BOOK REVIEW – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky AlbertalliSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
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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.

This book was a serious breath of fresh air, and I end up with the biggest smile on my face.

“I take a sip of my beer, and it’s – I mean, it’s just astonishingly disgusting. I don’t think I was expecting it to taste like ice-cream, but holy fucking hell. People lie and get fake IDs and sneak into bars, and for this?”

▥ What you need to know if the fact that we have no idea who is this Blue guy that Simon is emailing until almost the very end. However, we get to know him – and Simon, in another way – through theirs emails and I can say without doubt that it was the part that I preferred. Strangely, Blue became pretty fast my favorite character. Strangely because we only know him through messages and all. What can I say? I’m a sucker for emails and messages inserted in a book. Damn, I’m such a stalker (shut up). All of that is to say that I can completely understand how Simon could fall in love with him without meeting him – Hell, I barely kept in check my crush on him (what? He is so freaking cute!). Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Simon as well. Simon, who made me burst of laughing with his Draco-Harry fan fictions (for real, I had to explain why I was laughing like crazy and all that), roll my eyes smiling because he was so clueless, Simon who is freaking adorable and funny.

Simon who sounds like a real teenager and who has multiple crushes. I’m sorry but yes, that’s high school for you (or was I the only one? Please say no). And then, there’s this moment we learn who Blue is. Happy sigh. View Spoiler »

To sum up, Simon, I really liked you, even if sometimes,

Friendship is portrayed in a realistic way in my opinion, because even if Leah, Nick, Abby and Simon share a strong connection, that did not prevent them from arguing or being jealous or whatever else feeling we humans feel sometimes. That’s why I really appreciated to follow this bunch of realistic and supportive characters. However, I would have loved it if the characterization of the characters outside Simon was more developed. Indeed if Simon’s and Blue’s characters are fleshed-out (which is amazing concerning Blue, because we know him only through his emails during the most part of the book) unfortunately the others lack depth in my opinion, especially Nick and Leah. Now, we’re following Simon’s journey, so on the other hand it can be explained.

“If she thinks me drinking coffee is big news, it’s going to be quite a fucking morning.”

▥ Truth be told, I absolutely adored the dynamic between the different members of Simon’s family. Indeed they’re far from perfect, a little on the crazy side, unable to mind their own business, but the most important is that they rang true to me. Perhaps that’s because my family always was a little anti-conformist either? Even if yes, we do the Blue’s Christmas thing where we open our presents one after the other but that’s pretty awesome in my opinion and I so stick out my tongue at you, Simon.

“It is definitely annoying that straight (and white, for that matter) is the default, and that the only people who have to think about their identity are the ones who don’t fit that mold.”

▥ Finally, this book deals with pretty hard subjects as bullying, blackmailing, and above that, the difficulties to find and express our identity. Actually, I’m not sure of what I think about the way they are handled here. Indeed if they aren’t completely dismissed (which would have maddened me for sure) they’re not completely treated either and I got the feeling that everything was wrapped too nicely in the end. Perhaps am I too pessimistic? I don’t really know. Maybe. But in my opinion it would have been more interesting to explore these issues further, even if it would have impacted the general happy feeling we get when reading this book. Not that we don’t come across some heartbreaking moments. We do, and that’s what make the whole book beautiful in its own way – flawed, but sincere.

✐ As for the writing, the fact that I read it in one sitting says something, doesn’t it? While I can’t brag about amazing metaphors or original writing, in my opinion it’s perfect how it is, that is to say, addictive as a book from Kody Keplinger or Kasie West can be, with the right amount of fluffiness and laughter to keep you in a good mood. That was the case for me, anyway.

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