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

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda   by Becky Albertalli cover

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda  
by Becky Albertalli
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | Indiebound
Series: Would that it were
Published: April 7th 2015
Rating: 100 Oreos with milk
Recommended by: Gillian from Writer of Wrongs

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is the story of sixteen-year-old Simon who is on the edge of coming out but finds himself being blackmailed over his emailing of an unknown boy who he has feelings for.  I just… I mean… You guys… This book. It is sweet, adorable while managing to remain sharp. 

I genuinely love Simon. And not in a normal love for a book character way. No, I love him as if he was a real person.  Much like Marissa in What Can(t) Wait I want to know what his future holds and be reassured by Facebook posts.  I loved that he sometimes struggled to put himself in another’s place and knew that he needed to listen more and be more sensitive. I loved that his avoidance of drama sometimes caused it.   He is a sixteen-year-old boy and this is realistic. 

The supporting cast was amazing.  Every single one of them.  Becky Albertallimanaged one of my favorite things.  She made all the characters of Simons book seems as if they were in a book of their own at the same time.  They all managed to have a character arch and depth.  I loved that he was close with his family.  Parent erasure in YA is one of my biggest pet peeves.  The different relationships that he had with each of his sisters were very well done.  Relationships, even positive ones, aren’t all the same.  Different people bring out different sides of us.

Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.

It is impossible to talk about this book and not discuss Simon being gay.  What I found particularly lovely about this book was Becky Albertalli allowed Simon to be both gay and happy.  Being gay is not a tragedy that is going to ruin his life. You have probably seen that whole campaign “It gets better.”  Which is immensely important because middle and high school sucks and sucks especially for anyone who is an outlier.  In Simon’s story, we see that not only will things get better but that you should be able to expect things to be okay NOW.  

This is a romance and I 100% shipped it. Blue was so grounded and sensible and it just felt that he balanced out Simon’s exuberance and impulsivity.  I loved their emails. I am a sucker for an epistolary romance. I completely understood why they feel for one another.  

This is my second time reading it.  This time I listened to the audiobook which is read by Michael Crouch. I enjoyed his performance.  He was quite believable as Simon and I got the same feels while listening to this book as I did the first time reading it.

I really liked the writing style.  I am not usually attracted to the descriptors of “adorable” and “heartwarming”. I don’t avoid it but I am not instantly drawn to it the way I am with angst (I am a so easy). But I smiled all through this book and even thinking about and writing about it now I am smiling.  There are worse things to recommend in a book than a perma-smile. If you have somehow overlooked this gem or were just thinking of a reread I highly recommend it.


From Goodreads:

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.