Book Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda by Becky Albertalli (5/5)

30 Apr

I put off reading this book for FAR too long. I knew about it, knew it was well reviewed and knew about the movie and the hit that it was. But I kept putting it off! I feel like I have to apologize to the book for this. I could have been telling other people to read it well before now and I wasn’t. I’ll always have that on my heart. Sigh.

Cover image via Goodreads

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Summary 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.

I just adored this book. Loved it. The dialogue was my favorite part. It sounded very natural and reminded me vividly of being in high school. Albertalli nailed the sarcasm and discomfort of being a teenager and now knowing who you are. I adored it. I envied it, even. It was brilliant.

The characters were spot on and I loved it. Leah’s anger at being left out, Nick’s obsession with playing his guitar and girls obsession with Nick playing guitar was spot on. I really adored Simon’s relationship with his older sister, Alice. I thought it was really realistic how they changed when she moved away, but how much they still loved each other. It reminded me of when I left for college and how my relationship with my brother has never been the same. Everything about these characters enchanted me. It was great.

Abbey ended up being one of my favorite characters. And as much as I liked her, I saw why Leah disliked her and I think that made her more real to me. Not everyone is infinitely likable. I liked that she did sports and drama and was a real friend. I understood why Martin liked her and why Nick did. And I understood why Simon opened up to her. It was a nice touch having a character who was new to school and I liked the dimension she added to the story.

Simon was so easy to relate to. While I didn’t have to come out as gay in high school, I still felt like I had to hide part of who I was and I think most high school students feel the same way. You hide who you have a crush on or things you enjoy or what you do outside of school, anything that you fear may make you ‘uncool’ or your friends doubt you. It’s not always something as big as sexuality, but his struggle is universal to growing up.

Becky Albertalli
Image via Atlanta Magazine

I loved the emails back and forth with Blue. The flirting was adorable and I blushed at it constantly. I remember flirting over AIM and texts so it gave me flashbacks. I was sad when Blue stopped emailing back, though he had very valid reasons. It was a really sweet way for them to grow their romance and I had a blast guessing who Blue was. For the record, he dropped a really major hint that I picked up on and I TOTALLY got it right. Win.

I thought the talent show was really anti-climactic. It resolved the sibling’s plotline a bit, but not really for me. It just felt like a little too much and a weak excuse to get Simon’s parents out of the house for a bit. I think something else could have been used to keep that complication out of the plot.

My audiobook was narrated by Michael Crouch. He was absolutely amazing and I adored him. He read with the right amount of teenage angst to be authentic without being trying. He nailed Simon’s voice and those of his friends and family. It was the kind of performance that would make me seek out other narrations he’s done.

Simon is rightly scared to be open about his sexuality. When he is, he’s mocked and people say and do hurtful things. But his friends and family don’t. They love him and support him and fight for him. What I got from this book is that we have a right to be scared of things that could hurt us. But we will also be supported by our friends and family when we are scared and it will all be OK in the end.

Writer’s Takeaway: The dialogue here was just amazing. I can’t say enough good things about Albertalli’s insight into the teenage mind. It honestly made me doubt my own writing and that it’s any good. I worry that I don’t remember what it’s like to be a teenager as well as other writers do so maybe my writing for them will be irrelevant. It’s always good when a book is so great it makes you doubt your own writing, right?

This book blew me away and I adored it. Five out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (SPOILER FREE) | Sid’s Take On Books
Book Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli | Udayology
Review: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli | Let the Pages Reign

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10 Responses to “Book Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda by Becky Albertalli (5/5)”

  1. L.M. Durand April 30, 2019 at 11:15 AM #

    I loved that book so much! Glad to see you enjoyed it too!

    Like

    • Sam April 30, 2019 at 11:52 AM #

      Thank you. I was able to watch the movie, too, and hope to review it soon. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Meeghan reads May 1, 2019 at 5:05 AM #

    I’m so so so glad you LOVED this!! 💕

    Like

    • Sam May 1, 2019 at 5:13 AM #

      100%. Great story and amazing writing. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Meeghan reads May 1, 2019 at 5:21 AM #

        I hope you read The Upside of Unrequited soon. It’s my fave of Albertalli’s books 💕

        Like

      • Sam May 1, 2019 at 5:27 AM #

        Sounds like a good one then!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Joe Harris May 1, 2019 at 3:09 PM #

    I’m so glad that you loved this book! I thought it was absolutely amazing and made a real impact on me with its realism. Reading your review has made me realise that I might have to pick this book up again and read it!

    Like

    • Sam May 1, 2019 at 6:28 PM #

      I’m so glad! I think it’s worth a reread even if you know who Blue is. Happy reading!

      Like

  4. Aymee May 3, 2019 at 1:01 PM #

    I have this sitting on my Kindle and haven’t read it yet either. No good reason either, honestly.

    Like

    • Sam May 6, 2019 at 1:39 PM #

      I hope you can grab it soon, it was a real winner to me. Happy reading!

      Like

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