This summer, I’ve read a whole stack of stunning books. I even ventured from my usual path of dark and haunting retellings, fantasy and classics in order to read some contemporary – which I haven’t in quite some time. Most fittingly, in June we celebrated Pride Month! So I was thrilled to read a young adult and LGBTQ book that really couldn’t be any cuter. Now let me tell you 3 reasons why ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ by Becki Albertalli should be on your reading list, if you haven’t had the chance to read it yet.
B E C K Y A L B E R T A L L I – S I M O N V S . T H E H O M O S A P I E N S A G E N D A
“But I’m tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. I get a girlfriend. I have a beer. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.”
1 . A t i t s h e a r t l i e s a h i g h l y r e l e v a n t t o p i c
… and a topic I haven’t read all too much about, to be honest! But I plan to change that, no worries. In ‘Simon Vs.’, Simon tells us his story, and it’s an important one. He’s a teenager whose world is turned upside down when he falls in love with Blue. They exchange messages via mail, and with that thoughts and beliefs, anecdotes of their private lives and great and small mishaps at school. With Blue, Simon experiences a love like no other, and he wishes to meet Blue in person. But then one of his mails falls into someone elses hands, and with this, Simon’s secret that only Blue knows about, is about to be revealed. So, yes. Simon is gay. So is Blue. So what? – was pretty much all I could think, because at least to me, that’s no big deal. You love who you love, it’s that simple. But, on the other hand, it’s a big deal. Because love, no matter how, is thrilling and painful and makes you feel like an alien in your own skin. Especially when you’re in your teens. I love how Albertalli makes it seem perfectly normal and still you feel like you’re still in highschool with all the drama and heartaches and school demanding to be heard over all these exciting things that are going on in life. And on top of that, Simon feels another kind of different, just because he loves boys.
“It is definitely annoying that straight (and white, for that matter) is the default, and that the only people who have to think about their identity are the ones who don’t fit that mold. Straight people really should have to come out, and the more awkward it is, the better. Awkwardness should be a requirement.”
2 . I t d e p i c t s f r i e n d s h i p a t i t s b e s t – a n d w o r s t
Simon has a handful of close friends he spends time with in and outside of school. Nick and Leah are his oldest friends, Abby just moved into their hometown and has already become a member of their group – in some way or another. It creates tension, but it’s also great for Simon to have all three of them as his friends. And what can I say but that they are so, so believable? They are all growing up, growing more and more into who they are and they all begin to ask the big question that we readers surely also have asked ourselves: who am I? Albertalli really got it right when she gave Simon a voice to tell us about his friends, about the ones closest to him – apart from Blue. And it’s made clear in the course of the story that friends also have to move on sometimes, it’s just how life goes. They support each other, they laught, they fight. I love that none of Simons friends is just a sidekick, introduced to the story to somewhat help the protagonist shine. They are individuals, and not just there to move the plot forward.
“Say something supportive. I don’t know. Or awkwardly hold his hand like I did. Anything.”
Nick and I look at each other.
“I’m not holding your hand,” I tell him, smiling a little.
“All right”- he nods – “but know that I would.”
3 . I t ‘ s j u s t s o d a r n e d c u t e !
This is somehow the perfect book for any season there is. I thought it was perfect for summer, which was when I read it – but turns out, you can read it anytime and still get that feeling of having read something that instantly warms your heart, makes you giggle and smile wide. It’s just like a huge cup of cocoa on a winter’s eve, or an icecold slice of watermelon that drips down your chin in the stifling heat of a summer’s day. I can’t say anything other than this book simply makes you happy. Sure, it deals with topics crucial to our society, such as homophobia or racism, but it’s done in such a sunny and straight-forward way! Yes, every character in this book goes through a tough time, but still: I felt so happy and lighthearted, I could have embraced the whole world (including Simon, he deserves all the cuddles) during this read.
Those are the 3 reasons why I highly recommend ‘Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ to each and every one of you readers out there. Even if you’re not that into young adult books or anything contemporary – give this one a try. It’ll surely brighten your day – I promise! ❤︎