Title: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 7th 2015
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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
So to start off my contemporary month I picked an amazing book. Everyone seemed to be raving about Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda on WordPress and I was curious enough to add it to my to-read list. I’d been meaning to start it for a while now, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and I finally got around to it. Simon Vs more than lived up to the hype, and I can completely understand why everyone loved it so much. As contemporary books go this one is incredibly sweet and it made me so happy reading it from start to finish.
Simon Spier is gay but no one knows; no one except Blue, the boy he’s been secretly emailing back and forth. However when Simon forgets to sign out of his Gmail account one day someone else gets their hands on Simon and Blue’s conversations and with them power over Simon. Martin uses the screenshots he took of the emails to blackmail Simon; unless he lets Martin hang out with him and his friends to try and woo Abby, Simon and Blue’s relationship will be posted all over Tumblr. Simon’s secret and his sexuality will be out in the open for the whole school to see.
With no other choice but to go along, scared that if Blue knows someone else has their emails Simon will lose him and their budding relationship, Simon starts bringing Martin into his circle of friends; inviting him to parties and offering to help him and Abby with their lines for the school play.
Despite not knowing anything about the other, not even their real names, as Simon and Blue continue to email their relationship becomes more and more flirtatious. And as Simon’s feelings for Blue grow he wants to meet him face to face, but Blue is happy with the anonymity.
Meanwhile struggling to deal with the pressures of coming out to his parents and friends and the threat of Martin hanging over his head the only thing Simon has is his emails with Blue. Until everything comes crashing when Martin goes a step too far and suddenly Simon is forced to face all his fears at once.
*Spoilers for Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda below*
Don’t get me wrong I in no way condone what Martin did to Simon but I would have liked to see some king of resolution between the two of them. It seemed like everyone got their ending but not Martin. When Simon and Martin were spending time together as Martin tries to woo Abby Simon begrudgingly admitted to liking Martin and, after what the latter did, there’s probably nothing that can fix what happened but the whole thing just seemed up in the air.
*End of spoilers*
Simon comes across at first as confident and sure of himself. He has a great family and great friends supporting him but the struggle he feels, hiding something so big from the people he loves, clearly weighs on him at times. The only person he really talks to about a lot of the things on his mind is Blue. Blue started off as Simon’s friend but the two become so much more the more they talk. Simon reveals a lot more about who he is in emails to Blue than he shares with his friends and family while hiding part of himself from them. Coming out as gay seems like a big deal to Simon, and it is, and he doesn’t want to face it yet.
The struggle Simon goes through, trying to keep his life together while being blackmailed by Martin and later after what Martin does is admirable. He bears a lot of weight but doesn’t let anyone try and help him manage it. Instead he simply does the best he can and tries his best to pick up the pieces afterward when things go wrong. He keeps his head up, even at his lowest he keeps going and I loved that about him. No matter what happened he had his family and friends and Blue supporting him the whole way.
Blue was literally my favourite character, even though we mostly saw him through his emails. He was so sweet and almost shy in his conversations with Simon but he wasn’t afraid to share his feelings. Like Simon Blue struggles with coming out to his parents and in their conversations the two help and support one another as they overcome that obstacle. It is mainly their emails that prompt them both to broach the subject with their parents. Blue is the one reluctant to meet Simon face to face or exchange numbers; part of him fears their relationship will be different if they meet in real life which makes sense when it is revealed who Blue actually is.
Did anyone guess who Blue was before it was revealed?
The relationship between Blue and Simon was so sweet I was practically in a sugar coma by the end of this book. However there are other relationships explored in Simon Vs. Simon with his friends and family, Blue’s relationship with his parents which we read about in his emails, and all those relationships play such a huge part in this book as Simon struggles with coming out to the people closest to him.
Simon’s high school could be anyone’s anywhere. The thing that really set this book apart for me was Simon’s struggle with his sexual identity and the fear he felt telling his family and friends about being gay. I loved the conversations both Simon and Blue had through their emails with one another about coming out because it felt so real for two people in high school struggling with telling the people they loved the truth about who they really are. It’s still common to hear stories about parents disowning their children for being gay so Simon’s and Blue’s fears were not completely unfounded. The whole coming-out part of this book was a major aspect of the story, and such a big thing for Simon and Blue, but it was very well written and handled by the author.
I adored this book. I couldn’t stop reading but I didn’t want it to end. The last few chapters were so sweet I wanted them to last forever; and after everything both Simon and Blue, and me reading their story, had been through I needed those end chapters. I would highly recommend this book, even if you’re not a fan of YA contemporary books this is a great one to start off with.
What did you think of Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.