Hello humans! Am I the latest book blogger to have ever reviewed Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda? Quite possibly. But nonetheless, I finally got round to reading this book just before seeing the film (I’m a stickler for reading before viewing, with the exception of Tolkien) and I wanted to share a little mini-review with you all.
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 think this is such a lovely romance, I am not the first to say it nor will I be the last but having queer love stories that don’t end in death and despair is so lovely, and to have those stories go on to be so popular and made into mainstream films is even more powerful.
I liked the characters, I thought that Simon, in particular, was interesting to read, his internal monologue is almost as rambling as my own. I think that a little more interaction with non-anonymous characters would have made me like this book even more, but I suspect there’s some of that in Leah on the Offbeat so I shall hold my tongue.
I think this story does play into the ‘the only way to be cool as a teen now is to like obscure music that other people don’t and to be quirky and unique’ which I can appreciate is true of young adults at the moment but is just at the cusp of becoming a total cliché in its own right. This story manages to walk the line well and neither Simon or his friends become insufferable at any point but there were times when I was a little worried.
I think this is a fun story, I think it is a gorgeous addition to YA shelves and that it is paving the way for a lot of other stories. I was at a lecture by VE Schwab earlier this year and she was talking about how in order to have LGBTQIA+ characters who fit into our ordinary lives we first have to have enough LGBTQIA+ characters in our stories, to begin with. Simon isn’t changing the entire world, he’s just changing his own in quite an ordinary way, and in itself, that is quite a powerful message to send.
My rating: 4/5 stars
All opinions are my own.
What say you? Which LGBTQIA+ characters are your favourites? Let me know in the comments below!