Review: Simon and the Homo-Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

review         book

I'll Meet You Theretitle: Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda
author: Becky Albertalli
pages: 303
format: Kindle
isbn/asin: 978-0062380876
buy it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
rating: 4.5/5 (from hated to loved) or 7/10 (all books I've ever read)
recommended for: Fans of Wuthering HeightsLegacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman, other sweeping, epic, historical dramas.
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.

in depth

  • You've already heard this book's praises sung from every corner of the blogoverse, but get ready to hear more--because it's truly an outstanding debut.  I read Simon shortly after I finished The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley, and it was everything I'd wanted Andrew to be.  Light, funny, surprisingly poignant.  

  • Simon reminded me much of myself in high school, except myself if I'd been a gay young man, of course.  He's insecure and awkward, well-meaning but terrified about whether he means anything, to anyone.  Of course, he's much brasher than I was, and a bit of an asshole in a totally normal and character-enriching way.  So, even when you want to punch him in the face for being jerky to his friends and acting overly tragic, you also can't help but want to squeeze him.  I also really sympathize with Leah, his best friend, who gets sidelined by both Simon and their friend Nick with the introduction of pretty Abby to the circle.  They're just so believable as teens, as people. 

  • The relationship between Simon and Blue is everything I want in a young adult romance, especially a contemporary.  It's cute, slow to build, awkward and adorable.  You can see their adoration developing across their emails--and it's a clever format for a generation increasingly reliant on text for romance--and it's so satisfying when they finally meet.  For some reasons I won't give away.  Normally I go gaggy over a lot of book romances, but Simon and Blue really belong together.  

  • Simon's voice was really the clincher for me.  Of course it's cleverer and a little more poignant than anything most of us have ever penned at 17, but it still feels like a 17-year-old is writing it.  Simple, clear, and punchy, with gems like "I don't know how to be gay in Georgia," offhanded references to slash fiction and Xbox achievements, slang that doesn't feel pilfered from Urban Dictionary.  It resonated with me right away and kept me invested.  

  • The plot twists a few rom com cliches into fresh forms.  There's the Cyrano-esque pen pals, Simon falling for his online buddy Blue.  The blackmail: loser Martin threatening to out Simon unless Simon helps him hook up with one of his friends  It's farfetched enough to be fun, but still tame enough for me to buy.  Then there's the usual drama, friends getting jealous, dating drama, clueless but well-meaning parents, snarky sisters.  

  • There were slow moments, eye-roll-inducing phrases, and some cringe-inducing behavior on Simon's part, but that didn't detract from a truly stellar high school novel.  It's a refreshingly real read in a sea of over-the-top emotional contemporaries and teens that talk like thirty-year-old English teachers.  

    in a sentence

    Simon and the Homo-Sapiens Agenda is a funny, heartening debut, a refreshingly real read in a sea of over-the-top emotional contemporaries and teens that talk like thirty-year-old English teachers.  


    will i read this author again?  Yes! 
    will i continue the series?  N/A, thankfully. It doesn't need one.  

    Note: I purchased this copy. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.


    1. Even though it's not a sequel, she is writing two companion novels with characters from the book :)

    2. I completely agree with everything you’ve said here. Simon’s character was so authentic and real, and the story itself was just so light and fun. I’m glad you enjoyed it as much as I did!:) Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