By: Hannah Rapp, Teen Librarian
I often worry when reading a much-buzzed about book that it will disappoint – especially if I’m late to the game and have been hearing about it for months. Luckily for me, that wasn’t the case with this edition of What I Just Read!
What I Just Read: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
What’s It About (Jacket 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.
Do I Like It: To a squeeing and hugging my Kindle degree
Thoughts: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – sometimes it’s good to read something a little lighter (though not without its depth) and something that makes me super happy in the end. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was exactly that book for me. It was SO CUTE. Simon was hilarious, and the romance made me melt a little. The conflicts were real and meaningful, even if they weren’t exactly life-threatening. While I never went through exactly what Simon does during the book, I could sympathize with so much of his story. I think anyone who is a teenager or has been a teenager, anyone who has had a crush, who has balanced new friendships with old, anyone who has loved their family but struggled with them as well, anyone who has experienced any number of normal life experiences could connect with this book. The relatability of Simon’s experiences is what makes this book so special. Well, that and the adorableness.
Simon of course is wonderful, but I actually thought the secondary characters equaled him, and occasionally even outshone him in some ways. Which isn’t a bad thing – after all, we’re supposed to relate to Simon, so it makes sense that the people around him would shine a little brighter than himself from his perspective. The dynamic between Simon and his best friends Leah and Nick was comfortable and familiar, and the intensity of his new friendship with Abby was almost like a romance, though completely platonic. Simon’s family members were all likable as well – his parents and sisters all had distinct personalities, and as someone close to my siblings, the relationship between Simon and his sisters delighted me. And of course, there’s Blue – a good romance is nothing without a good romantic interest, and Blue was great. His e-mails were quirky, smart, funny, and showed off his personality so well. It was easy to see why Simon would fall for him, even before we knew who Blue was.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda has a lot going on in its pages – friendships, character growth, drama, family, and, of course, romance. But despite the ups and downs within it, Simon was a very up book for me, and I loved that. So if you’re looking for something to keep you engaged and warm your heart during this cold December, I highly recommend Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda!