Simon Versus the Homo Sapiens Agenda [also known as Love, Simon] by Becky Albertalli
From Goodreads: 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.
Hi, everyone and a happy weekend.
So I’ve just finished reading Simon… it’s one of those books that get recommended to you from so many different people, so I decided to go with the flow and order it with a few other books last time Amazon had a good deal on. I got the movie tie-in addition, since it was cheaper, but obviously that doesn’t really change anything about the book. I just wanted to read it so I could watch the movie really haha.
I did really enjoy it. It was a fast read, and it felt like it was over a lot sooner than I was anticipating. The emails between Simon and the mysterious Blue really helped keep the pace tight and compact, and I was motivated to keep reading so I could find out who the heck Blue is. There were times when I loved his anonymity and, like Simon, there were times when I wanted Simon to find out who it was so he could stick his finger up at him in person. But, of course, it makes a lot of sense that Blue and Simon have a difficult time of it. At the start of the novel they are both still ‘in the closet’ and I found it really sweet that they talked to each other in order to have someone to talk with about stuff they weren’t sure about. I’ve never had to come out to anyone before, but I imagine it must be a very big deal.
Which is why Martin’s blackmail really shocked me [it’s not a spoiler, guys. It happens on page one] because it was a threat to take away both Simon’s and Blue’s right to come out if and when they felt ready, simply so he could hit on a girl. I was genuinely shaking with anger at this point. It was also a struggle not to groan at Leah, Simon’s friend, who doesn’t handle it particularly well when Simon chooses to tell someone else that he’s gay first. She clearly has some jealousy issues, and it was interesting to see her character develop with them, but I still couldn’t help but wince when she got annoyed about that. I know people who have come out to parents and loved ones first, and I also know other people who found it harder to do so, so they built up to it by telling colleagues, online friends and friends of friends first. And hey, whatever someone decides to do, it should always be up to them. It’s not really cool to dictate what number in line you are to be told something like that. So yeah, I had some issues with Leah over that, but I liked watching her grow and evolve as a character.
I thought Simon was a pretty brilliant character. He was so funny and awkward, and I practically clapped when he emailed Blue to suggest that straight people should be forced to come out too, so that it isn’t as difficult for gay people. I mean, I am totally on board with that. I thought it was interesting seeing his family dynamic, and how they thought and behaved. It was fun and just realistic enough too.
Overall, Simon… brings up some brilliant questions about sexuality and identity. I particularly liked the bit where Simon pointed out: ‘I feel secure in my masculinity too. Being secure in your masculinity isn’t the same as being straight.’ Again, I can’t say for certain, having never gone through any of this myself, but it seems as though Simon… is a great book for people going through similar issues, since it seems relatable in many ways. My only qualm is that it seems a little too sugar-sweet at times. Like, a lot of the issues are resolved in a very teen-drama kind of way, and I just felt a little like shrugging by the end. The whole mystery of Blue was very exciting, and I loved guessing who he was [I guessed right] and when Simon figures it out it is deliciously gooey, but the friendship dramas just seemed a little OTT for me. Maybe I’m getting a bit old haha.
Anyhow, an 8/10 for Simon Versus the Homo Sapiens Agenda A.K.A. Love, Simon. The movie is currently out, I believe, and you can order copies of the novel from Waterstones UK here, Amazon UK here, and Book Depository here.