Mon, 18 Oct, 2021

Review

BOOK REVIEW: SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA

14-Jun-2021

By Richa Rajendra

Image Source: fuzzable.com

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a novel written by Becky Albertalli. It is a sweet story about teen issues, told in a voice that feels authentic which you can’t help but love. This is a coming-of-age story with talks about sexuality, identity, friendship, family, and bullying.

This story follows Simon Spier, a teenage boy who isn't openly gay and prefers to save his drama for the school musical. His life takes a dramatic change when an email fell into the wrong hands, exposing his secret. Simon is now being blackmailed: if he doesn't play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexuality will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, whom he's been emailing would be jeopardized, and this is where his story begins.

Simon's junior year has taken a turn for the worse, with some complex dynamics forming in his once close-knit circle of friends, and his email exchanges with Blue becoming more playful by the day. Aversion to change is now a thing of the past. Simon must find a way to push himself out of his comfort zone without losing his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most perplexing, endearing boy he's ever met before he's forced out. Throughout the narrative, Simon is apprehensive because he despises the amount of pressure he is under to come out. He feels that coming out should not be a big deal; rather, it should be mainstreamed.

This was a beautiful novel for me. It was incredible. My favorite aspect was the dialogue. It seemed natural, and it brought back memories of high school. Albertalli expertly captured the irony and tension of discovering one's identity as a teenager. It was excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The characters were spot on, and the tale was fantastic. Leah’s anger at being left out, Nick's obsession for playing his guitar, as well as the girls' fascination with Nick playing guitar. I adored the relationship Simon has with his older sister, Alice. I thought it was realistic how they changed when she moved away, yet how much they still loved each other. It reminded me of my brother's departure from college and how my relationship with him has never been the same since then. These characters had me fully enthralled. The back-and-forth emails with Blue were fantastic. I was disappointed when Blue stopped responding to his emails, even though he had very good reasons. It was a really sweet way for them to develop their relationship, and I had a lot of fun figuring out who Blue was. Simon's relationships with his parents and sister were a huge part of why I like this book so much. Many parents appear to have a natural capacity to turn every moment into something to be examined, and while this can be done lovingly and helpfully, the limelight may easily make teenagers feel uncomfortable. Albertalli does a fantastic job of conveying this familial dynamic without pushing it to the point of forced comedy, in my opinion.

Simon is a true representation of a perplexed yet inquisitive teen who is sophisticated and lovable at the same time. This is a story of love, acceptance, and honesty. He wrestles with his prejudices and assumptions about his friends and the world around him and matures as a character throughout the book. By falling in love with Blue, Simon realizes his identity and begins to research and overcome the difficulties of acceptability that now confront his homosexual, multiracial relationship. Simon is understandably apprehensive about disclosing his sexuality. When he is, he is ridiculed, and people say and do things to him that are hurtful. On the other hand, his friends and family do not. They adore him, support him, and fight for his cause. This book taught me that it's okay to be afraid of things that can hurt us. But we will also be supported by our friends and family when we are scared, and all will work out in the end.

Albertalli appears to have a clear connection to adolescent psychology. I was transported back to my awkward 15-year-old self, striving to get the courage to express my thoughts to a young man who had grabbed my eye. I couldn't quit smiling pleasantly at Simon's crush-focused moments since some of the moments are cheek-achingly lovely.

And last but not least, this book is so quotable! Some of my favorite, insightful, quotes are: “Being secure in your masculinity isn’t the same as being straight”, “Why is straight the default?” I thought after reading the narrative. This phrase made me wonder why so many individuals in society are so closed-minded, and how people may learn to love and accept one another instead. Each character was likable and sympathetic in some way. This anecdote demonstrates that people should be welcomed for who they are.
Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a fantastic choice if you're aiming to read more diverse literature and want something that focuses on teen sexuality and coming out. Simon is the book for you if you're looking for a Young Adult Contemporary that will make you laugh till your cheeks hurt.
 

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