Book Review: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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  • Title: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
  • Author: Becky Albertalli
  • Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
  • Pages: 336
  • Format: Paperback
  • Other: Goodreads, Amazon
  • Grade:  B+ (4.5/5)

Book Description 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.

Review 

This was one of those books that I was meaning to pick up; you know, the book I kind of wanted to read but only because there was so much hype. But then I saw the trailer for Love, Simon. I picked a copy of the book up the next day.

I love the idea of representation in literature because I personally enjoy reading about characters like me. I think it’s human nature. And honestly, if I don’t see myself in the main character, I have a hard time becoming invested in the story. I guess that’s the thing with literature. It’s all so personal.

Even though I’ve never dealt with coming out, I could relate to Simon, and I think that’s why this novel (and subsequently the movie) has been so successful. Even though Simon has his struggles, he still goes through experiences that are universal, like falling in love for the first time, having a fight with your friends, trying to find acceptance, trying to figure out who you are. These are things we all go through.

Simon is also flawed. Yes, at times he is the victim. But he makes mistakes, too. It’s this imperfection that makes him a truly relatable character. But so are the other characters. We’ve all had a Leah in our life (or maybe we are Leah). We’ve had an Abby, too. And hopefully, we’ll have a Blue.

But it wasn’t just about characterization. It was the writing. I liked Simon as a narrator because he felt like a real teen, but he was also funny. I enjoyed the simplicity and the humor in the writing. It wasn’t flowery, but it wasn’t dull.  I felt like the writing was very clean.

But I didn’t think this book was perfect. I found the plot to be incredibly engaging and the book a page turner, but I also thought everything was too neatly packaged. Like I’ve said before, I have never dealt with coming out. But I’ve had close friends and family members who have, and I know it wasn’t easy for them, and I know there were many struggles that accompanied it. I felt like the novel only skimmed the surface, and that was disappointing. I think it’s a start, but I wish there had been more.

Ultimately, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda was a fun, heart-warming book to read, and maybe that’s all it needed to be. It wasn’t perfect, but it is one of my new favorites.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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