Book Review: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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Book: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Published: 2015

Author: Becky Albertalli ~ A clinical psychologist, Becky Albertalli has worked with many teenagers including a group of gender nonconforming kids for seven years.mShe began writing stories at an early age, most of which were about her pets. She currently lives in Roswell, Georgia with her husband and two sons, where she’s writing about teenagers and reading board books about trucks.

Characters:

  • Simon Spier – A sixteen-year-old Harry Potter fanatic who is dragged out of the closet after a classmate discovers some emails he’s written to a pen-pal who is also gay.
  • Martin – The classmate who’s blackmailing Simon.
  • Blue – The mysterious and elusive pen pal who attends the same high school as Simon.
  • Family – Simon’s parents, his sisters Alice and Nora, and their golden retriever Bieber.
  • Best friends – Nick, Abby, and Leah

 


Plot: Simon has an almost perfect life. He’s a good student, has a wonderful group of friends, and a loving and supportive family (although his parents do embarrass him at times by trying a little too hard to be cool). He even gets along with his sisters although Nora, the youngest, doesn’t quite understand his Harry Potter obsession. Simon is also gay, and while he’s comfortable with his sexuality he hasn’t found the right moment to come out to his family and friends. He’s met Blue online and they’ve been getting closer and closer to each other via the emails they send each other, but haven’t yet met in person. One day Simon mistakenly leaves one of his emails up on a school library’s computer and before he knows it he’s being blackmailed by Martin who wants Simon to set him up with Abby. The rest of the book follows Simon as he deals with Martin, his secret being revealed, and his attempts to discover who Blue really is.

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That Moment In: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Chapter 21) One of my favorite YA debuts of 2015, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is chock-full of funny and touching scenes, but there’s one in particular that I still remember almost four months after reading it. While he’s told Abby his secret, Simon hasn’t told  anyone else. Simon has discovered that Martin, displeased with Simon’s efforts to bring him and Abby together, has “outed” him on Tumblr. And on Christmas of all days. He’s now told his family he’s gay and has received their continuing love and support, and he is ready to tell his friends. It’s the Saturday after Christmas and Simon is steeling himself for school on Monday. While his friends have tactfully refrained from saying anything, he knows they’ve all seen the Tumblr post. Simon, Leah, Nick and Abby are eating pizza and watching tv, when Leah mentions that they’ve taken down the post. Simon knows this is the right moment to tell his friends.

“I know what you’re not asking me,” I say finally.
(Leah) She shrugs, smiling slightly.
“I am gay. That part’s true.”
“Okay,” she says.
I realize Nick has stopped humming.
“But I’m not turning this into a big thing tonight, okay? I don’t know. Do you guys want ice cream?” I pull myself up.
“Did you just tell us you’re gay?” asks Nick.
“Yes.”
“Okay,” he says. Abby swats him. “What?”
“He said not to make a big deal out of it,” Nick says. “What am I supposed to say?”
 “Say something supportive. I don’t know. Or awkwardly hold his hand like I did. Anything.”
Nick and I look at each other.
“I’m not holding your hand,” I tell him, smiling a little.
“All right “–he nods–“but know that I would.”

Why It Matters: While this moment is funny, it also illustrates why Simon is so secure in his feelings about himself. He has always been supported by his family and friends. The only reason why he’s delayed in telling them he’s gay is because he’s been looking for the right time. He’s also determined that his sexuality not define him. The nonchalant acceptance by his friends of his homosexuality shows how much they love and value him as a friend. It’s because of his family and friends that Simon is the incredible character that he is. This easily could have turned into one of those old-over-the-top after school specials that used to be on tv. It never does though. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is simply an irresistible story of two teens in love who happen to be gay.

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  1. David November 29, 2015