Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Debut of the year? Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Everyone and their neighbour have already read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Now I have as well, but did I like it?

As a side note, don’t you think everyone should have to come out? Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it should be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.

My short, unfair and spoiler free synopsis:

Simon is gay. No one knows, except Blue. Blue is also gay, and the two boys have a secret, anonymous email exchange going on. A wonderful friendship is in the making. Only trouble is on the horizon. One day Simon forgets to log out of his email at school and the mistake will soon throw Simon’s world into chaos.

Well let me start by using the phrase “all the feels” for the first time ever, because truly Becky Albertalli writes the most genuine scenes. It was not a sad story, but the parts that were borderline sad, the happy scenes, the angry scenes and every other emotional evoking scene all felt so genuine. By the last part of the book I was a bit frustrated, angry, I laughed, laughed again, cried a few tears, laughed some more and then I cried again. I told my significant other that I would think myself a bit emotional unstable I had observed myself from the outside as he did.

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.

Believeable characters

Simon is a great character. He is not without faults, but he has this admirable ability to look back and reflect upon incidents where he did wrong. I loved that about him. Along with Simon, there are plenty of other well fleshed out characters. Even the ones just doing a guest performance in the story felt like real people. Well done, Becky!

There is a lot of love, caring, support and empathy between these pages, as well as there are a handful of people who contribute to evoke the opposite kind of feelings. Like in the real world, Simon have some encounters with people who are narrow-minded, but he slays them with his bravery (yes, that was just a silly metaphor, this is not a fantasy novel).

My limbs feel really heavy. I kind of want to go home and crawl into bed with my iPod. But the curtains start to open. And I keep moving forward.

It’s not easier. It’s impossible. Because even though it feels like I’ve known Abby forever, I really only met her four months ago. And I guess there hasn’t been time for her to have any set ideas about me yet. But I’ve known Leah since sixth grade, and Nick since we were four. And this gay thing. It feels so big. It’s almost insurmountable. I don’t know how to tell them something like this and still come out of it feeling like Simon. Because if Leah and Nick don’t recognize me, I don’t even recognize myself anymore.

Becky Albertalli have created a fictional contemporary world that I fell in love with. The wonderful friends, loving family, the cutest love interest and a truly amazing teacher, I could have read on about them all for hours and hours. I was sad to let them go.

For those who find it of importance: there are some swearing, a tiny scene of underage drinking and references to sex. All addressed with the loving care, concern and advice of Simons parents. In my opinion, nothing to hide from a seventeen-year-old living in the real world. Then again, I live in one of the Nordic countries and scenes like described above very rarely shock us – is that an American thing? Some might find us weird, I mean we rarely to never ban books even. A real live book utopia that is ;)

I could have written more in depth about this novel, but I do not wish to do so. I just want the world to know, if in doubt, that I LOVED Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda! It is an important novel for young adults and adults alike. Not only does the books address the challenges of being gay and the huge deal everyone makes the “coming out” part out to be, it also addresses what it is like to be a teenager and how a parent/child relationship evolves through the years regardless of whom you love.

Book source: I bought the book.


  1. Great review, Mari! I really want to read this one. It sounds amazing, and I'm glad that Simon and the rest are realistic characters. As for being upset by certain content...I suppose it's a bit of an American thing. I mean, it doesn't bother me, but I tend to put some warnings on my reviews too just in case!

  2. Oooh, I want to feel all the emotions! That's a sign of a great book. Plus the characters sound great, I really need to make time to read this one! Nice review :)


Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)