Friday, 10 April 2015
Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: April 7th, 2015
Straight people should have to come out too. And the more awkward it is, the better. Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is - and what he's looking for. But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated. Because, for Simon, falling for Blue is a big deal... It's a holy freaking huge awesome deal.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a little gem of a book. It's absolutely everything I want from a YA contemporary novel; it's written with humour, insight and understanding and, for me, it blows John Green out of the water. Simon is my new YA hero, Becky Albertalli is now firmly on my 'must-buy' list and I've been left with a terrible craving for Oreos.
I don't want to talk too much about the plot of this book, because it's one that you should really go into as spoiler-free as possible. It all unfolds better that way, and your expectations will be turned on their head by the time you get to the end. What I will say is that Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is all about the life of Simon as he navigates his teenage years, falling in love and coming out to his family and friends. It's an exceptionally well-told story, and by the last page I was grinning like an idiot. Truthfully, I wanted more pages. Much more.
What I want to know is: why can't all contemporary YA books be as intelligent, witty and realistic as this one? I know Albertalli isn't breaking new ground here - this has been done before - but I haven't enjoyed anyone's story as much as this for a long time. Simon is one of those characters who completely takes over everything, he gets in your head and stays there. His friends, too. They come as a huge, crazy package of general brilliance, and they show the reader just what it means to be a kind, accepting human being.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is one of those novels that I think will take off in a big way, like Rainbow Rowell huge with fanart and Simon/Blue fanfiction. It has the potential to reach a whole generation of teenagers struggling with the same things as Simon and his friends, and a voice like his could make a massive difference to someone who's a little bit lost. Every self-confessed YA fan should read this one and fall in love with Simon and Blue just like I did. I sincerely hope we get to catch up with them again one day.