Book Review: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Author: Becky Albertalli

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

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 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.

Incredibly funny and poignant, this twenty-first-century coming-of-age, coming out story—wrapped in a geek romance—is a knockout of a debut novel by Becky Albertalli.

Short Review

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is one of the best YA novels ever written, and that comes from someone who pops YA novels like they do lemon poppyseed muffins.  A lot.

Full Review

Going into Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I have to admit that I was skeptical.  I adore LGBTQ novels to death, but I feared that this novel might have been too stereotypical or cliche.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda shines through the cluttered sea of YA novels with a story that worms its way straight to your heart.

Author Becky Albertalli happens to be a clinical psychologist, and her knowledge of adolescents in just about every role is impeccable.  As a social worker, I adored her representation of minority youth and the difficulties that adolescents face in high school.  Each of her characters held a strong role, and they were all remarkably complex.  Upon first meeting Simon I found myself drawn to his quirkiness, and I was so glad that Albertalli didn’t make him some sidekick to a female character in the novel, like so many authors do with gay characters.  Simon was all his own, and by god, he won my heart.

I guess I assumed that Blue would be white.  Which kind of makes me want to smack myself.  White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default.

Simon is a junior in high school who happens to be gay but hasn’t come out yet.  The story follows him as he emails with an anonymous student at his school who also happens to be gay, and they help each other come out to their families and friends while never admitting to who they are.  However, Simon is also being blackmailed by another student and he is outed before he is ready, which causes his email friend to find out who he is.  The plot follows Simon as he grapples with his identity, his friends, and his family while trying to become who he is meant to be.  At times I found myself in tears as I struggled through Simon’s challenges with him, and I couldn’t help but root for him to find his love by the end of the novel.  I was afraid halfway through that Simon wouldn’t be getting the happy ending that he deserved, but I was more than happy with what happened for him by the end.

Diversity is so important to me, and I was astounded by Albertalli’s flawless incorporation of characters from all different backgrounds.  Her portrayals were real and flawed, and I found Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda to be the perfect mix of today’s youth.  I enjoyed this novel as an adult, and I am sure that readers of all ages will enjoy it.  Albertalli has a way of opening the eyes of even the most conservative individuals, and her story was all about acceptance.  I believe that everyone needs to read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and you are sure to be changed by Albertalli’s flawless work just like I have.

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