Monday, April 13, 2015

Review: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Firstly, thanks to Penguin Teen Australia for this review copy <3

Date Read: March 20 - 25 2015
Date Released: March 25th 2015
Publisher: Penguin Teen Australia
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Contemporary
My Rating:

"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."


(The style of this review is based on the email exchanges between Simon and Blue in the book.)

DATE: Apr 12 at 7.26pm
SUBJECT: That incredibly cute and wonderful book you sent me with a character called Simon…

Dear PTA,

You know that book you sent me called Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda? The one that the YA world is going crazy about? Well holy crap it was amazing and I JUST CAN’T EVEN.

Firstly, I was so impressed at how real this book was. Gone were the stereotypical cliques I was getting sick of in American YA books. For once, I read a YA book where I could relate to my own high school experience. Simon’s smart, nerdy even, but didn’t you find it so refreshing to see that he hung out with sporty people too? I really liked that he’s actually sort of popular and also hangs out with popular people that also do well in school. Everybody had a mix of hobbies, strengths and weaknesses but Simon’s friendship group still got along really well. Were you as happy about this as I was?

I absolutely adored Simon’s character and I know you did too! I wonder if it’s for the same reasons? He’s intelligent and funny but also has his own insecurities. The first-person POV was absolutely fantastic wasn’t it? I really liked how he swore a lot and that he wasn’t perfect – he judged people and bitched about others in his head (and with his friends too). I mean let’s be honest here, just because you’re smart and generally a nice person, doesn’t mean you don’t have opinions about other people too. You feel me? I certainly did those things myself back in high school. Through his emails to Blue especially, I understood his fear of coming out and got a glimpse of what it’s like to be gay in high school. I mean, seriously, bloody Martin blackmailing Simon over it? I’d be shitting myself too. I’m sure you loved his character growth as much as I did. He’s still not perfect by the end of the book, but through his interactions with all the other characters, he really grows into himself!

Simon’s friends were all real (I’m sorry, I keep using that word but that’s one of my favourite things about this book) and diverse (yay!). Did you find it awesome that Simon admitted he was sometimes ignorant of people’s cultural differences because he was white? I liked how supportive Abby always was, that she was really pretty but didn’t hang out with the popular kids. I loved that Nick was essentially a ‘jock’ but also loved video games and spent time with non-sporty friends and sporty friend alike! Then there was Simon’s family, who made a big deal out of everything and as a result his siblings Nora and Alice didn’t tell each other things. And yet they still really cared about each other and Simon grows so much throughout the book as he realises things about them.

Underlying Simon’s progression through the school year and his play rehearsals are his emails to Blue. Tell me you swooned and squealed as much as I did? Aka A LOT. While the emails didn’t give a clear indication of who Blue was, I thought it was through these exchanges that we could see Simon’s deeper and emotional side. These heartfelt messages showed how Simon and Blue connected and my goodness they were so sweet.

Basically, this is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Realistic portrayal of LGBT characters, relatable contemporary and through it all, Albertalli’s writing carried the story through. The feels were real. GIVE ME MORE BOOKS LIKE THIS PLEASE?



  1. Loved how you set out this review!! So creative. ^_^ EVERYONE is raving about this book. Pretty much every review that I'm stumbling across now has been positive, so I must read this soon. I love the sound of such real and diverse characters.

  2. I really want to read this book. Sounds so good and your review only made me want to read it even more. Great review!

    Aeriko @

  3. I've heard nothing but glowing reviews for this one Jaz, so I am so glad to see that shiny 5-star badge on your review too! ;) I think it's great that authors are getting so diverse in YA. It really makes the books feel so much more realistic and like a slice out of real life, you know? Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

  4. YAYYY it makes me super happy that you loved this one as well Jaz! You are right, this book didn't attempt to stereotype anyone at all and it felt so much more REAL. I wish there were more books like this!

  5. Such a cute format! Love that you were inspired by the novel. And I'm super excited to read Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. I've been hearing nothing but great things, and I definitely will be reading it once I get a copy!