Review: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

SvsHSASynopsis 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.

This book has been on my to-read list ever since I heard about it and saw the amazing cover. I read the synopsis and readers? I was smitten.

But when I finished it… I don’t know. I hate to say it but I’m a bit disappointed. I have a feeling it’s because I went into this book with massively high expectations which has made me slightly cranky.

My main problem was that the story moved at a whiplash speed and it wasn’t… great. There were times when I barely had chance to breathe until we were moving onto the next thing that happened and the pace felt all wrong to me. It was like none of the storylines got the coverage that they should’ve done because we were pulled away to the next joke or the next problem or the next thing that Simon had to deal with….

Whereas usually in stories like this, when the characters are going through so much, I really get involved with these kids. I want to call them after school and ask about their day, I want to write in their year book, I want to go to the mall with them, I want to drink under-aged beer with them out of red cups… um… can you tell most of my knowledge of American teens is from 90s American teen movies?

I’m just kidding.

I guess the biggest problem I had with Simon and his friends was that I didn’t really feel like I knew them that well. It was kinda blink-and-you’ll-miss-it because there was so much going on (maybe a bit too much going on) and I think that was a big, big shame. It’s a shame because what I did know about these characters, I really liked.

I wanted this book to go deeper. Really dig deep into the characters and their story. And make me uncomfortable. I love adorable as much as the next person (and this book is adorable) but… personally? I needed more.

Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely some bits that I liked about it. I liked the humour and how current it was. I have a feeling there are some references that might date this book a bit (like Simon’s obsession with Passion Pit. I like Passion Pit but… do many people know them? Not in an oh-my-god-I’m-so-cool-because-Jo-likes-bands-noone-else-does but I just they’re a bit of a random band for someone to be obsessed enough to make a Tumblr out of? Oh I dunno. I’ll be quiet) but right now, right in this instant… I loved it. It felt fresh and modern and didn’t feel forced at all.

I also absolutely adored the emails. Kids falling in love with anonymous (or are they?!) kids on the internet is one of my all-time favourite YA tropes and I really liked how Becky portrayed this. The emails between Simon and Blue were fun and they were a bit cheeky and they were definitely flirty and I kinda wished that the whole book was told via email. It would’ve been a completely different book but I think that if the story had been told this way that all the

This book was still an enjoyable read and it tells an important story, a story always has been important and a story that always will be important, and I think Becky told this story in a nice and modern way. While I can’t say Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda will stick with me like a lot of the USYA LGBT stories I’ve read, it’s still a nice addition to the genre and I hope lots of people read it and love it more than I did.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s