“People really are like house with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”
Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publication: April 7th 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Summary 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.
Simon Vs. The Homo Sapien’s Agenda is a paradox of light-hearted angst. It is the story of Simon Spier, a boy whose choice is stolen from him when a guy from school blackmails him about his sexuality. Simon Spier isn’t so sure he wants to come out to everyone, he hasn’t told his family or even his best friends. His life suddenly changes when he is confronted by Martin, a classmate who has screenshots of Simon’s private emails to his cherished pen pal Blue. This is a story that blasts through the narrow-minded idea, as Simon puts it, that “there shouldn’t even be a default” when it comes to sexuality and personal identity.
“The way I feel about him is like a heartbeat — soft and persistent, underlying everything.”
The main conflict in this story is internal, between Simon and his own thoughts. He doesn’t want to help Martin, but he will because he is afraid of Martin outing him. However, he also wants to come out to his friends and family – but the Martin situation has made him feel powerless. He has to help him hook up with his friend Abby, or risk being the new school target. Simon can’t decide whether to get it over with and take the power back from Martin, or to help Martin and put it all off just a little bit longer. The only solace Simon finds is in writing his e-mails to Blue, walking his dog Bieber, and listening to music – but sometimes, not even that can cheer him up.
“Sometimes it seems like everyone knows who I am except me.”
The importance of Simon and Blue’s relationship cannot be overstated. Simon and Blue feel comfortable talking to each other. There is an openness in their emails and an honesty about their own feelings that feels almost too private to read. They need each other, and Simon is terrified he needs Blue more than Blue needs him. I think Blue nails it on the head when he said there was an “…ocean between people. And how the whole point of everything is to find a shore worth swimming to.” Simon is Blue’s shore, and Blue is Simon’s.
“It’s strange because in reality, I’m not the leading guy. Maybe I’m the best friend. I guess I didn’t think of myself as interesting until I was interesting to Blue.”
All hell, figuratively, breaks loose when Martin decides Simon isn’t doing enough on his end of the bargain and he posts a horrific advertisement about Simon on the School’s Tumblr page. Everyone knows now, even Blue, and Simon doesn’t know what to do with himself or how to handle Martin, his friends, and his family. However, despite all of this, a little piece of Blue’s mystery unravels itself. There was a lot of Simon guessing about who was Blue and why they could be the boy his was in love with, and, in the end, we do find out who Blue is and it is possibly the cutest relationship I have ever witnessed in Young Adult Literature.
“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.”
Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda is a fantastic, character driven story the world needs to read. It is about acceptance, tolerance, love, friendship, and family. It is about taking charge of your life, your destiny, and rocking it to the sky and back. It is straightforward, simple, and deliciously sweet. You’ll happily swim in the ocean between Simon and Blue for the rest of your life.
“I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways…And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.”