Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agendaby Becky Albertalli Published 07 Apr 2015
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|Publisher||Balzer + Bray|
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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.
"Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" Reviews
Oh okay, you I-told-you-so people. You were right. This book is so much fun that I baked cookies and listened to unfortunate nineties pop music.
And I seriously didn't want to read this. I mean, why would I? I don't particularly like cutesy romances, LGBT or not. The cover is kinda sucky and not attractive. The title is an inside joke that only makes sense after reading the book. And, let's be honest, it's always easier to convince me to read books with phrases like "mind-bending twist", "dark secrets" and "twisted characters". The word "cute" doesn't draw me in.
But I finally took a chance on it and I concede - this book is wonderful. Just so so entertaining from start to finish. I actually snorted aloud (like the sexy beast I am) at some of the hilarious scenes between Simon and his friends. Simon is that perfect mix of delightfully weird and totally normal - he makes us laugh and roll our eyes, but we secretly recognize many of the things he thinks.
I giggled so much at scenes like this:
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? I honestly think I’d rather make out with Bieber. The dog. Or Justin.
Anyway, it really makes you worry about all the hype surrounding sex.
A few minutes later...
“Simon, how much did you drink?” asks Leah. I’m twisting the ends of her hair. Leah’s hair is so pretty, and it smells exactly like French toast. Except that’s Abby. Leah smells like almonds.
“One beer.” One most excellent, most delicious beer.
“One beer. I can’t even begin to express how ridiculous you are.”
I know this sounds extremely lame - but this book genuinely made me happy. It doesn't hesitate to portray the reality of homophobia in a high school in the South, but it's ultimately such an uplifting story about friendship, family and the sweetest romance I may ever have read.
You can read hundreds, perhaps thousands, of books about the difficulties of dealing with your sexuality and coming out - like the dark and powerful More Happy Than Not - and these are very important, but it was so refreshing to see a warm, fuzzy gay romance where the protagonist is supported by his friends and family.
Very funny and heart-warming.
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Original Review (December 2013): If Becky wasn't a gay teenage boy with good grammar and a foul mouth in several past lives, then she's absolutely one of the most observant writers in the YA game.
New Review (June 2017): Just finished my third or fourth reread of SIMON VS., this time on audio which is narrated by the amazing Michael Crouch, and wow, I love this book more each time. I'm 27 right now and SIMON remains the book I wish I had 10 years ago.
Awesome. Video review to come.
THIS BOOK IS WONDERFUL.
If a story about a cynical gay Harry Potter fan falling in love with somebody from the inside out sounds appealing to you, do yourself a favour and pick this up when it comes out in April.
This review contains *spoilers*.
If you love Oreos or waffles, boys kissing, and overall cuteness then please read this wonderful story, I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
This is the kind of book that I had to read in one sitting while eating the best snacks and listening to my current favorite song because it was just fun fun fun.
I’m still in a happy daze.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda follows sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier, who 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.
“I actually think people would be cool about it,” Martin says. “You should be who you are.”
I don’t even know where to begin with that. Some straight kid who barely knows me, advising me on coming out. I kind of have to roll my eyes.”
Fun fact—I actually started this book a while back, but I absolutely hated Martin and I got so mad at his character that I had to put it down, and then I never picked it back up (unfortunately so).
“Did you—did you take a screenshot or something?”
“Well,” he says, “I wanted to talk to you about that.”
“Sorry—you took a fucking screenshot?”
He purses his lips together and stares over my shoulder. “Anyway,” he says, “I know you’re friends with Abby Suso, so I wanted to ask—”
“Seriously? Or maybe we could go back to you telling me why you took a screenshot of my emails.”
He pauses. “I mean, I guess I’m wondering if you want to help me talk to Abby.”
Seriously, why did he think that was okay in any way?
And Simon kept describing Martin as a goofy kid that everyone in their school loves, but Martin has some serious issues and needs to take a huge step back to reevaluate his life choices.
“And then she looks up at me with raised eyebrows and a perfectly round mouth, and I can’t help but laugh.
“That was so bitchy of me. I can’t believe I said that.”
“It was super bitchy,” I say. “You’re like a stealth bitch.”
“What did you call her?” asks Martin.
I swear to God, that kid pops up out of nowhere and burrows into every conversation.
“It’s okay, Marty. We’re just messing around,” says Abby.
“Yeah, well, he called you a bitch. I really don’t think that’s okay.”
Says the guy blackmailing a kid to 'help' him date someone.
I seriously despised him. And after some time he, funnily enough, started reminding me of Gabe from The Office—remember when Gabe started obsessing over Erin? That’s how Martin sounded like when he talked about Abby.
