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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Simonverse, #1)
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Young Adult Discussions > Simon vs. the Homo-Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli

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Ulysses Dietz | 1588 comments Just when I thought YA/LGBT books couldn’t get any better, I meet Simon Spier and his little blackmail problem.

Becky Albertalli’s voice is funny and spot on. She captures the inner mind of the relentlessly self-absorbed teenager, and yet manages to turn that into a teaching moment of wide philosophical importance.

It’s not all about Simon, even when it is.

Albertalli surrounds our reluctant hero with a tender, loving cast of fellow teens: his best friend Leah, his lifelong buddy Nick, and the new girl in town, Abby. These diverse young people—one Jewish, one black, from the “wrong” side of town—create a peer group against which we see Simon’s personality in higher relief.

His family is equally important, and not mere ciphers as they too often are in YA books. He loves his college-age sister Alice, who calls him Bub, and his younger sister Nora, known by Alice as Boop. Then there are his parents, whose names we never hear (because, after all, parents don’t HAVE names). Mom and Dad Spier are vivid and quirky, overflowing with love for their children, who frustrate them by not seeming to care.

Simon’s personal insanity is all about being gay and not wanting to come out—yet. But Martin Addison’s ineptly calculated blackmail scheme (to get closer to Abby) looks like it might force his hand.

And Simon just isn’t ready to be out, because that would make him into “an entirely new version of me.” I love this point—that being gay is a big deal; that it really does make you into someone new. I remember that feeling when I came out in college 40 years ago. I also remember dreading having to deal with it in my “old” life—my parents, relatives, old friends.

On the other hand, Simon isn’t really all that good at understanding what’s going on in anyone else’s mind—anyone except Blue, his online gay friend. These two boys know nothing about each other, and yet, know each other better than either of them knows anyone else in their life. Their back-and-forth email banter is charming and touching, a lens to Simon’s emotional growth. Part of the joy of reading this book is the many little moments of revelation, in which Simon learns that even his most personal concerns are not purely his own. His life touches other people’s lives, and what he does affects them.

There is no anger or hate of any consequence in this book. The Homo Sapiens Agenda of the title is simply…life. Every page is infused with humor and affection, and it left me feeling optimistic and slightly teary-eyed.

Bravo.


Aussie54 | 322 comments Ulysses wrote: "Just when I thought YA/LGBT books couldn’t get any better, I meet Simon Spier and his little blackmail problem.

Becky Albertalli’s voice is funny and spot on. She captures the inner mind of the r..."


Sounds good, Ulysses. I actually found it in our local libraries' catalogue, and have put in on hold. I'm looking forward to reading it.


Jesse Parks (bookishjessp) | 1 comments I actually just picked this up today. Can't wait to start reading it here soon after I knock off some of the other books on my to-read list.


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