Book Review

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

  • Author: Becky Albertalli 
  • Genre: YA Romance
  • Publication Date: April 7, 2015
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray
  • Series: Simonverse #1

CONTENT WARNING: being outed, homophobic slurs

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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.

I had the book for this sitting on my shelf, but wasn’t able to get to it, and finally just started listening to the audiobook. Michael Crouch did an incredible job of getting me absorbed in Simon’s story as he brought the tale to life.

This is the first Becky Albertalli book that I’ve read, and I can absolutely say that it won’t be the last. Her style of writing was great, immersing me right into the high school setting — the cliques, the drama, and the overwhelming need to discuss self-discoveries without revealing too much of yourself to anyone. 

It seems like Simon has found a way to discuss a secret he keeps close, his sexuality, without fear of being exposed. Naturally, it does get exposed, he’s forced to do damage control. Although Simon is far from a perfect person (I mean, who is?), there’s something about him that had me empathizing with him throughout the story. One careless mistake ends up having major consequences that affect a lot of areas of his life. He faces being outed to the entire school, the loss of a boy that he’s falling in love with, being forced to come out to his family before he’s ready, and a ton of issues with his friends. 

Although I loved the connection that Simon had with his friends, it’s clear that he falls into a typical high school pattern of thought, where he gets so wrapped up in his own problems that he doesn’t necessarily think of his friends and how he’s affecting them. I struggled a little with Leah, although I think there’s more going on there and I’m looking forward to reading her story. 

A lot of the story was really predictable, but it didn’t make it any less enjoyable. This deals with some pretty deep stuff, but overall, it’s still a pretty fluffy story for the most part, and Simon has a good sense of humor. And I’ve really developed a taste for fluffy stories. This is one I’m glad I didn’t miss out on.

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