Friday, November 25, 2016

Audiobook Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Narrator: Michael Crouch 
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
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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 Sapiens Agenda has received a heck of a lot of hype since it's release in 2015, and after listening to this audiobook, I am jumping right on that hype bandwagon. The praise this book has received is so well-deserved, and Simon vs. has become one of my go-to contemporary recommendations now.

Simon Spier is gay, and not exactly out yet. The story opens with Simon being confronted by Martin, a classmate who has stumbled upon some email conversations between Simon and his anonymous internet friend, Blue. Martin threatens to out Simon and Blue unless Simon helps him get a date with the girl he likes. And thus, calamity ensues. We get to watch Simon and Blue falling in love (which is one of the most adorable things in the universe) and discovering what kind of person they want to be. Meanwhile, Simon has to deal with Martin (who is seriously annoying) and the chances of his friends and family finding out about his sexuality before he is ready.

There are so many things to love about this book. The writing was quirky and funny and lighthearted, despite dealing with sexual identity and the acceptance (or lack thereof) of homosexuality in a high school setting. Important and serious topics were dealt with, but not in a way that made them feel like they were the only aspect of the book. Which is exactly as it should be. The LGBT aspects of the story were mixed right in with everyday things like discussions of Oreos and Simon's favorite singer, homework and drama rehearsal. Yes, Simon vs. is a story about a gay teen. But Simon is so much more than his sexual preference.

Simon is....well, he's pretty much awesome. I think literally everyone can find something in Simon that they can relate to. Whether it's his sexual identity or his fear of his mom finding his dirty magazines, his odd sense of humor or his desire to be loved and accepted the way he is. Simon says things throughout the story that most of us have thought as some point in time, no matter our age, gender, race, or sexuality. Simon is in all of us. And he can help us to recognize that no matter who we are, we all just want a little happiness (and maybe some Oreos).

If you haven't figured it out already, I absolutely adored this book. I am normally someone who goes into a contemporary book kicking and screaming; I really don't enjoy romance and I have found very few contemporaries that I actually enjoy. But, boy oh boy, this one melted my ice cold heart. I still get a warm and fuzzy feeling thinking about Simon and Blue. I feel like they are friends of mine that I will never forget. If you love cute romances, this is definitely the book for you. But even if you are a cynic like me, I think you will really like this one. Give it a try and let me know what you think!