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I’m a sucker for YA novels, and I’m an even bigger sucker for YA novels being turned into movies, so naturally Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli was high on my list of priorities to read. I avoid reading book reviews before reading a novel, but I usually have an idea of what the book is about before I dive in. It wasn’t the case with Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I went in with a blank slate and came out with a smile. Too cheesy? Well, that’s a direct reflection of the cheesy adorable-ness that happens in this novel.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is, of course, about a teenager named Simon who is gay, but not yet out of the closet. He has an unofficial boyfriend that he met online named Blue, and they’ve been emailing back and forth for an extended period of time. At some point before the novel begins, they realize that they go to the same school, but neither of them are openly gay, and they choose to keep their identities a secret, instead getting to know each other on a deeper level behind their computer screens.
The kicker? Simon accidentally leaves his computer screen open, and classmate and fellow lover of drama (the theater kind, not the gossip kind), Martin, discovers it and starts blackmailing Simon into getting his friend, Amy, to go out with him. So now Simon is stuck between a rock and hard place, having to decide between selling out his friend, Amy, to keep his sexual identity a secret or becoming openly gay and having his relationship step off of the computer screen.
This was such an easy read, and I devoured it within a couple of days. It has everything you want in a YA novel, but what I love about this is that the main character isn’t necessarily woe-is-me. Yes, he is struggling with his sexual identity and is worried about the truth coming to light, but he doesn’t always sit around and pity himself in the way that other main characters in some YA novels do. He is known around the school. He’s witty and funny. He is overall well-liked. He’s not one of the popular kids, but he’s also not a recluse. That’s what I like about Simon – his character is believable, and that instantly made me want to be on his side and root for him throughout the book.
Even though this is an LGBT novel, it’s relatable to anyone. It’s not just about coming out, it’s about the fear of falling in love with a person who may not love you back, struggling with who you are and the person people expect you to be and so, so much more.
There are quite a few characters to keep up with (I kept getting Simon’s two best girlfriends confused), but every character is relevant to the story, and the whole time you’re trying to guess and figure out the true identity of Blue.
I give Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda 4 out of 5 stars. The main character is relatable, the story line is the perfect balance of cute and complicated, and Simon is someone that you want to cheer for in the end. As always, I’m both nervous and excited about the movie version. It’s entitled Love, Simon, and it hits theaters this March!
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