Monday, December 21, 2015

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Author: Becky Albertalli
Info: Balzer & Bray, copright 2015, 303 pages

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.

~Goodreads Description

I picked this one up because of the love it was shown by some readers I trust on Goodreads.  It was well-written, thoughtful, and entertaining.  But it wasn't my favorite book of the year.

Simon Spier has a pen pal.  A mysterious pen pal who refers to himself as "Blue".  A pen pal that understands Simon in a way that no one else ever has, a person that Simon can talk to without judgement.  Because sometimes the hardest thing in life is wanting to change but finding it impossible because everyone around you "knows" you too well.

This is a story about a high school student, a boy, just trying to grow up.  This boy just happens to be gay.  This isn't an "issues" book.  There is no soap box (like some authors I will not name directly but return readers of this here blog probably know who I am referring to).  There is struggle, and misunderstanding, and confusion, but it's all in the context of this boy's life.  It's real.  And most refreshing is the fact that the parents aren't evil.  Simon has a support system, and while that support system fails him sometimes, it's never angsty or intentionally hurtful.  It's humans being humans.

I would definitely pair this one with A.S. King's Ask the Passengers.  I liked that one a little better, but this is a worth-while read and one that I will go to often for reader's advisory at my library.


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