Book Review: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
I hate young adult novels.
I try to read everything I could get my hands on. I’m a firm believer in giving everything (or anyone) a chance. Maybe it’s because the whole idea of finding the one you love, IN HIGH SCHOOL of all places, just doesn’t sit right with me. Maybe it’s the whole “the world is out to get me so I must rise above and conquer” thing.
But what it boils down to is the fact that I’m a single bitter twenty-two-year-old gay man who’s closest thing to love comes from my Frenchie.
So, when a coworker who I really don’t like or trust asked if I’ve read a certain book I said, “Excuse me?”
“Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda?”
“Who’s against what?” I asked not really paying attention and hoping that she noticed.
“It’s a gay book. You’ve never heard of it?”
Like I had a rolodex of every LGBTQ Novel, film, poem, short script, stage play, TV commercial to use at my disposal.
“You’ll like it. Its sweet.”
“Sweet?” I asked.
“Yeah! It’s about two guys- “
“And they fall in love in high school- “
“Oh, no thank you but I don’t read Young Adult novels.”
“I’ll bring it you. When do you work next?”
I gave in. I’ll read the stupid book about the stupid gay teenagers falling in stupid love.
That night I started reading with a glass of red wine next to me (to help me cope) and soon found myself falling in love with Simon and his high school drama (Simon stars in the school’s musical production of Oliver!) and his mysterious email lover.
Told in part by prose and the emails the story moves forward with Simon becoming who he really is and finding out that being gay is honestly okay. Quotes like, “I feel like I’m coming out every day”, “I’m just so tired of straight people’s shit” and “People are really like tiny houses with vast windows and tiny rooms and maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other” pepper the writing making it seem… real.
The whole coming out scene is one of the best scenes I’ve read in a while mixed with humor, sadness and bravery. It, briefly, reminded me of my own coming out story.
Becky Albertalli commands every page with writing like she herself were a 16-year-old gay teen who lives in Atlanta. The ending comes like a fast-paced thriller making you read until you find out who Blue truly is (I’m still shocked.) Compulsively readable not just for gay LGBTQ teens but for EVERYONE.
So, keep surprising us Mrs. Albertalli. We can’t wait for the movie which is scheduled for release on March 16th.