{Book Review} Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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I read this book after a friend recommended it to me and I loved every second of it. It’s not very often that you discover a writer whose books manage to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside without being overtly cheesy. This book manages to do just that without stuffing clichés down your throat the entire time. It makes me so happy to see more diverse books being written and published today, because there are so many groups that are extremely underrepresented in literature. Considering the fact that I read mainly classics and books written by American or Anglo-European authors and the fact that I am Lebanese, I can relate to the argument that modern literature is not nearly as diverse as it should be.

The issue of diversity in books has been a hot topic for quite a while and yet it is not only relevant to the issue of sexuality, but also to that of race, ethnicity, and many other issues of identity. The beauty of this book is that it takes a fresh approach to the topic of sexuality and doesn’t make it sound like a lecture from an “internet activist” (i.e. someone behind a screen who feels the overwhelming need to preach or shout their opinions at people), but makes it a sweet story of love and friendship. Diversity is by definition the tolerance of differences, be they ethnic, racial, sexual, social, what have you. That being said, here is the review of this lovely book.

Spoiler-free Summary:

Simon Spier is a gay sixteen year old high school student with a love of Oreos and music. His personal business is at risk of becoming everyone’s business when his emails with an anonymous online pen pal falls into the wrong hands and he is blackmailed by a classmate in exchange for helping him get a girl he likes. Simon must then balance his wingman duties so that he can protect his privacy and his anonymous friend, but since it’s high school where nothing is ever simple, things go awry and Simon is forced to deal with a complicated mess of friendship, love, and blackmail without compromising himself, losing his friends, and missing out on his shot at love.

What I Liked:

  • The Characters: Not only are the characters lovable and interesting, they are also very well developed. The “villain” is layered enough to make the reader have second thoughts about hating him outright (I still hate him, though, that jerk) and even the anonymous friend’s personality comes out in the writing.
  • The story: Everyone has had a crush at some point in their lives and it’s adorable to see the development of the main relationship in this story as it grows from a simple chat exchange to a full-blown love story. Also, the way Albertalli creates that air of mystery around the anonymous crush and builds suspense around his identity makes for a very captivating read.

 

What I Disliked:

  • The bad guy: I just can’t feel sorry for him. No. He is a jerk. But I guess that makes him a very well written bad guy!

Verdict:

4.5 s – Because I’m a sucker for a good love story and the suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book definitely made this book a great read.

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