Book review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: AmazonGoodreads
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Source: Purchased

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 read this book, in its entirety, on November 28, 2015. As of January 2016, I have still not reviewed it. I think this is because I want to do this book justice in my review, but I’m not really sure how. I really, really enjoyed this book. I’m glad that I read it, and I think that most people would enjoy it, too. But how to articulate what’s great about this book? That’s just stumping me.

Because what’s great is Simon, and how so many people can relate to him.

What’s great is the friendships in this book, because they’re real.

What’s great is how nobody’s perfect, and all the characters accept that.

What’s great is the romance, which builds mostly through anonymous emails.

What’s great is that this book is so honest and realistic.

In this book, you’re not going to find boys who look like they just stepped off a runway. You’re not going to get characters who, as teenagers, have the kind of eloquent conversations that most adults can only dream of. You’re not going to find perfect, angelic characters who always know the right thing to do and say at the exact right moment.

You’re going to get teenagers. Normal teenagers, who fight with their friends and overreact and do stupid things. But teenagers who also learn to accept things outside of their norm, and learn great life lessons.

This book is fun to read, that’s for sure. But it’s also an important book, because it deals with issues of sexuality and race without shoving it in the reader’s face. I’ve added Becky Albertalli to my list of authors to watch.

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Last week’s Wishlist Wednesday focused on books I’ve been wanting to read for a really long time.  This week’s focuses on more recent additions.

  • I first heard about What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler a couple days ago through jessethereader’s review.  I read a lot of fluff, and sometimes it’s good to go with something important, something uncomfortable, something that pushes your limits as a reader.  I get really outraged at the topic of rape in general, so this is bound to be a book I’ll have really strong opinions about.
  • I have, of course, been hearing about Me Before You by Jojo Moyes for years.  I only recently added it to my TBR after hearing a patient’s wife recommend it incessantly over a several-hour period as her husband underwent surgery.  She was like 90 years old and she said it’s one of the best books she’s ever read.  That has to count for something.
  • A few weeks ago, I was hopping around the book blogs and saw several of them mention Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk.  I was intrigued by the premise at first, and then even more interested when I saw that it takes place in Wisconsin.  There’s a serious shortage of books set in my home state, so that gives me even more reason to read this one.

What books are on your wishlist?