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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Review

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Wow. This book has so many emotions and things to talk about I don't know what to say! First of all, this book is about Simon, a not-so-out-of-the-closet gay teenager, who has an anonymous love interest whose pen name is "Blue." Due to certain events (no spoilers, here!), Simon is being blackmailed, and now he has to try to keep Blue and himself in the closet.

The two main characters in this book are beautifully developed. Simon is probably one of the most realistic characters I have ever read. He is witty and funny, but he also has insecurities and family problems. He tells the truth about his situation so clearly and vividly; I fell for his sincerity right around page 10. I definitely feel like he was the perfect main character for this book.

The other character, Blue, was beyond perfect. He was nice and secretive. There was a mystery about who Blue was, and I got it wrong. It kind of felt like a crime show where you’re lead to one conclusion but it turns out to be something else, entirely. I was surprised and happy. Blue was sincere and you definitely felt his own personal struggle of coming out.

I did feel like the minor characters were a little confusing, though. There are three main ones, Simon’s best friends Leah, Nick and Abby. It took me a while to picture each of them individually, and I felt like Leah and Abby kind of switched personalities and weren't their own characters until the end of the novel.

Simon is probably one of the most realistic characters I have ever read. He is witty and funny, but he also has insecurities and family problems.

I also appreciated the dynamic of Simon’s family, which carried SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA through the slower parts of the book. Simon has both parents and two sisters, but author Becky Albertalli doesn’t try to paint this as the perfect family --- she makes them dysfunctional and realistic. All of the siblings hide things from their parents and each other, which is a huge thing in families; each sibling must try to figure out who they really are without the influence of their family members. The parents are also trying to be "cool parents," which sometimes benefits them but sometimes doesn’t. It’s rare to see such a realistic representation of a family in a novel.

The plot itself is intriguing --- readers must try to figure out Blue’s identity and watch Simon try to stop being blackmailed. However, sometimes it felt a tad bit slow, especially since you'd think it would be faster paced given the premise. What saved the novel's plot line, for me, was the email exchange between "Jacques" (Simon's pen name) and "Blue” --- I actually wish there had been even more! Through the email exchange, you can really see their relationship blossoming and enjoy their funny banter. It’s clear that they love each other in a sincere way. 

This book does a really great job of presenting a gay teen’s struggles. I also liked that Simon isn’t flamboyant, like a lot of other gay teens you might find in YA novels. He broke the "default," which is what this book is all about --- it shows that there should be no "default" and that everyone should "come out" in their own way, no matter what they’re dealing with. It was just a refreshing take on the world and is a book that everyone should read.

Overall, I enjoyed carried SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA. I thought it was very realistic for a contemporary book and will become a modern classics. I do have to say, though, that if you aren't comfortable with homosexuality, then do not read this book. I do feel like everyone should read it, but if you're against that, then obviously you shouldn't read a book you wouldn't like from the get-go. I also warn people that this book is very honest and uncensored, so if you are not comfortable with cursing, then maybe this book isn't for you. If you're not bothered by either of those things, then I definitely suggest picking this book up because it is very well done.

Reviewed by Christa O., Teen Board Member on April 7, 2015

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
by Becky Albertalli

  • Publication Date: April 7, 2015
  • Genres: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian, Romance
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray
  • ISBN-10: 0062348671
  • ISBN-13: 9780062348678