Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda Book Review

Author: Becky Albertalli

Publisher: Balzer +Bray

Synopsis: 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 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.

Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Trigger Warning for: Homophobia, some sexual content

Pros:

  • Great character development
  • POC representation
  • Very relatable

Cons:

  • Some cringe-worthy “trendy” lines
  • A little predictable

In-Depth Review: Warning: May contain spoilers.

            The novel starts off in the moment that Simon is being blackmailed, which was both refreshing and a little unexpected as most YA stories start with some back story. You then get an in-depth look into Simon’s head, which is an interesting place to be. The beginning of the book is strong, but there was one comment that got under my skin – Simon thinks that it’s easier to be a lesbian than to be gay because at least guys find it hot. While I get the intention of the line and know that this is just the start of Simon’s character development, the line really rubbed me the wrong way.

            Following that instance, however, the story is very progressive. Simon has a way of pointing out a lot of things people do in real life that relate to homophobia like straight people insisting that “it’s okay to be gay” and that “we all still support you” and all those other lines people constantly throw out. The story has a way of addressing the issue of these things in a lighthearted, funny way that’s really nice to see. The story also addresses issues like making homophobic jokes and automatically assuming that people are white unless told otherwise, and I think it’s beautiful that the girl “every guy wants” is black. Very refreshing.

            The whole story is a mystery about trying to figure out who the secret “Blue” really is. I won’t give any spoilers on this, but I had a couple of theories early on that proved to be wrong, though I did manage to figure out who he was before the big reveal.

            Overall the book was a very fun and refreshing read, especially for any LGBT+ people looking for something different from the traditional, “boy struggles with being gay, boy deals with homophobic parents, straights are supportive” etc. etc. I wouldn’t call it the most inventive story ever, but there are definitely some aspects that felt really novel and I’d love to see them implemented some more.

Final Verdict: The synopsis doesn’t do it justice. It’s so much more than just another coming out story.

Favorite Quotes:

““Anyway, I thought it might interest you that my brother is gay.” “Um. Not really.””

 

““I actually think people would be cool about it,” Martin says. “You should be who you are.”

I don’t even know where to begin with that. Some straight kid who barely knows me, advising me on coming out. I kind of have to roll my eyes.”

 

“You can’t imagine how much I hated middle school. Remember the way people would look at you blankly and say, “Um, okaaay,” after you finished talking? Everyone just had to make it so clear that, whatever you were thinking or feeling, you were totally alone. The worst part, of course, was that I did the same thing to other people. It makes me a little nauseated just remembering that.”

 

“Leah once said that she’d rather have people call her fat directly than have to sit there and listen to them talking shit about some other girl’s weight. I actually think I agree with that. Nothing is worse than the secret humiliation of being insulted by proxy.”

 

“It feels like we’re the last survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Wonder Woman and a gay dementor. It doesn’t body well for the survival of the species.”

 

“Being secure in your masculinity isn’t the same as being straight.”

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