Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ
‘I’m tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. I get a girlfriend. I have a beer. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again’
INFO | Goodreads
BUY| The Book Depository
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.
Every now and then, I read a book I wish I had written. I picked up Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda for the We The Book Dragon’s June Book Club. On the cover, the book is described as ‘the love child of John Green and Rainbow Rowell’ – I couldn’t have summarised it better myself.
Our protagonist is high school student Simon, who we very quickly learn holds a secret – he is gay. The only person who knows this is Blue, an online friend made through the high school Tumblr page. Opting to remain anonymous to each other, and the story is about their friendship, how they support each other, and how they desire each other, despite never having met in person. The reader is kept guessing until the very end about the identity of Blue. I had my suspicions, but Albertalli’s hints are so subtle that they are easily overlooked. The book also covers all sorts of other relationships, and it is as much about the development of Simon’s friends and siblings than it is about himself.
I’ve never read a book from the perspective of an openly gay character before. I thoroughly enjoyed it; it was actually really insightful, showing the anxiety of coming out alongside a really great romance.
I particularly enjoyed Simon’s family dynamics – between his mother, father and sisters – and it was nice to read a book where teenagers and adults had positive, respectful relationships with each other.
Really, for a first novel, the book is incredible and I highly recommend it. I hope Becky Alberalli continues to write, because her characters have great depth and wit – I laughed out loud a fair few times.
Star rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ (5/5)