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BOOK REVIEW: Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

| 30 July 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Balzer + Bray
April 2015
Paperback, £7.99
Reviewed by Aly Locatelli


Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

“White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default.”

Simon Vs is the book the blogosphere has been waiting for. It’s funny, witty and the main character, Simon, is a refreshing mix of sarcastic, serious and incredibly, irrevocably in love. Simon Vs took the internet by storm last year when early copies were sent out to bloggers. Everyone who read it said two things:

  • Prepare to laugh
  • Have a packet of Oreos close by

Not only does Simon deal with the struggles of accepting who you are and coming out to your parents as a teenager, but it’s also about what it’s like to be a homosexual teenager in towns where it’s not so easily accepted. How it can be so much harder to come out to those who are close to you than coming out to those who don’t know you so well at all. How, even when people take it in their stride, accepting it yourself is a struggle. Simon talks a lot about ‘defaults’ and how unfair it is that homosexuals should be the ones who come out, and how white and straight are defaults, and they shouldn’t be.

“It is definitely annoying that straight (and white, for that matter) is the default, and that the only people who have to think about their identity are the ones who don’t fit that mold. Straight people really should have to come out, and the more awkward it is, the better. Awkwardness should be a requirement.”  

Simon Spier is sixteen years old, an avid drama student, gay and not ready to come out just yet. For almost a year, he’s been corresponding anonymously with a boy called ‘Blue’ who is also gay, and definitely not ready to come out. Together, they give each other the confidence to be who they are without consequences, and a sweet romance begins to blossom.

Until an email that Simon intended for Blue ends up in the wrong hands.

Suddenly, Simon is being blackmailed: if he helps a fellow drama student to get in Simon’s best friend’s good graces, the blackmailer won’t out Simon. Things don’t go quite according to plan, and Simon is outed anyway.

“And you know what? You don’t get to say it’s not a big thing. This is a big fucking thing, okay? This was supposed to be—this is mine. I’m supposed to decide when and where and who knows and how I want to say it.”  

I really loved this book, and the characters and how Albertalli managed to bring Simon to life. He reminded me a lot of an old school friend of mine — his mannerisms and personality, his boyish attitude and hidden insecurities. It felt like being sixteen again, and in the awkward stage of life where one thinks: “Who am I?

Simon is not only adorably obsessed with his secret pen-pal, but he also has a life outside of the pending romance: he has friends he engages with and a family who adore him, and we see plenty of both as the novel progresses, which is very unlike most Young Adult novels these days. Simon Vs. isn’t even about the romance itself, but about the internal struggles of a sixteen year old boy who is coming to terms with who he is, and how he deals with the numerous situations (or obstacles) thrown his way.

I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for something light, fluffy, and funny to read, and one that delivers an incredibly important message: It’s okay to be you.

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

21. A reader, a writer, a reviewer and a full-time sloth lover. I am addicted to coffee and my laptop, and love reading especially when it's rainy outside.

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