Title: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
“The way I feel about him is like a heartbeat — soft and persistent, underlying everything.”
I’ve been trying to read more LGBTQ+ fiction at the moment, and I have been meaning to pick this book up for a while, so it was about time I just read it! Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is a YA novel which follows the story of Simon Spier, a closeted 16-year-old who starts to talk to Blue – a kid who anonymously reveals his sexuality on the school Tumblr. But when an email conversation between them is screenshot by Martin, a dweeby kid who fancies one of Simon’s friends, Simon has no choice but to be blackmailed into helping Martin talk to Abby. Simon is terrified that Martin will reveal his identity – and sexuality – to the whole school, but more importantly, he’s scared that in doing so, it will ruin his friendship with Blue, the only person he feels like he can be himself with.
I am a sucker for a good romance, and what I loved about this book, is that it throws you right into the middle of it. As Simon and Blue get to know each other, their barriers start to come down, and the two have a clear and palpable connection. I love any slushy declarations of love, or little descriptions which show how much one person means to another, and I’m so glad this book delivered on that!
What’s great about this book is that, much like a whodunnit murder mystery, I was just dying to know who Blue was, so I was so eager to find out, which made me race through the entire thing in fewer than two days. The way Simon and Blue emailed each other was just delightful, and, I won’t spoil anything, but let’s just say, when I was reading the scene on the carousel, my heart was beating extremely fast.
Simon himself is a great character, and one that felt very realistic; he is flawed and throughout we see him make some bad choices, but also try very hard to atone for them. He always had other peoples’ interests at heart, and to be honest, if he were real, you be a monster if you didn’t like him.
I did have some issues with how Simon’s friends reacted throughout the novel; Simon has some pretty big moments in this book, and I do feel that his feelings are somewhat dismissed in favour of his friends’. Unfortunately it kind of feels indicative of Albertalli’s opinion, as in the sequel, Leah on the Offbeat, there are some questionable character opinions in that too (read Jaz’s blog post here if you want to know more!)
Overall this book just made my heart happy. I loved Simon, I loved Blue, and I just adored being with them throughout the book. It doesn’t take much for me to enjoy romance, but it does take a really good book for me to enjoy contemporary YA, and this one reminded me how much I love love and I’m very glad I finally read it!