About two and half weeks ago we discussed the book Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, as part of our involvement in the YA Diversity Book Club. Today we’d like to once again highlight this book, but instead of a discussion by a group of book bloggers, we’d like to share one teenager’s review of this book. The teen in question is my son Daniel. He found the book among my growing stack and asked me if he could read it. The blurb on the back spoke to him so I handed the book over. Below are his thoughts and opinions about this book.
I have to admit I was a little skeptical when I first picked up Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, but Becky Albertalli only needed two pages to hook me to this book for good. Simon is still in the closet about being gay, and he’s been anonymously emailing another closet gay kid with the alias Blue. But things start to go more than a little haywire for him when a fellow thespian, and very distant acquaintance accidentally discovers Simon’s secret emails, and decides to use it as blackmail.
I was afraid it would be just another high school gay romance, but I was pleasantly surprised when the novel took me through Simon’s family, and friend issues. His coming out story was not as major as I expected, and in fact even the “main” blackmail plot took a back seat to the high school production of Oliver, in which Simon has a minor role.
This novel is duly relevant in today’s society, as it shows that the main worry Simon had was not whether his parents or friends would accept him; his parents are “not going to disown me,” and one of his friends “loves gay guys, so she’d probably be freaking thrilled.” But rather his main concern was how and when he should tell which friend. On top of that, it explores the idea of why we keep secrets in the first place, and how it affects relationships as a whole.
I absolutely love the characters in this book. Albertalli does an amazing job with developing unique, quirky personalities that are hilarious and relatable, who are dynamic and realistic. The only character who’s supposed to be the “bad guy” comes to regret his actions, and isn’t even all that bad.
Overall, this novel is now in my list of favorites. Although I have to admit, I might be a bit biased since I’m also a super theater geek myself. That’s why I got really excited when Simon was also in theater. I absolutely loved this novel, and would gladly recommend it to anyone who wants a fun, realistic coming-of-age story about the politics of coming out in high school.
Favorite Quotes: (these are my favorite quotes, not Daniel’s -Diana)
“What’s a dementor?”
I mean, I can’t even. “Nora, you are no longer my sister.”
“So it’s some Harry Potter thing,” she says.”
“Sometimes it seems like everyone knows who I am except me.”
“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… People lie and get fake IDs and sneak into bars, and for this? I honestly think I’d rather make out with Bieber. The dog. Or Justin.” (my actual feelings about beer -Diana)