I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting myself into when I began reading Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Honestly, I didn’t really know much about it when I bought it. But, one of my book buddies had recommended it, so I went out and found a copy, adding it to my ever-increasing “to-be-read” list.
I’m normally not one for contemporary YA romances, but I took a chance on this book, and I’m glad I did! The story was entertaining, sweet, and surprisingly uplifting for a book that begins with blackmail.
The book follows Simon, a not-quite-out gay teenager as he navigates the perks and perils of teenage life. While dealing with the shifting dynamics of his relationships with his friends and family, Simon must also juggle extracurricular activities (e.g., the school play), an online “friendship” with a guy whose identity is unknown to Simon, and a blackmailer (who knows Simon’s secret). Reading this story was a roller-coaster of emotions, and Simon’s coming-of-age story is one that I won’t soon forget!
Albertalli did a wonderful job crafting a complex, relatable main character, and I appreciate that Simon is equally as flawed as he is lovable. Simon’s not-so-perfect friends and family were just as well-written. And a special shout-out for supportive, competent adult characters…something that often seems lacking in YA novels!
On top of a delightful cast, the dialogue flowed effortlessly, and the story offered a genuine portrayal of young love in today’s society. And, what I liked most about this novel was the way it made me think about my definition of “normal” and how that can affect my view of the world. I wasn’t expecting to face such a harsh truth while reading this novel, but Albertalli wrapped it up in the warm, fuzzy blanket that is Simon’s budding romance with Blue, softening the delivery. It was less of a slap in the face and more of a firm nudge in the right direction.
While this wasn’t the most riveting story I’ve read this year, I did quite enjoy the novel, and I took away more than I thought I would. Overall, I would definitely recommend it to others!
4 out of 5 flowers!