Review | Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

A warm, witty take on sexuality, the difficulties of high school and growing up. 4/5 stars.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli book cover

What it’s about: 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.

My take:

I read the last 30-40 pages with a smile plastered across my face. This is very good.

The titular Simon is our first person narrator and I warmed to him pretty much instantly. He makes a few dubious decisions, but he’s basically a good kid trying to do his best. We root for him and want him to be happy.

The book’s particular world of friends, family and high school reminded me of the film Easy A (the link will take you to the film’s page at the IMDB). If you haven’t seen this movie, I recommend it. Emma Stone is marvellous, as always, and Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson turn in hilarious performances as her parents. Anyway, if you have seen the film, this should give you some idea of tone and atmosphere of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

Emma Stone Easy A for Awesome

A sympathetic narrator, great characters and a central mystery make Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda a touching and entertaining read. I guessed Blue’s identity half way through but it didn’t matter. Mostly because I got to chuckle with glee when I was right – ha!

I recommend this for everyone and particularly those who enjoy contemporary YA.

 Claire Huston / Art and Soul

6 thoughts on “Review | Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

  1. Pingback: WWW Wednesday 28th October 2015 | Art and Soul

  2. Pingback: October Reads + Weekly Wrap Up #9 | I read books.

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