Simon Spier is a closeted gay 16 year old boy in high school who has struck up an increasingly flirty email correspondence with another boy, nicknamed Blue. When one of the emails falls into the wrong hands, Simon finds himself being blackmailed for fear of his secret getting out. He must navigate the growing complexities of his social life while making sure he appeases his blackmailer so that Blue’s privacy is maintained. Yet all Simon wants is to find out who this boy is that makes him so happy.
I worry sometimes about books that everyone raves about. I haven’t always had the best luck with hyped up YA books since I find that trope preferences, especially in the young adult genre, are so greatly varied. However, I am so pleased that I did pick up Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda to find out for myself.
The novel alternates between the narrative and Simon & Blue’s email correspondences, which paces out the book along nicely. It was interesting to see the relative ordinary day-to-day life of Simon with his friends, Simon at his after school musical theatre rehearsals, Simon hiding his sexual orientation from everyone around him. Alternatively, his emails with Blue then show a side he’s kept hidden – where the relative anonymity of their pen names allow for both boys to speak openly and truthfully.
As the reader, you see the story unfold through Simon’s eyes, so his curiosity about who his mysterious pen pal is translates into our own curiosity, his frustrations with his circumstances translates into our own frustrations. At so many points, like Simon, I thought I had it figured out but, like life, things aren’t always that easily figured out. This book deals with acceptance – with yourself, with coming out and with what life brings your way. I absolutely adored Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and truly could not put this contemporary read down.