Saturday, February 3, 2018

BOOK REVIEW | Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Series? No, but there are books about other characters in here!
Pages: 303
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: I checked out the hardcover edition at my local library!
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.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is Becky Albertalli's debut novel, and it is really popular in the YA community! I've been recommended this so many times, and after the first trailer of the movie dropped, I was convinced! I put in my request, waited for about a month to get the book from my local library, and consumed it! Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is deserving of all its praise!
If you don't know what Simon vs. is about, the book's titular character, Simon, is a closeted gay teenager who has a pen pal. His pen pal, Blue, also goes to his school and is also in the closet. The story opens with Simon being blackmailed by Martin after Martins sees his email to Blue. In order to protect both of their secrets, Martin enlists Simon's help to impress Abby, one of Simon's close friends. What unravels is a heartwarming first love story as well as an intimate look into a gay teen's high school experience. 

If you didn't know, I graduated high school last year, so I still have a pretty good grasp on the going-ons! Simon is part of theater, and though I was never a theater person, I thought Albertalli hit the nail on the head with theater kids. In my non-professional opinion, theater kids had pretty big egos, but seemed to put on a facade so no one would really get to know them. There were definitely some side characters that fit this bill perfectly and transported me right back to my school (which, funnily enough, is now demolished!). 

The blackmail is what really starts the book, and I was glad that it didn't take a while for the plot to kick off. There wasn't a slow moment for me; I was always compelled to read this, and putting the book down was difficult! There was always something happening, which was great for me! I tend to get bored in contemporaries around the second act where I'm just waiting for the climax to happen. The fast pace, as well as the characters, kept me interested the whole time.

One thing I absolutely loved were the friendships! I loved the dynamic among Simon's group of friends. Though my group of friends wasn't exactly like Simon's, I did relate to them! I loved the scene when they all went to a party together, or when only a part of the group hung out together. I've been there before, and thought that Albertalli did a wonderful job depicting the ins-and-outs of high school friendships.

Each and every character is fleshed out as well. Albertalli's other books are all interconnected, and I cannot wait to read her other stuff and see Simon again. :) Like I said, the book is fast-paced, but it doesn't compromise any of the characters' depth. Albertalli was wonderful at making her characters seem like actual humans and not just ideas on a page.
And last, but definitely not least, was the romance!! The whole entire book, I was trying to find out who Blue was, just like Simon. I eventually guessed it correctly, and it was just adorable. Albertalli inserts their emails before each chapter, and they were so adorable! They are so sweet together, and I adore the scene when they finally meet. Albertalli made sure to show that the problem with their relationship was that Simon was being blackmailed and neither of them were ready to come out yet, not that they were gay. There is a ton of positivity here, and I think it's an important book for gay teens, who  don't have a lot of books that are representative of their life. Being gay is completely normal, and not something to be ashamed about, and Albertalli makes sure to state that. 

In a genre filled with straight white protagonists, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a refreshing take on the YA contemporary novel we've read hundreds of times. I am so happy that this book is so popular, and that it is being adapted into a film! The trailers look amazing, and it's great to see a LGBTQ+ book get so much love!!! I'll be watching the film when it releases (which is March 16, 2018!). :)

With that,  I give this book  
4.5 out of 5 Stars!

 P.S- This book will have you craving Oreos!! Simon loves Oreos, and let me tell you, it was so hard not to go to my local market and get some after. :)


  1. Terrific review! I NEED to read this ASAP. I want to read it and see the movie so bad. I've heard so many good things about it and I'm glad you enjoyed it also! :)

    1. Thank you Erin!! The hype is all well-deserved, which was a happy surprise!

  2. Great review, Genni! I absolutely love this novel and the movie looks like it's going to be fantastic. :)

    1. Thank you Lauren! I was a bit hesitant when I saw the cast and who was going to be playing Simon, but the trailers won me over!

  3. I'm so excited to read this! I wanted to read it before I saw the movie anyway, but coincidentally, one of the classes I'm taking in uni is a perspectives of popular texts class (for my English minor) and we're reading this book in a couple of weeks! I've heard such great things (and I'm also an Oreo lover and I'm actually eating some red velvet ones right now!) so I'm crossing my fingers that I love it as much as everyone else has! Lovely review, Genni!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. I LOVE it when English or Film classes coincide with your interests!! I have a couple classes like that as well this semester. :) I have a confession....I have never tried Red Velvet Oreos! I know, the outrage!

      Thanks os much Laura. :) Have a great week!

  4. I STILL haven't read this yet, but I've wanted to for ages. It sounds like such a good book - I think I'm bumping it up on my TBR list! Also, I have Oreos at home, so maybe it's a good time to read it!

    1. Yes, it's a perfect time! Make sure to have some Oreos handy when you read it! I hope you like it Kelly. :)

  5. This book is definitely on my TBR pile and I'm not entirely sure why I haven't picked it up yet! THe hype is very strong with this one... Plus there's the fact that I don't often read contemporaries.... But I still really want to give this one a try since there are so many wonderful bloggers like yourself recommending it so highly!

    1. Oh yeah, the hype is super strong! Normally I tend to shy away from really hyped books because I end up being disappointed, but it wasn't the case with this one! I normally read fantasy now, so it was nice to get back into a contemporary! I hope you love it Di. :D