Book Review: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
ashley | I’ve started to notice lately that everything I read tends to dance around similar subjects or themes, so I’ve been trying to make a bigger effort to incorporate books I wouldn’t normally gravitate towards. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli sounded like a really interesting read, but not something I would normally pick up, so it was the perfect book to pull me out of my comfort zone. A while ago, I read a book called Last Class and Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda reminded me a little of this book, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Like Last Class, Simon Vs was a breath of fresh air to my typical reading list.
I was immediately won over by pop culture references, a nod to Tegan and Sara and Rilo Kiley and Simon naming his dog Bieber. It’s the little things like these that I love in books, the satire and mocking of real life. But I also really loved the dynamic Simon had with his friends, his self awareness and how that awareness rubbed off onto his friends. They were an interesting mix of people; Simon claimed they were nerds, but the mingled with the soccer players and drama club and some of the girls were cheerleaders. I’m not sure how realistic this mash up is in regular high schools, but it created a wide variety of entertaining characters to keep things interesting.
Like Simon, I started to fall in love with the mysterious Blue and had my theories from the beginning with who I thought he was (turned out I was right). There’s a real cuteness in their email exchange and then when they finally figure out whom the other is, that sickening happiness and the shy innocence of young love is overwhelming and you can’t help but smile. I really liked seeing the core group of friends start to come into their own. This proves how you can know someone your whole life and still not know their deepest secrets or certain elements of their personal life, it makes you want to cherish and embrace your friendships even more.
I also loved how grammatically correct everything was, especially when a lot of communication was through email. For high school kids, there was no annoy slang or text message lingo. That would have really taken from the tone of the book. Speaking of tone, Albertalli’s voice is impressive. Writing as a gay sixteen year old boy may not be an easy or natural task, but it’s kind of hard to believe she hasn’t been inside the mind of a boy in one life or another.
I read through this in one sitting. It was an easy read, but it did pull at heart strings and definitely got a little complicated along the way. Simon made a ton of mistakes, they all made a big mess of it all, but that’s the beauty of high school. It’s messy and confusing and frustrating, but when you finally make it through you realize you can make it through anything.