People really are like houses with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.
Book: Simon vs. The Homo Sapien’s Agneda
Author: Becky Alberalli
Published April 7th 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Plot: (from Goodreads) 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 Thoughts: Okay, this book is a little out of my wheelhouse. I guess that’s not strictly true… I read lots of contemporary YA novels, but this IS the first LGBTQ+ book I’ve ever read. It’s not that I have anything against them, these books just haven’t caught my interest before this (okay, MAYBE the movie commercials had some influence). And it really took me a while to get into this book, but once I did, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
I’m tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, and every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.
What I Liked:
- So many feels. This book was full of the wonderful (or not so wonderful) feelings that I think we all experience in high school. From self-image to friendships this book brings back each emotion I thought I’d grown out of.
- The humor. OH, I LOVED all the one-liners this book had to offer. All these little things that you have to pay attention to catch. I’m sure I missed a bunch of them, but what I caught was still amazing.
- The story. No matter how much you offered to pay me, I would NEVER go back to high school. The drama, the awkward dressing, the bullying. This story made it come alive around me again, the excitement of football games, drama club, the friendships you believe will never end. And it was amazing. The story really came to life around Simon, bringing back the feelings high school brought to me.
- The writing. I felt like I was right there with Simon as he went through this awkward stage. Experiencing all the dread, anxiety, and joy like he did. And it was GLORIOUS. Becky Albertalli did a wonderful job with the writing of this book and I can see why it became SO popular.
What I Didn’t Like:
- It was a slow beginning for me. If you loved it cover-to-cover, don’t be offended, but it just took me awhile to CARE about the characters. I brought it along on THREE road trips (equalling more than 54 hours in the car) and I still could not get into it. But when it finally picked up, I couldn’t put it down.
***This one is neither a like or a dislike — I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, but the perspective of the book. It was unique in that it went back and forth between emails, but it was also written as a steady stream of consciousness. Not good, not bad, just different.***
Growing up is hard, no matter who you are, but, being a straight, white woman, I think I had it pretty easy. There are lots of things I can’t understand because I have not ever needed to experience them, nor will I ever experience them. But isn’t that the point of reading? To step into someone else’s shoes for a while. To understand what they are going through. To see the world from a perspective you may never have experienced otherwise. I loved this book for that. For showing me a different perspective.
Overall, I really loved this book. I give it 4 stars because it was beautifully written and, like every good book, it transferred me to a world I’ve never been in before. It took me a while to get into the story, but once I was I was all in. I would recommend this book to lovers of contemporary fiction, YA, and coming-of-age stories. This was a really great book and I think everyone should read it for the experience of understanding a different perspective.
The way I feel about him is like a heartbeat – soft and persistent, underlying everything.
Let’s talk! Have you read this book? What did you think? Would you rank it the same as I did or differently?