Thursday, February 18, 2016

Review: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Title: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda            
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publication: April 7th 2015, Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover, 303 pages             
Source: Gifted (Thanks soooooo much, Alia of Ponderings of Psyche)                       
Buy it on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | The Book Depository | Kobo | National Bookstore / Fully Booked (PH)


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.


Okay, I just had a glass of milk and ate half a packet of double stuff Oreos so let's do this! I've been meaning to write a review for this book for a while but can't find the proper words but because of the Oreo energy, I think I'm ready. This book blew me away.

Simon VS. The Homo Sapiens Agenda tells the story of Simon Spier who happens to be gay but can't tell anyone...or more like he doesn't know how. He only gets to tell his "email-friend" who goes by the name "Blue" and he ends up telling Blue all his frustrations. Until Martin Addison discovers his emails and threats to spread his true identity if he doesn't help him with Abby. And so, Simon's life is a little topsy-turvy from this point.

This book. How do I even start defining it? This was the actual struggle that I had a few days ago after finishing it. Like, what are the proper words? I think I'll just go and gush about I always do anyway. This book is too adorable for all your feels. 

The characters are what really lit this book up in flames and I mean in a really good way. There were so many layers, so many conflicts and dimensions to them and oddly, none of them got left out for me. Some novels tend to forget side characters and even the main supporting characters from time to time. But everyone seemed to have a proper role and weren't used as just props in there. 

I loved Abby sooo much! I can relate to her in a way. Not in a "I'm pretty and I'm your friend, I smell like French toast kind of way" which by the way seems so delicious, I wanna smell like French toast too. More like, I've had plenty of friends come out to me and say it's easier for them to tell me they are than with any other person. *pats back* but at the same time, Abby is a real person. She's not just a pretty girl and she doesn't look at herself like just that. Nick and Leah are such amazing friends and I think I left pretty much smitten with Nick because he's adorkable. Leah annoyed the heck out of me at times but she is an amazing friend. Definitely tells the truth about friendships though. Friends have fun and friends fight. Martin was a character you don't know what to feel about. He'll hurt you but he does something that's unexpected and again, you don't know what to feel. Martin, for me is an intriguing character that would be lovely to dissect.

Simon is simply the best! His mind is a wondrous place and it seems like a wonderful place to get lost in. And he's sweet, adorable and like many teenagers, misunderstood and scared. I was in a rollercoaster of emotion while reading Simon's frustrations about coming out and the stigma that he's playing around in his head. The line, "There should be no default" struck me and I said to myself, "Yes." Everyone deserves to be who they are and not be grounded into a fixed image by others. I also liked the moments where he was a bit crass too and interacted with his friends. Simon is the friend I wish I truly had. Someone who understands my quirks and gets along with everyone. I want him to be my best friend and I can divulge everything to him and I can lay my head on his shoulders. Oh, Simon.

The romance in this novel is insane and not in an awful way. It's absolutely perfect. It lingers, it keeps you up and it makes you smile till your cheeks and jaw hurt it's amazing. I love the dynamic that Simon and Blue have. It's serious but it's also lax and easy to follow through. They are sickly adorable and very much present with each other. The small gestures and even if it is in email, was ridiculously cute, I wanted to rip someone's face apart. And I had a pretty good guess of who Blue was after getting all the clues from the emails. I think I was pretty sharp then but there was also quite the twist nearer the end which kind of made me think about everything for a while. As for Blue's character, what I could say is, he's pretty amazing. Just read it.

Becky Albertalli's debut novel is written with such honesty and in many cases, strays away from being typical by exuding simplicity and elegance in its own contemporary refreshing way. Does that make any sense? 

She tackles the issue of coming out and uplifting the gay spirit in a treatment that doesn't feel intoxicating. Like, that's how you come out to a friend. It does deal with some harsh themes such as bullying and blackmail. A few scenes were very intense. I remember with some vividness how Taylor defended Simon and how the issue of his coming out has affected the dynamic in the school. One's coming out should definitely be a big least to the person and who he or she chooses to tell that to. With Simon's sexual orientation being spread without his consent, it's like getting into someone's business and furthering that is disgraceful, and that's why this particular moment in Simon's life was very heavy for my heart. 

What I loved most was that Becky made Simon a relentless character. He's strong in his own way. Of course he's scared too but there's so much to Simon's character that you forget that he has his inhibitions. Also, how his family handles the situation was remarkable too. I think parents should be more interested in their children's problems, aware of what they are going through and many more. Simon's parents try and pretty much got there. I love them.

I'm sorry that I can't stop talking about this book. It made me laugh so hard, I almost fell off my bed. It made me cry so much, I wanted to forgive anyone who has hurt me (this is still debatable btw). 

Simon VS. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is the kind of book you read to make yourself aware and feel better about yourself. Being your true self is beautiful. The people you love will love you even more.

Simon VS. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is a book y'all need in your life and I dunno why it took me so long to read it. It's a gift from the heavens above and should be put in a treasure chest and be taken out once in a while and admired...or put in a glass case. Whatever works for you. LOL. It's a fantastic, uplifting, and real novel. It's a novel for the generation.

About The Author:

Becky Albertalli is a clinical psychologist who has had the privilege of conducting therapy with dozens of smart, weird, irresistible teenagers. She also served for seven years as co-leader of a support group for gender nonconforming children in Washington, DC. She now lives with her family in Atlanta. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is her first novel.

FIND BECKY: Website | TwitterGoodreads | Instagram

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