Book Review Time: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

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Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda| Becky Albertalli

Book Details

Print Length: 325 pages

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: April 7, 2015

Goodreads 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 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.”Review-2

“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.”

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is a book written with so much heart and genuineness that it is nearly impossible not to appreciate the story unfolding throughout the pages. Albertalli creates wonderfully three-dimensional characters that you can’t help but love…and hate (or strongly dislike, if anything). The strongest aspect of this book has to be its characters.

Simon is a sweet and endearing protagonist who is confident in his sexual orientation but hasn’t quite reached a comfortable point in his life to “come out” to his family or friends, though he makes an exception to his online friend/crush, the mysterious “Blue.”

“He talked about the ocean between people. And how the whole point of everything is to find a shore worth swimming to.”

His online conversations with Blue aren’t just exchanges of humor and romantic notions; they are also meaningful explorations into societal expectations and how these expectations or beliefs impede on the personal growth and flourishing of individuals part of the LGBTQ community as well as for persons who reject the status quo.

As a result of these conversations and the issues presented by Simon’s blackmailer, Martin, and his antagonistic actions, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda acts as a contemplative and insightful piece of YA literature that draws its strength from the characters and the interactions they have with one another, as well as the numerous themes weaved seamlessly throughout the whole ordeal.

The blackmail conflict stirred a raging fire within me and I couldn’t help but despise Martin’s bad behavior as he invades Simon’s privacy and carelessly wields Simon’s personal information as a weapon against him. It was also frustrating reading about characters who didn’t understand Simon’s predicament or those who bullied him for his sexual identity.

“People really are like house with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”

To combat the anger spurred on by Martin’s and other narrow-minded characters’ actions, Albertalli lightens the mood by placing a great emphasis on friendships and family dynamics. Simon’s parents and sisters are very present and supportive of Simon’s situation and identity. They also are very well-rounded characters with distinct personalities and voices. And not only that, his friends are also good people who love Simon and while they experienced quite a bit of drama along the way, their friendship with Simon remained intact and stronger by the end.

There wasn’t much I disliked in this book, to be honest. Blue’s identity was a bit obvious to me midway through, but the mystery held strong up until the end as so many possible candidates’ personalities came to light and made me think once or twice about who Blue truly was. The romance between these two characters is nothing short of adorable.

“The way I feel about him is like a heartbeat — soft and persistent, underlying everything.”

In short, I loved this book. It is a beautifully diverse, well-written story with fully developed characters, humor, and a few serious messages concerning identity, acceptance, family, and so much more.

My Rating:5 stars

23 thoughts on “Book Review Time: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

  1. I am so glad to see you loved this book Azia, I definitely agree with you about the blackmail making me so angry during certain scenes. But there were also times when I almost liked Martin’s character too. I guess that just goes to show how incredible Becky Albertalli is at developing her characters. 🙂
    Also I guessed who Blue was as well, but that’s kind of the fun of books like these, guessing who the mysterious other character is. 😀
    Great review for this book, also have you read The Upside of Unrequited yet? (I can’t remember if you have and I’ve read your review or if you haven’t. Or if you have and haven’t posted your review yet). That’s one still on my to-read list but honestly I know it’s going to be a book I love as much as I did Simon Vs. 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The blackmail element was so infuriating but despite that, there were times that I actually liked Martin, too. Well, mostly before he leaked Simon’s secret. But even so, I mentioned that I hated Martin’s “bad behavior” rather than Martin himself. I feel like he was a pretty decent guy who made some reaaaaallly bad decisions. Becky Albertalli worked her magic on me with him. By the end, I wasn’t sure I even hated Martin. I was just super disappointed in him haha.
      And I haven’t! I really want to, though. I have a feeling I’ll enjoy it almost as much as Simon 😀 ❤ I hope to buy it soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yeah after he leaked Simon’s secret I hated him and I never started to like his character again, but before that there were moments when he was a decent character and I thought maybe his story would go in a different direction you know? 🙂
        I feel like he could have used a little more time in a way. The book ended and it felt like it ended before Martin was fully redeemed.
        It’s one I really want to read as well, and one I hope to get around to soon but I say that about so so many books! 🙂 ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh I thought so, too! I really thought he’d get a moment of redemption towards the end, but nope! But I understand why she did that. It was Simon’s story, not Martin’s, so I guess we can only imagine if Simon forgave him or if Martin somehow made up for his horrid actions. I wonder what element in her other book will make me angry haha. I’m prepared for the feels LOL XD

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It almost felt as if that was being hinted. That it was possible he could have a redemption one day, but that the story was cut off before it got there. Yeah we’d need another book to get Martin’s story, still I’d like to believe he made up for his actions, even if Simon never forgave him that he put the effort in. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I am the only one that did not like this book and all the Blue/Simon/Friends dynamics could be better for my taste and the constant allusion or better said up front propaganda of TV shows and other things annoyed me so much xD haha sorry xD but nice review :3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thanks 🙂 And that’s okay! I’m sure you’re not the only one. I don’t usually like references to pop culture, but this time it kind of worked for me, only because I was so distracted by the characters!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! Simon is a wonderful character 😀 And the book is just so fun and quirky but also really meaningful. The cast for the movie is looking on point, by the way. Can’t wait to see how it turns out! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aww dude what a nice review!! Really well-written and sweet. I keep debating whether or not I should read this book because I don’t really like contemporaries, but your review is making me consider it again :b

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Izzi! 😀 I really would love for you to consider reading it! It’s so sweet and quirky. I’d be curious to read your thoughts on it if you ever do decide to pick it up one day x

      Like

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