Book: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Release Date: April 7th 2015
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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.
‘Being secure in your masculinity isn’t the same as being straight.’
We all know by now that I am not a big contemporary reader. Often they don’t appeal to me at all. However from time to time there is one that sounds appealing. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda was one of those books for me. And I am very glad I finally purchased and read this book.
Going into this book I was expecting a bit more of a constraining type of blackmail. What we got was more of a suggestive, subtle type of blackmail. There was no ‘if you don’t do this, than I will let everyone know’. However there was the threat behind the words right there. And Martin, you really suck. Taylor Metternich should punch you.
I think I fell in like with Simon from the very first page, and that never went away. Some of the things he says or thinks about coming out are so on point. He describes so well how he feels about coming out, and why he hasn’t yet despite knowing that his parents or friends would still accept him. Because even though you know that, it doesn’t make things any easier. And as a straight person we don’t really know what that is like. We don’t have to come out and say we are straight. We don’t have to label that to others. And sometimes he realizes he also makes assumptions when it came to skin color for instance. He is not without his flaws either.
‘Which kind of makes me want to smack myself. White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default.’
I enjoyed the set up of this book. We got a normal chapter in Simon’s point of view, then a chapter of their email exchanges, back to a normal chapter and so on. I enjoyed getting to see their exchanges like that. And the book was addicting. I finished this book in one sitting, without getting up to go to the toilet or to drink or eat anything. I just needed to finish it right away.
I have a bit of a soft spot for Nora and Alice as well. I enjoyed their sibling relationship with Simon. I also recognize some of Nora in myself. The friendships in this book are great as well. There is no box where only guys are friends with each other and only girls are friends with each other. And we get a little bit of everyone in the background.
Overall Simon vs is a very cute and quick contemporary read with some great quotes.