Monday, May 11, 2015

Review: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Series: Standalone
Published: April 7th, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
320 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult/LGBTQ
Acquired this book: Via Edelweiss in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

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 went into Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda feeling slightly wary. It sounded fantastic and like something I’d enjoy, but there was so much hype around it. I’m not one who usually avoids a book because of hype, but it made me nervous, especially when several bloggers I really admire and trust gave it 5 stars and gushed endlessly about it. So I started reading...and when I was already giggling like a fiend within the first few pages, I knew the hype was justified. This book continued to prove it was worth the hype right until the last page when I finished reading with a huge smile on my face and happy tears in my eyes.

I’ve been searching for a long time for a truly fantastic LGBTQ YA. I’ve found some good ones, but not one that I would undeniable recommend to anyone and everyone...until Simon. This book has everything - great characters, humour, feels, swoons, and real life situations. Simon is one of my new favourite characters. His voice was so authentic; I felt like he was a friend who was telling me what was going on his life. He’s hilarious and irreverent and smart, and the stuff he thought and talked about were so spot on. I’ve said before that I wished LGBTQ YA was more than coming out stories (even though I know how incredibly important and relevant coming out stories are), but Simon was different. Even though Simon’s sexual identity was a big part of the story, it was about so much more than that. I appreciated that we got to see his life before and after coming out, and how his coming out was seamlessly woven through with Simon just being Simon.

The side characters were equally fantastic. All the characters in this book had a purpose. Simon’s friends were great, and I loved the different dynamics with each person or group, and I especially loved his relationship with his parents and sisters. That’s something else that was really realistic - his parents were actually present, they wanted to know what was going on in their children’s lives, be part of it, and spend time together. The issues they had added to how realistic the whole thing was. Despite being giggle-inducing, this book had some truly poignant revelations about different aspects of growing up, being gay, and coming out. It showcased what I think is one of the hardest parts of growing up: changes. The changes people go through individually, and within friendships and families. Even when you don’t mean for things to change, or you don’t think they are, it happens, and when you realize it, it can be surreal and often really painful. Ms Albertalli captured that feeling perfectly.

Then there was Simon and Blue. Aaaah, these two. They were just so freaking cute. Their emails were alternately hilarious and sweet and touching. They talked about everything and nothing, and said so much even when they didn’t say much at all. And during the big reveal...I cried. Not even gonna lie. I basically cried happy tears through the last couple chapters of the book because it was just so unbelievably perfect and wonderful and lovely.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is pretty much the perfect coming of age and coming out story. It’s laugh out loud funny, adorable, touching, and clever. I think the fact that a book about the every day stuff in life - hanging out with friends, going to school, spending time with family, listening to music - can have such a huge impact is a testament to Ms Albertalli’s skill as a writer. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

I didn't have any Oreos (*sniff*) so Olaf was the next best thing 

Have you read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? What's your favourite LGBTQ YA? What's the last book that made you giggle uncontrollably? Let's talk here or on Twitter!

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1 comment:

  1. Don't you love when a book everyone's raving about holds up to Its hype? So great!


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