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.
Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Publishing Date: April 7th, 2015
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is a book that I saw tons of rave reviews for ever since it was released. After a friend of mine absolutely adored this book and told me that I needed to buy and read it ASAP, I read the synopsis and I just knew that I would love it. This novel deserves every rave review it receives and it honestly deserves many more. This book beautifully touches on quite a few deeply personal and important subjects such as coming out as gay to family and friends and struggling with friendship problems while also maintaining a hilarious and witty feel throughout the entire story. With references to Harry Potter, a dog named Bieber, adorable emails between Blue and Simon that had me shipping them from the very beginning of the book, and lots of Oreos, this novel was a mixture of everything that I look for in a YA contemporary and I absolutely devoured this book.
The rest of this review is spoiler-free.
The entire plot of this book is so entertaining and it was one of those stories where you just can’t set down the book until you solve the ever-present mystery, with this book’s mystery being: WHO IS BLUE? I will admit, I accused quite a few characters of being Blue until in one chapter something happened with a certain character and I practically shouted (in the middle of a public restaurant) “A-HA!” as I became adamant that I had finally figured out who Blue was. My confidence was faltered when Becky Albertalli swooped in and had me second-guessing myself, thus leading to me continuing with my epic pursuit of accusing every. single. character. of being Blue. (Just a quick note here to say that my “A-HA!” moment was CORRECT, which is surprising considering I tend to always fail when it comes to picking the right suspect in crime TV show dramas and various other settings in which I am enlisted with the job as a viewer/reader to try and predict the ending of a mystery before it occurs.)
Aside from my consistent attempts to figure out who Blue was, I steadily enjoyed this novel because of the amazingly funny, witty, and quirky cast of characters that were relatable and had me wishing that I lived in this world just so I would be able to befriend them all. There was never a dull moment within this story and I found myself laughing out loud at least once throughout every chapter and at one point I even got a bit teary eyed (my fangirl feels were incredibly real and emotional at this point in the novel).
ALSO, fun tip: listen to the Blue Neighbourhood album and TRXYE EP by Troye Sivan on repeat as you read this book and PREPARE YOURSELF FOR FEELS. (I feel like I’ve just hit the limit for the amount of times that it is socially acceptable to use the term “FEELS” as a way to describe your emotions in a book review, but I’ll probably use it again for the sake of accurately describing the way that this book made me feel. SERIOUSLY THOUGH, THE FEELS.)
GOD, I LOVE SIMON SPIER. There are some main characters that annoy you immensely, there are some main characters that you love throughout the novel, and then there are some main characters that you FREAKING ADORE AND CARE FOR AND NEVER WANT TO BE HARMED. Simon fits into the “freaking-adore-and-care-for-and-never-want-to-be-harmed” category. There’s just something about his sassiness yet sweetness that gave me so much happiness as I read through the novel. Simon went through so much in this book and GAH, I adore him and he is truly one of the most admirable characters from a YA novel that I’ve ever read about.
“Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.”
Oh Blue, how you made my fangirl-shipping-heart melt. The emails between Simon and Blue hit such a level of cuteness that at one point I was smiling like a maniac while reading and eating in public and I was trying not to squeal out loud. Yes, you read that right. I almost squealed in public because of a fictional relationship and it’s immense amount of cuteness. I’m quite proud that I correctly predicted who Blue was and, while I’m trying extremely hard not to spoil anything, I will say that I am quite happy with who it turned out to be.
“White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default.”
As I mentioned earlier, I honestly wish I could dive into this world and become friends with all of Simon’s friends. Abby, Leah, and Nick had such individual personalities and I grew to love each of them deeply. Alice and Nora were SIBLING GOALS and I also really appreciated how present and apart of the story Simon’s family was. Sometimes the whole family aspect can get lost in YA novels, but the Spier family was seen in many parts throughout this novel and I really loved that aspect of the book.
Holy crap, I absolutely adored Becky Albertalli’s writing style. It was quirky and funny and while there was a ton of humor in this book, there were also so many inspirational quotes that were the type of quotes that make you go all tattoo-this-onto-my-forehead-please-because-truth-slay-me because they’re so on freaking point*. (* = see quotes featured above and below for proof of Albertalli’s epic quote slayage)
“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.”
“The way I feel about him is like a heartbeat — soft and persistent, underlying everything.”
“Sometimes it seems like everyone knows who I am except me.”
“He tells me to pick the music. I’m not sure if he knows that handing me his iPod is like handing me the window to his soul.”
Overall, I absolutely adored this book. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is definitely going to be on my favorite reads of 2016 list and I am impatiently waiting in desperate anticipation for Albertalli’s next book which is based upon the family and friends that Abby left behind in Washington D.C. (I just read the new synopsis for it on Goodreads and YESYESYESYES it sounds so amazing, I’M SO EXCITED and also incredibly jealous of all of the amazing reviewers that have been lucky enough to already receive manuscripts of the new novel!) Anyways, at the current moment I am trying to sway my mom (who is definitely not an avid reader like myself) to read this amazing book because I know she’ll love it, too. Therefore, in conclusion, I highly recommend this book to anyone in need of a new YA contemporary read that touches upon social issues as well as many other subjects, because this novel perfectly balances deep issues and personal decisions with witty humor in a way that will have you flying through this book as you try to decipher who Blue is (all while a craving for Oreos appears because of the multiple glorious Oreo mentions throughout this book).
“He talked about the ocean between people. And how the whole point of everything is to find a shore worth swimming to.”
So, have you read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda? Did you like it? Comment your thoughts below!