Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
by Becky Albertalli
Published on April 7th 2015
by Balzer + Bray
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary, Romance
Narrator: Michael Crouch
Length: 6 hours 45 minutes
Source: Purchased for Audible
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Also by this author: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Upside of Unrequited, Leah On The Offbeat
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.
As you know, our dear Bee loves Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. If you don’t know this, then I assume it’s your first time visiting Quite the Novel Idea, in which case, Welcome! In any case I listened to Simon because of Bee (of course!) and since both her and Rach have raved about it, I will keep this review short and sweet.
Simon is SO sweet. He’s in high school and if that isn’t stressful enough, he’s dealing with the realization that he’s gay and trying to figure out what that entails. Specially in a conservative place like Atlanta. He’s well liked, has good grades, is active in drama class and has a group of close friends that are there for him. Simon has a strong narrative voice, a clear personality, it is easy to get to know and love him.
For a big part of the book is of the emails between Simon and Blue. I love them. They give the reader such an incredible insight to the inner workings of their minds. We get to know each of them as they know each other, we get to love them both and we want to see them be together. They are so cute that there was no doubt in my mind that at the end, love would prevail.
Becky Albertalli’s Writing
This is Albertalli’s first book. Seriously. Her writing was fascinating and so full of the feels. She captured Simon’s feelings so clearly: the frustration, fear, uncertainty, anger, love, delight… She has so much talent, that I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! There are some difficult topics to tackle in this book, homosexuality, race, and bullying being the big two and she did it gracefully.
Family and friendship
Simon’s family is ever present in the story, which I love. It makes the story more realistic, even if he thinks they are overwhelming in their “caring”. I also loved his relationship with his sisters and the fact that they had his back. Nick, Abby, and Leah are Simon’s best friends and support group. I do have to say that Leah was a bit needy and got offended rather easily. I think she realized that by the end.
I think Simon vs. the Home Sapiens Agenda is a book about discovery. Not only of accepting who you are – quirks, personality and sexuality included – but also on dealing with difficult situations and believe me, Simon has quite a few of those. Growing up and high school is not easy, and having to deal with “coming out” and what that entails in a conservative community is even harder. I think that Simon did a lot of self discovery during the length of the book.
The romance between Blue and Simon is slow, real, growing, and plain adorable.
Although Michael Crouch has quite the list of narrated books, this is the first time I listen to one of them. I really enjoyed the experience. It’s usually harder for me to hear male narrators making the female voices, but I think Crouch did a pretty good job. I was never confused or wondering who was talking. I also love that Crouch acting talent shines throughout the reading of the book, it’s full of feeling, trepidation, wonder, and so many of the beautiful feelings that make Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda so special.
Overall, here are two words to describe this book: adorable perfection.