Book Review # 38: Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda

Saturday, 9 May 2015
Title: Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Penguin

Format: Paperback
Publication Date: April 7th 2015
Pages: 303
Source: Bought
Purchase: Book Depository / Waterstones

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.

I need to state first of all that I had no idea going into this book that it would become my current all time favourite contemporary - that takes a lot of guts for me to say because frankly I have read quite a few and a lot of them have consistently wrestled the next book for the position of favourite. I had heard George (@TheGeorgeLester) rave about this book, and I even watched his lengthy in-depth review. That had me sold but I didn't know when to pick it up, and then I saw Fiona over at (@NorthEastNerd) read it during the 24 hour readathon and she stated that she loved it. Okay - I knew I was going to have to pick this book up now and with the upcoming train journey I had planned I knew I would have time to devour it. Within an hour it was ordered, guaranteed for next day delivery. Sorted. When it arrived I was so excited and when I read it on the train, I read it in a single sitting without pausing for a drink. I think that sums up my thoughts on the book pretty well, but incase you hadn't already picked up on my lack of words on Goodreads besides 'ASDFGHJKL. That is all' then I can tell you now that I loved each and every page of it. Why you may ask? Well let's explore that together, so what did I think of Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda?

ASDFGHJKL. Okay, sorry I thought it would be quite appropriate to try and begin this discussion with that. I thoroughly adored this book in every way imaginable to love a book - it's highly competing with V.E.Schwab's 'A Darker Shade of Magic' as being my favourite book of the year so far. It's definitely taken it's place as my favourite contemporary! I thought that the plot was extremely realistic and dealt with issues that currently face young teenagers today who face admitting who they truly are to the people they love. This novel dealt with the struggles of a gay teenager in modern society, and although I can't relate with it myself, the issues Simon was facing felt very grounded and true to society today. Acceptance played a large role in this story - coming to terms with who the character felt they truly were and then slowly divulging it to his peers. I loved the way that this was tackled and the way in which his peers reacted to it, especially Abby's reaction. I can't say this enough but the reactions to Simon coming out as gay did feel really realistic. I've had friends who have come out to me as gay before and I definitely felt that this novel tackled it in a very empathetic way. What I really enjoyed seeing in this novel was the family reaction to the news of Simon coming out - it was nice to see the instant acceptance and especially how the father realised that over the years his homophobic comments and 'jokes' actually were hitting home quite hard with Simon.  

As for the plot, we're introduced to Simon and Blue's relationship via anonymous emails sent back and forth between the pair. I adored this little inserts and really appreciated them as a way of separating large blocks of plot. I often found myself getting really emotionally involved with the emails, so much so that I would be depressed to find that one email had ended because I was dying to see the reply! Becky Albertalli really utilises these emails to her advantage because they really did leave the reader craving for more. However the plot doesn't just follow these email correspondences. The focus of the sub-plot is the school play 'Oliver' and how one of the cast members has gotten ahold of one of these emails and is threatening to expose Simon and Blue as gay unless Simon tries to hook him up with Abby. I loathed Martin's character and I thought that every reaction that Simon gave him was deserved - especially at the end. As Simon quite rightly admits - his coming out was a very private matter, and Martin exposed it for the whole of the school to see, so why should he help him or give a damn about what happens to him?

Throughout this story there is the constant question about who is Blue's character and I found myself guessing away multiple times at who it could be. At first I did find Martin very suspicious as a possibility of Blue as I knew that Cal being revealed as Blue would have been too simple. I will admit I did slightly overlook the true identify of Blue in my guesses so it was a really nice surprise to find out who it really was near the end. I have to admit as well that I thought Simon and Blue's relationship was undeniably adorable - theres no other way of putting it. Seriously, when reading through their emails and then their eventually meet up I just wanted to sit there going 'now kiss.' It's probably one of the cutest romances I've come across in a long while. 

So I'm going to have to end this review there because I'm so full of emotion over this book that I'm struggling to find a cohesive thought. There is so much I could say about this book in regards to the love of the characters, the realism of the plot ect. Overall this book was fantastic, it was emotionally gripping and tackles strong yet sensitive issues that face a large percentage of teenagers in the modern age. Becky Albertalli does an amazing job at creating a very pragmatic story in an unidealistic and yet familiar setting. The pace was timely and overall the novel was perfection.This is definitely a book that will make you crave more than just Oreos! I award Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda 5 out of 5 stars on my classification scale. Just ASDFGHJKL. Read it.

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