Have you ever read a book that made you smile, from beginning to end? Well, let me introduce you to Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. Many, many people praised this debut already, and I’m glad to become one of them. Between smiles and tears, this coming-of-age story certainly isn’t one to miss.
“And you know what? You don’t get to say it’s not a big thing. This is a big fucking thing, okay? This was supposed to be—this is mine. I’m supposed to decide when and where and who knows and how I want to say it.”
Meet Simon Spier, sixteen, a junior in high-school. Between his reality show-obsessed family, his two sisters and friends, the school musical, he’s having a pretty average teenager life. But Simon has a secret: he’s gay. And slowly falling in love with Blue, an unknown guy from his high school he’s been emailing back and forth. When one of his classmates, Martin discovers this secret and threatens to reveal his sexual identity, Simon finds himself forced to play wingman for him. Right from the opening chapter, we understand Simon’s struggles, we get a first glimpse of his surroundings, his friends, family, and most of all, this unique voice that Becky Albertalli puts into Simon’s character. Because yes, that’s the word, unique. If you’re looking for great, endearing characters with a relatable life story, then this is it. I’m not talking about the blackmail, but about the feelings going with teenagehood. About growing up. About a true coming of age story.
“But I’m tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. I get a girlfriend. I have a beer. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.”
Becky perfectly grasps what it’s like to be a teenager, maybe it’s because of her work with those people for so long but it’s really well-done. Simon is a perfectly relatable character. He’s funny, he’s realistic, he’s cynical, he’s all you’re waiting for in a teenager, and all you want to read about. His sense of friendship, his comebacks and wit will quickly make you fall in love with this character. Surrounded by a great deal of realistic teenagers, but also, parents, Simon vs. enthralls us with a real coming of age story. We get to know and grow to love the main character, sure, but the author doesn’t leave out everything else that matters in a teenagers’ life. Friends, aquaintances, and family. Each of Simon’s friends are perfectly thought of, and a delicious, various, diverse little clan of people. From Abby to Nick, each of them has a little something you’ll love, or simply understand. Simon’s family is part of the picture, too, as it should be done in every good coming of age story. I loved all of their interactions, and how realistic they were painted. Extra points for their reality tv addiction, that just made everyone so endearing.
“People really are like houses with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”
More than a game of finding who Blue is, Simon vs. offers us a perfect window to teenagers’ souls, and, as they say, the multiple doors everyone can have in their soul. No one is limited to one thing, and this is what I loved about this story. Split between narration from Simon, and emails between him and Blue, the story delivers us the most honest voice of a teenager. I loved the emails part of the story, because they were deeply honest, funny, sharp-minded. We get the struggle of falling in love for the first time, the struggle of coming out, the simple struggle of being a teenager.
It’s so hard to judge a book, based on all the hype surrounding it. After reading it, I can definitely say that Simon vs. completely deserves this success. Like Oreos, which Simon loves, this book is addicting. Start with the first page, and you’ll end up reading it all at once. Relatable characters, the feeling coming with the birth of an adorable love story, and a smile with every turning page, awaits you in this story. So, what are you waiting for?
Final rating: Drizzle and Hurricane !
(find out more about my new rating system here)
Did you read Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda? What did you think about it? If not, are you planning to read it? Feel free to share your thoughts in comments!
Becky Albertalli, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Published by Balzer + Bray, April 7th 2015.
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.