Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Series: Creekwood, #1
Length: 9 hours
Narrator: Michael Crouch
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Original Publication Date: 201
Genre(s): Young adult, Romance, LGBT
Simon Spier is gay, but nobody knows that yet—except for Blue, Simon’s mysterious email pen pal who happens to also be gay and attends Creekwood with Simon. At first, Simon is happy with the anonymity of it all. But when someone starts blackmailing Simon—someone who has screenshots of his emails with Blue—things get…slightly more complicated. And the more drama that finds Simon, the more he wants to find out who Blue really is.
The novel is told in first-person POV and follows 16-year-old Simon. Each chapter begins with various emails sent between Simon and Blue. The story immediately drops readers into the drama of it all, beginning with Simon’s emails being screenshotted by a classmate and ultimately being blackmailed by said classmate. Crazy, right? What ensues is a whirlwind of typical high school drama, with an emphasis on the painful, awkward, terrifying reality of what it means to “come out” as gay. It’s easy to do for some, not easy for others, and this is dependent upon a myriad of factors. For Simon, it is not easy. He doesn’t get to choose when it happens, or why it happens. That choice is taken away from him. And he has a lot to say regarding coming out:
“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.”
And while I don’t necessarily agree with this concept (RE: I hate labels and I think “coming out” shouldn’t be a thing and we should just accept people as people, dating whomever they please), I do relate to the pain of being forced to reveal a huge part of yourself to the whole world. So, even though I’m not sixteen anymore, I related to and empathized with Simon.
Simon is a great character. He has his flaws, of course, but they’re not so great as to diminish the really good parts about him. He’s such a cute, fun character, and his story reflects that. Seriously, if you’re looking for an adorable, bubbly story about love, you need to read this book. It was fairly simple to guess Blue’s secret identity, but that didn’t ruin the story at all—it just made it all the more exciting, waiting for Simon to realize who he is. I was honest to god goofy grinning by the end.
Simon is such a fun LGBT romance that feels very contemporary, and will probably stay that way. It’s a YA book that will appeal to readers both in and out of high school. It will especially resonate with those who have come out themselves, or maybe are still trying to.
–“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.”
–“He talked about the ocean between people. And how the whole point of everything is to find a shore worth swimming to.”
–“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.”
–“Really, though, there are only two kinds of weather: hoodie weather and weather where you wear a hoodie anyway.”