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.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda melted the icy cynicism encasing my heart and transformed it into a fluffy cloud that sprouts rainbows and unicorns and oreos. (Rainbow unicorn oreos. Or oreo unicorn rainbows?)
First and foremost, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda does not have a plot, or at least isn’t a very plot-driven book. However, I can assure you that it’s okay! The story follows Simon’s life, examining his high school life, his family life, his friendships, his identity, and his own unique story of coming out. The story may be mundane in that way, but the simplicity of the narrative is the perfect way to portray characters who are gay: that gay people have friends and family, worry about the same things, love the same things, and fall in love the same way.
People really are like house with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is sweet, funny, and utterly adorable, just like its lovely characters. The eponymous protagonist is particularly so, especially when he makes mistakes, fumbles through life in his own endearing way, and when he is doing the absolute best he can. Part of the story is centred on Simon’s budding crush on the mysterious Blue, with whom he converses through email. Their relationship may be different, but the learning and intimacy from the inside to out was sweet and sincere. On top of it, there are some small gems about sexual identity, the impact of norms, and how we present ourselves to others and society – and how sometimes that can be different to how we truly feel inside.
So here is the reason why I really enjoyed Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda: the story and everything in it felt genuine. It may have been fluffy but it was fluffy with a heart and soul, and that feeling shines through with Albertalli’s earnest and lovely writing. Reading Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda reminded me of what my friends and I were like when I was in high school – talking in references of the things we loved, feeling like misfits but feeling like misfits together, and the occasional brush of conflict that was eventually followed by forgiveness and laughter (even if it was a little strained). It reminded me of adolescence, of being brave, learning about yourself, those vulnerable but significant moments that changed our lives and the relationships we share with others, and finding joy. Despite the difference in era, I related to Simon and his friends’ experiences.
“What’s a dementor?”
I mean, I can’t even. “Nora, you are no longer my sister.”
“So it’s some Harry Potter thing,” she says.
As I write this review in hindsight, I think I can confidently attribute my newfound appreciation for fluffy, cutesy romances to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. With the right dose of everything, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a simple and sweet story that looks into a small but significant chapter of Simon’s life. A thoroughly pleasant and lighthearted read – with the right hint of silly – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda will warm (and melt!) your heart.
Book Name: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Hi friends! I am so happy that I loved this book. I had my doubts but they were immediately dispelled by this earnest book and the writing. *happy sigh*
- Have you read Simon Vs? Did you enjoy it?
- Do you think rainbow oreos should be a thing? (I want it to be a thing!)
- Did this book remind you of your youth?