Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda


I am having trouble starting this review. But I guess I'll start like this: I really enjoyed this novel. It was smart, honest, realistic, and immensely cute. I oohed and aahed with every plot reveal and wanted so badly for these two to get together. However, I don't think I loved it as much as everyone else.

Maybe I'm getting in my head a little bit, but from the way people were talking about it, I thought it was going to rocket to the top of my favorites shelf. And it just doesn't. Still solid and memorable, but not at the top. My favorite thing about this novel though is that it's a fluffy romance. Simple. But it's a fluffy romance between two men, and I love that we are getting to a point in YA--and literature in general--where we can write fluffy romances about whoever the hell we want and it doesn't have to be dramatic and revolutionary. It can just be what it is.

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 was unashamedly himself. And that is an amazing thing. He was confident, cool, goofy, and just a totally lovable nerd. Oh--did I say funny? Because he was hilarious; sarcastic and sincere at the same time. He felt so real; if I discovered tomorrow that he was actually a real person and this was a memoir, I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest. He is undeniably original.

The side characters like Nick, Abby, Leah, Martin, and Nora were really interesting as well. However, they were a little two dimensional. They didn't have the same depth that Simon did.

The tension in this novel was...divine. Blue and Simon had this wonderful repartee and I loved reading (or listening rather, since it was an audiobook) their emails. They were so open and believable. And bonus--there weren't too many of them. In most cases, I am not a fan of books that are solely emails or texts, but I liked the inclusion of them in this story. It made it all feel more authentic. And the big reveal made my heart explode. So damn swoony and adorable. I ship them to DEATH.

The other relationships in this novel were a little stilted. And maybe I felt that way because the Blue/Simon relationship was so well crafted (and I cared about it more), but they were too dramatic sometimes. Particularly the Nick/Leah/Abby triangle. It was really unnecessary. In addition, the scene were Abby confronts Simon about Martin felt overly dramatic as well. Simon wasn't trying to get you two together, he was trying to appease Martin so he would get off his back. Please chill.

The writing was pretty decent. I didn't really notice it. Maybe that's because I was listening to the audiobook, but I find that you can hear a lot of writing flaws when you listen to an audiobook--and I didn't notice anything. And like I stated earlier, I really loved the email chapters; I loved the moderation of them.

I can't wait to see what Becky Albertalli does next--particularly in The Upside of Unrequited because it sounds fantastic. I hope it is full characters that are as well written as Simon was.

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