued.  There are a few problems, though.  Both guys are in the closet, and both, at least initially, want their communications to remain anonymous.

The emails between Simon and Blue start off with a cordial tone.  They soon become flirtatious and eventually, romantic.  As they share their secrets, the boys seem to draw strength and confidence from each other.  But I was starting to worry.  What if the story ends without Blue’s identity being revealed?  What if Blue IS revealed, but it turns out he’s a douchebag in real life?  Worst of all, what if all of this is just someone playing a sick prank on Simon???  Yeah, I’m pessimistic like that.  But let me assure you – I needn’t have worried.

There were so many sweet moments in this story, both big and small.  Simon coming out to one of his best friends was the first one that really hit me.  And then there was the other friend who was angry when she found out Simon was gay.  Not because she didn’t support him, but because, “Wait!! Why didn’t you tell ME first??”  Then there was the way his friends rallied around him when his secret was revealed in a very sick way.  Simon has the support of his family, too, including his Dad, whose sense of humor has always been heavily reliant on gay jokes.  Of course, this only made me look forward to the “Hey, Dad, guess what?” moment even more.

But enough about Simon’s friends and family, because we’re all really here for Simon and Blue.  These two are adorable as their relationship develops over their emails, and they go through the gamut of experiences and feelings that every real-life relationship entails, from longing to uncertainty to loving support.  But come on, guys, you need to MEET!  And when they do…

OK, that’s enough from me.  You need to read this happiness-inducing story for yourself.  And then we all need to have a good answer to Simon’s question about why straight people aren’t required to come out as straight.  I love this kid.

Note: This review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher.


8 Responses to “Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli”

    • Stephanie

      This book brings all the happiness, doesn’t it? I’m sure I’ll be recommending it all year.

  1. Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

    I just traded for this book and I am anxiously awaiting its arrival and I am going to drop everything the minute it arrives to read it because it sounds like it is my kind of book AND I AM TOTALLY GOING TO LOVE IT. (my expectations aren’t high or anything). So glad you loved this!

  2. Tsuki @ Tsuki's Books

    I absolutely loved this book. It was my YA conversion book in recent months. I was talking about it at a library worker training and said I felt the most powerful thing about it was when Simon discusses how every single person is “coming out” every single day to everyone because of people’s expectations of us. It was such a great way to explain that.

    Great review.

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