Review | Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Apparently, Oreos are therapeutic.

(Yeah, I really didn’t know how to start this…)

Summary

Sixteen-year-old Simon Spier is completely screwed when class clown Martin takes screenshots of his private email. Email that can be used as blackmail. Email that is hard evidence that Simon is gay.

Simon’s not ashamed of it, but he’s just not ready to come out yet. He’s more worried for Blue, his correspondent that is super shy, but also might just be the someone Simon could fall for. To protect him, Simon has to be wingman for Martin, even if he really doesn’t want to. But with the threat of the exposure over his head, Simon’s not sure he has a choice.

Plot

You know what’s so great about this book? Being gay isn’t a problem.

I mean, yeah, it’s a source of a plethora of problems, but only in combination with things like trust, confidence, violation of privacy, and (the master of all problems) love.

Simon’s flaw isn’t that he’s gay. His flaw is that he’s a teenage boy who can’t understand the world he’s living in. Which is basically the struggle of every teenage boy. And teenage girl for that matter.

I also like the whole mystery of Blue. It was a fun little guessing game that was essential but not central to the plot. And when you find out who he is…let the ships set sail.

Characters

Simon is a fun character. He’s quirky without being over the top. His flaws are very real ones, and his opinions are both insightful and hilarious.

His friends and family also have distinct personalities, with flaws and strengths that make them well rounded characters who are truly memorable.

On top of that I just love the way the characters interact. Simon’s family, his friends—they all have defined relationships with each other that are remarkably real. These characters have disagreements, they fight, they have fun. Simon’s family is such a pleasure to read about.

Writing

Written primarily in first person, Simon’s voice is honest, quirky, and hilarious. It’s very blunt–when Simon feels something, he’s going to tell the reader in as few words as possible.

I really do like Simon’s monologues. His little rants on coming out and defaults are both insightful and entertaining.

And the emails between him and Blue? Too adorable.

Themes

It took me a while to piece together what Simon meant by “the Homo Sapiens Agenda.” But he’s talking about society, how there are default settings of white, male, straight and handsome and how that’s not fair. (Funny how his friend, Nick, fits that description to a T though.)

I like his rants about coming out because it makes a huge point that as individuals, we are different by definition. It’s either we all declare who we are, or no one does, because if it’s not either situation, the idea of “defaults” get set up and thats where people run into problems.

Final Verdict

Recommendation: Buy. YA readers looking for a fun, quick read about a young man trying to find out where he fits in the world. There’s comedy, there’s romance, and there’s insight in the way a teenager can only provide.

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3 thoughts on “Review | Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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