book reviews

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda [Review]

My Rating: 4/5

Not-quite-out Simon is just enjoying an average when class clown Martin Addison casually mentions that he’s blackmailing him after stumbling upon some personal emails between him and a boy named Blue. All he has to do for him is to allow him to tag along with his friend group so he can get closer to Abby.

Funny. Emotional. Adorable.

These are the first few words that come into my mind when I think about Simon vs. The Homo Sapien Agenda. There was ultimately something very real about this book. The depth of emotion portrayed by many of the major characters had my heart pounding through the last 100 or so pages. It made me keep reading.

 I’ve heard some really positive things about it from fellow book readers in the books’ sphere of the internet and my curiosity won out in the end when I saw it in a Barnes and Noble’s several months back (I actually got the book as a birthday gift to myself along with some others). I was in the mood for a light read since I started a mystery binge. Something simple and sweet.

This book did not disappoint. From the first few pages, I was charmed by the blunt and funny writing style. The book wastes no time in getting into the main conflict of the narrative: Simon being threatened to be outed as gay by a fellow classmate who just happened to look through some personal emails. I expected the narrative to take some pretty wild turns around this premise. I expected Kidney Hypothetical levels of absurdity, the demands of the blackmailing party getting more and more insane as the story continued. But surprisingly, this premise wasn’t the focus of the story and I was retroactively thankful for that.

This is strictly Simon’s story. His personal journey through friendship, love, and self-discovery. The emotional core of the story is his budding relationship with Blue, a mysterious penpal that he finds himself falling harder for with each correspondence. Every other chapter is cut with their messages to each other and it was adorable seeing how their relationship develops.

There’s also  something so honest and loveable about Simon Spier’s perspective. His interactions with his friends (Nick, Abby, Leah) form another pillar of this story.

His struggles with his identity as a closeted gay teen is another. I hate to say that other than Gracefully Grayson (Which is amazing by the way. Just saying) this is the only other book I’ve read that features an LGBT character in the main role. Not a best friend to the main character or someone who lives in the periphery of the main character’s world. It was quite the enlightening read. Reading Simon’s perspective on his own sexual identity was interesting. He wonders openly why “Coming Out” is such a big deal. His family makes a big deal every time he steps out of a certain box and this makes him hesitant about sharing things that a big deal could be legitimately made by certain people. But beneath this, this story has a really important message about realizing there’s more to a person than what initially lies on the surface. Simon lives with this, going through life keeping this secret part of himself hidden from the world. Not just because of fear (though the fear is there) but more from shattering the preconceived notions of what people have of him. He reflects on how exhausting it is for him to keep reintroducing himself to people. The story also works the other way around. Simon learns stuff about his friends he finds strange that he never considered before. I won’t get too specific for fear of getting into spoiler territory. I agree that there should be a “Coming Out” for everyone announcing whether their straight, gay, bisexual, asexual, etc. 

So, this is an amazing book no matter who you are. Go on. Read it.

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