Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
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.
My knee jerk reaction to the book:
Maybe I’m too old for this shit but I am really, really tired of contemporary YA books being about sexual identity and other identity woes all the time. Can we have an LGBTQA+ teens that don’t give a rat’s ass about these things? Can we have LGBTQA+ teens who are just happy being themselves and don’t let their sexuality define them? Can we have a contemporary LGBTQA+ teen do something else other than worry about dating, sex, relationships and identity? This is why I prefer middle grade books over the kind of YA books that emerged after Twilight and Hunger Games (I know these are not contemporaries nor LGBTQA+-centric but they were a bad influence). So I’m sorry, I guess this is not the book for me.
But then, there’s the mystery of Blue. Who the hell is Blue?! I have got to find out.
Blue and Simon’s relationship consist of exchange of emails. They started tentatively then things turned sweet and flirtatious. It’s similar to Anyta Sunday’s note exchange story Noticed Me Yet? and while the latter’s handwritten note exchange was a drag, Blue and Simon’s was more plausible and interesting. Soon, both found that they were falling for each other and Simon tried to uncover Blue’s identity. There were a lot of red herrings and Simon never did guess, although there was a big clue but I’m happy to say I got it right.
I still don’t understand all the hype surrounding this book. It has this typical YA vibe, a lot of pop references, sarcasm and the like. Yes, it was fluffy but so are a million other young adult books. I like the low angst quality though and I might revisit old Elliott Smith songs because of it but overall, the story was nothing spectacular.
2.5 Stars – far from hate but not quite a like