Friday, July 21, 2017

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Angenda by Becky Albertalli

Summary 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.
I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get to this book. I’m so glad I picked up the author’s newer book on my trip to England and read it relatively right away. Otherwise, who knows how long it would have been before I discovered this greatness? And greatness is what this is.
I knew I would love the writing style because I adored it in the Upside of Unrequited. I was right. I loved the writing style. Though, it was a full 180 degree difference from the other book. The voice was just so, so very different. It was just as honest, believable, and fantastic. It’s just that Simon is so different from Molly. And I wasn’t expecting it to be this different.
I also didn’t exactly fall in love with this book until the second half. I fell in love with Simon immediately. I loved his romantic sarcasm. I loved his honesty. I loved his relationship with his family. I loved his grammatically correct emails. I loved his love of theater and his loyalty to his friends. I just loved him. The whole blackmailing thing wasn’t exactly my favorite plot arc. In fact, I kinda hated it. And I hated all the times Simon almost became friends with Marty.
That being said, I was emotionally destroyed about half way through, like heaving sobs of despair and jaw-dropping astonishment -destroyed. And then I fell in love with the story. I could not believe what had happened. I thought I knew the direction the story was going, and I was wrong. It all got turned upside down, and that’s I guess when I became obsessed. I finished the book in 2 sittings. And I fell in love with Simon even more. He’s so strong, resilient, and loveable, I can understand why his friends can never stay mad at him.
This book is also just so smart, relevant, and powerful. It’s a coming out story, but more than that, it’s a growing up story. Or as Simon so eloquently puts it, “Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn't be this big awkward thing whether you're straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I'm just saying.” He later explains too that, “But I'm tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. I get a girlfriend. I have a beer. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.”
This is a book about changing and learning about who you are, and what you can take and what you can’t. My favorite moment is one I don’t think I should quote because it would spoil a lot, but it involves Simon confronting the guy who’s blackmailing him. He stands up to him and really lets him know what exactly it is he’s doing. And I found myself saying out loud, “That’s right!”
This is a coming out story we haven’t exactly had yet. It’s a growing up story and a friendship story, and a falling in love story too. The writing is awesome. The wit and intelligence behind Simon and “Blue,” is just right. The characters were real. The story was heartbreaking and honest. I loved this book. I give it a 10/10.

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