This is a fun rom-com with a somewhat awkward main character that you hope get his happily ever after!
Chapter book, fiction, LGBTQ+
William C. Morris YA Debut Award, 2016
5 out of 5 stars
This premise of this book reminds me of You’ve Got Mail, the 1998 Nora Ephron film starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Two people meet over the internet, trade emails, and fall in love before meeting in person.
I think the story’s strength lies in the characters. The main character is Simon Spier. He has a close and goofy family and supportive friends. He has longtime friends Nick and Leah, and newer friends Abby and Blue.
This book is often touted as a coming out story, which it is, but it is also about friendship, discovering who you are, and how change affects friendship. Becky Albertalli does an amazing job depicting Simon wrangling with his feelings and struggling when friendships hit rocky patches. It can be hard to juggle school, extracurricular activities, family, and friendships. Add in being blackmailed and not being ready to come out and let people know you’re gay, and it can be overwhelming. Sometimes in life things get out of whack and people get hurt or feel left out. Simon has to learn to trust people with new information about who he is and that can be scary. The reader goes with Simon on his journey and it is both funny and heartfelt.
My favorite line is, “White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default.” (p. 269) This probably sums up much of the story and the message that readers should take away. The default much of the time is straight and white. Simon makes us think about eliminating our default thinking and accepting people for who they are and how they define themselves.
This book will appeal to a lot of readers. It is funny, while tackling a serious topic in a thoughtful way. Fans of romantic comedy will really enjoy Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.