Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Genre: YA, contemporary
Published on April 7, 2015
Published by Balzer + Bray
Pages: 303
Read From: 08.01.15 - 08.02.15

Sixteen-year-old and no-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.


Dear Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,

I knew from the start that you were going to be a difficult one to review. You aren't my typical book, but you were getting a lot of buzz in the YA book community, and I figured I should read you. To see what it was all about. I'm glad I did, Simon - you were quick and interesting. But, the bottom line is, you're just not for me.

Poor Simon Spier is having one heck of a junior year. He's gay, but he hasn't exactly told anyone yet - not even his family or his best friends. The only person who knows is Blue, another teenage boy he's been emailing, and someone who goes to his high school. But Simon doesn't know Blue's reason identity, and Blue doesn't know Simon's; they want to keep it that way. However, it all changes when school clown Martin gets ahold of the emails and threatens to publish them on the high school's Tumblr page if Simon doesn't play wingman for Martin with a new girl at school. Simon isn't ready for the world to know his secret yet - and he's terrified of losing Blue, who is probably the best thing that has ever happened to him.

While you weren't my type of book, Simon, I could recognize the appeal you would have for an audience who would appreciate you. Your writing was very simplistic, but it painted a very clear picture of Simon's personality. I really enjoyed his unique narration voice. All of your characters were very believable, fully realized personalities and there was a lot of heart and warmth filling the entire story. Because you were such a hyped book, I really expected you to be preachy and over the top about everything. So I was surprised to find that for the most part, you weren't.

Nevertheless, I was faced with the predicament of reading a book that will most definitely have high appeal for its intended audience, but just didn't hit much of a chord with me. How does one rate such a book? I can only hope people read this review to understand my reason behind the rating. Coming from personal enjoyment, you didn't do much for me. But for people who do like stories like this, it is most definitely a five-strawberry read. It's funny and heartfelt and totally fleshed out.

Feeling hum-dum,
~ Mara A. ~

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