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 recently reread this novel and this post combines my original review that was posted on Goodreads and some of my updated thoughts after my reread.
This book is EVERYTHING. Heartwarming and adorable, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is about love, friendship, being yourself, accepting others, eating oreos for every meal of the day, perfect grammar, and flirting with cute guys through email.
This is a novel about Simon Spier’s journey through his junior year of high school as he transforms from Simon the straight guy who’s had 3 girlfriends, to the Simon who thinks boys are cute and is falling in love with Blue, another junior at his school who he exchanges emails with. Neither knows the other’s identity, but through their emails, they are able to find the courage to embrace who they are even when things go wrong. This was a lighthearted book that tackles the issues of being gay, and also to some extent issues of race and colour. I think this book is masterful in the way that it was able to shine a light on the issues without being an angst-filled and heavy novel. It has lots of wonderful messages about being true to yourself and being the person you want to be, while still staying light and fun.
It was nicely paced and kept me so intrigued that I read it in one sitting both times. This book is just so easy to get into and I flew through the first few chapters in no time. I liked the format of the book a lot. Every second chapter was an email exchange between Simon and Blue that would allow us to take a peek inside Blue’s head. Their conversations were the best part of the book in my opinion because we got to see them getting to know each other. They were just so cute together!! I also really liked the mystery aspect of the book and trying to figure out who Blue was, though I did guess who he was quite early on in the book. Knowing who Blue was during my reread of the novel, added to the experience and every mention of him had me squealing and flailing around. Needless to say, I absolutely loved the romance.
“I’m not going to pretend I know how this ends, and I don’t have a freaking clue if it’s possible to fall in love over email. But I would really like to meet you, Blue. I want to try this. And I can’t imagine a scenario where I don’t want to kiss your face off as soon as I see you.”
I loved the characters that Becky Albertalli created. I thought Simon and Blue were so normal but unique at the same time. I liked that Simon was just an ordinary boy who isn’t popular but isn’t an outcast. He’s just your average kid who’s struggling with revealing his true identity to others in his life, which I think so many people can relate to. His narrative voice was so strong and relatable that you can’t help but root for him and want everything to work out. His personality really comes through in his voice and he was just very easy to connect with. Simon’s story and his character is inspiring and definitely encouraged me to reflect on what I truly want in life and speak up about it too.
I thoroughly loved Simon’s family and the fact that they watch and have discussions about reality TV shows, and that they have Facebook scavenger hunts. Their family dynamic was wonderful and I loved how involved his parents and siblings were in his life. They got along wonderfully and it was beautiful to be able to see such a supportive family. I also liked the side characters because they each had their own quirks, though it did take me a while to warm to Abby. She’s the character who everybody loves and I just had a hard time seeing why she was so special. Having said that, there wasn’t a single character that I disliked in this book because they all brought something special to the story.
Overall this was an amazing debut novel and I cannot wait to read the companion novel that Becky is working on!