I’m sorry, but I just can’t get over how uncomfortable he made me.
I feel like I need to go listen to some really relaxing music because Martin’s got me all riled up.
And maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but I was rooting for him to have a horrible ending. The way he handled Abby’s rejection was just completely disgusting.
To quote Simon, Martin is the biggest, most cavernous gaping asshole who ever lived. (And Martin's email at the end pissed me off even more.)
But on a much more positive note, Blue Bram and Simon were so cute and grammatical.
“I can’t believe Bram Greenfeld dressed up. Bram from my lunch table. He’s this quiet black kid who’s supposed to be really smart, but I’ve never heard him speak unless he’s forced to. He leans way back into the corner of the couch, shuffling the toe of one foot against the other, and I never noticed it before, but he’s actually kind of adorable.”
Subtle foreshadowing. I love it.
It was an absolute delight seeing Bram and Simon together at the start because SIMON HAD NO IDEA:
“No fucking thank you, Abby,” Leah says, in this sickeningly pleasant tone. Except her eyes are like crackling fireballs of rage. She stands up abruptly, pushing her chair in without a word.
As soon as she leaves, Garrett looks at Bram, and Bram bites his lip. Which I’m pretty sure is straight-dude code for Bram likes Leah.
And I don’t know why, but it pisses me the fuck off.”
Little do you know...
Foreshadowing in books usually gives me too much anxiety, but because I spoiled the ending for myself (I couldn't handle the not knowing the first time I started this book), I was just smiling throughout my whole reading experience.
“For one thing, both Garrett and Bram have been totally cool about the gay thing all day, which I guess I didn’t expect from a bunch of athletes.
Also, Bram is cute. Like, really, really cute. He stands a foot or so back from the fence, totally sweaty, with a white turtleneck under his soccer shirt. And he’s not really talking, but he has very expressive brown eyes. And light brown skin and soft dark curls and cute, knobbly hands.”
They are too cute.
Also, I loved Ms. Albright, she's moderately badass for a teacher. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed reading about a teacher in a book. But she was definitely a pleasant surprise.
“Then she walks over to me and squats down in front of my platform. “You okay, Simon?”
I feel myself blush a little bit. “I’m fine.”
“Okay, well,” she says quietly. “Just know that those assholes are getting suspended. I’m not even kidding. I will make it my hill to die on.”
Also also, I love emails in books so the interactions between Blue and “Jacques” were absolutely delightful (their emails about middle school memories still make me laugh):
“Honestly, though? I think the real reason I had girlfriends was because I didn’t one hundred percent believe I was gay. Or maybe I didn’t think it was permanent.
I know you’re probably thinking: “Okaaaaaaay.”
FROM: [email protected]
TO: [email protected]
DATE: Oct 19 at 8:01 AM
SUBJECT: The obligatory . . .
(Eyebrows, butthole mouth, etc.)
Seriously, the cast of characters in this book were all so wonderful.
And there was this one part with Leah that cracks me up every single time
“And Leah’s also into slash fanfiction, which got me curious enough to poke around the internet and find some last summer. I couldn’t believe how much there was to choose from: Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy hooking up in thousands of ways in every broom closet at Hogwarts. I found the ones with decent grammar and stayed up reading all night. It was a weird couple of weeks. That was the summer I taught myself how to do laundry. There are some socks that shouldn’t be washed by your mom.”
I seriously laughed out loud.
(And the email parts of this book kind of reminded me of A Cinderella Story and their interactions.)
“And then someone slides in beside me.
“Can I sit here?” he asks, and my eyes snap open.
It’s Cute Bram Greenfeld, of the soft eyes and soccer calves.
I loosen the seat belt to let him in. And I smile at him. It’s impossible not to.
“I like your shirt,” he says. He seems nervous.
“Thanks,” I say. “It’s Elliott Smith.”
I’m kind of hardcore grinning right now.
I'm really glad that we got to see those two get together and that it didn't end right there. But I was expecting for the book to have 10 more pages, so when I turned the last page in chapter 35 and saw Acknowledgments written, I was so let down. (And this particular situation has happened so many times, but it still gets me every single time.)
This story was just so good and I’m truly happy that I gave it a second chance.
Also, I’m really pleased that Martin didn’t get a happy ending.
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As someone who does not typically like books set in high school, I absolutely adored this book. It is possibly the cutest romance I've ever read. And I think it is mostly because Simon and Blue feel in love with each other without knowing what the other looked like. They 100% loved each other for what's inside and that made it all the more beautiful.
Simon felt like a real person. His voice was so genuine and honest. And Blue is the most precious person ever.
I can definitely see myself rereading this in the future to re-experience all the cuteness