Saturday, August 13, 2016

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


I still cannot fathom that I read this book within 24 hours of picking it up and I am proud of myself for finishing a book after weeks of procrastination when it comes to reading and finishing a book!

I was captivated by this story and was entertained to see this gay love story blossom into this beauty and I wish this book existed when I was a teenager. Growing up I thoroughly disliked reading and when I came to accept my sexual identity there was nothing available at the time to talk about the awkward aspects of coming out, having feelings for someone of the same sex, dating, and sex. All that was available was soap operas and that didn't provide much guidance except fantasies of what I wished my gay teenager life should be.

What I enjoyed most about this book is how relatable most people are to Simon and Blue or the rest of the characters in this story. Regardless of sexual orientation, I believe we can learn something about ourselves or acknowledge how difficult it is for some of us to express our feelings for someone and handling either rejection or the possibility that this special someone in your life has feelings for you too. 

While the book tackles some difficult topics, I would say 95% of the book is utter fluff and I have no qualms about it. It's a book meant for teenagers and it shows both in the writing and the usage of horrible pop culture references but I believe this book can enjoyable for all ages especially those who had a hard time in middle school and high school. 

We meet Simon who is a junior in high school and he is Gay. No one knows that he is gay except this guy name Blue. Blue is not his real name because he's in the closet too and doesn't want Simon to find out who his real identity is. They exchange emails to each other with fake names and practically they are falling in love based on the stories they share and how they confide in each other with their secrets and them being in the closet.

They meet online through their schools anonymity page on Tumblr (NOT THE TUMBLR JUST TUMBLR!!!!) and ever since then they have become addicted to emailing each other every day talking about any little thing that crosses their minds and constantly flirting with each other and hopefully wishing they could meet up in person someday. All this is bliss and utter pleasure for Simon until he makes the gravest mistake ever, he used the computer in the library and didn't sign out from his email account and now someone has taken a snapshot of his emails and is blackmailing him.

Immediately from the first few pages we learn who the culprit is and his name is Martin whose in the same grade as Simon and they are performing in the same school musical. Simon doesn't have a problem of Martin revealing the news that he is gay but what jeopardizes everything is Blue, his identity could be revealed and not only will he lose a friend/potential boyfriend but ruin his life so he gives in to Martin's demands which is find a way for Martin to hangout with Simon's friend Abby and practically make them boyfriend and girlfriend.

I cannot give anymore details because I will ruin the entire story but I highly recommend everyone to read it. What I found brilliantly about this book is after every chapter that we get insight into Simon's world, we get a whole chapter of Simon and Blues email exchanges. I believe that is part of the reason why I read the book quickly because I cared more about the emails then what was happening with Simon and his friends so it force me in a way to continue reading so I can get to next available chapter of emails.

It's not that I didn't care about Simons world outside of the emails but in many ways I can relate to Simon either by his actions or his personality and he even mentions it at a certain point that these emails have become his life and everything else is a blur and I feel the same way, I live for those intimate email interaction when reading this book. The ending was absolutely perfect and Iw wouldn't want it any other way!

This book was great at showing how different the world is in 21st century and how accepting we have become as a society towards the LGBT community. While there are plenty of obstacles still in the way, for the most part the world we live in now would be considered surreal to our culture 10-20 years ago. 


I knew this was going to happen in the book and I know this wasn't the important aspect in the book but this part would have ended up being utter devastating in real life and ruin Simons life in all aspects. Obviously Martin outed Simon on Tumblr without revealing the emails and while we see how humiliating it was for Simon endure in reality he would have been bullied and lost his chance with Blue.

This is my rant:


While I have a whole other rant about coming out to everyone I got furious about this reveal in the book and I am glad that the author made it a topic to be discussed and I wish schools would talk more on you cannot out someone when they want to remain the closet. At the end of the day you do not know their personal life and how their family and friends might handle it. I know from personal experience that parents sometimes are not ready to accept that their kid is gay when they are a teenager.

Sometimes parents and family members believe that it's the kids friends, school or rather everything else in the world that is influencing their child for being gay and they will do everything to change that so the kid now has lost their friends, moved to a different school, and lives miserable until they are an adult and move out the house. Whereas once the child is an adult and is an healthy relationship then the parents believe oh my child is a grown adult and this is the lifestyle that he/she lives and while we may disapprove nonetheless I want him/her to be happy and end of discussion.

I will admit while I am not proud of it that I was almost Martin at one point of my life. When I was a freshman I became friends with this closeted junior who had feelings for me. At the time I wasn't ready for a relationship and while we remain friends it felt different. Later on in the year when I was finally relaxed in my new environment I let it be known to him that I felt the same way for him and would like to date him. It was awkward and conflicting and we were almost close to being closeted boyfriends but then he ended it in bad terms before it started and wanting to remain friends.

I was sad about the whole experience but still wanted to be friends and a month later after he ended it, he has the balls to tell me that he has the hots for one of the best looking guys in his class and would sacrifice everything to be with him meaning he would come out of the closet for him. I reached a level of anger that I thought was not possible because when we were almost boyfriends he flat out told me that we had to be in the closet because he came out to his parents in 10th grade and it didn't end well and he had take it back but life was never the same for him and I was willing to keep it a secret in order to be with him.

I was lonely, heart broken, humiliated, and full of rage and I wanted revenge. The thought came into my head well if he wants to be with this hot guy and is willing to come out if they dated how about I advance the process along. People around me knew something was different because I was jolly one moment and then weeks later I'm miserable and I didn't exactly tell them the details but I made references about the guy to one person and while no one knew his identity, he overheard the conversation and went into panic mood about whether my friend would tell the world he is gay and all this other drama.

Before he even went into panic mood, I was smart enough to realize that while I wanted him to feel the pain that he caused me I had no right to out him the world. He had siblings in the same high school and I have a feeling they didn't know he was gay and the damage that I would cause would be irreparable and I did't want the guilt of ruining someone's life because if that could happen to him that means someone could do it to me and I would be devastated if someone had outed me. It felt powerful at the time planning my revenge but I am lucky enough to see the errors of my ways and try the high moral ground even though no one would ever know that him & I were in a closeted relationship.

Simon had some awful moments when he was outed to the world and Martin tried to apologize constantly for it because he learned what an awful thing he had did but the damage was done and I love the rant that Simon gave to him and I wish they should have shown more damaging effects to Simon to illustrate to the reader that it's not okay to out someone.


In the end this book isn't perfect and I am a little bias in my rating. I do not know how this author got the idea that you write the tumblr because it sounds so awful that everything I read it that it felt like someone grabbed a pencil and stabbed me in the eye every time. While the story is about Simon, we get great character develop for some of his friends but for other minor characters they are poorly developed and even one particular character disappears for the last 50 pages of the book and the resolve isn't great especially since this character is best friends with Simon and others. I believe if I wasn't gay then I would have rated it 4 stars because of the pop culture references and the constant use of "the tumblr"

It drove me nuts because grammatically it would still be just Tumblr. I believe the author was trying to stay hip and modern with the times but making references about Kanye West, Tumblr, and other celebrities were just atrocious and I am surprised she didn't mention the Kardashians at all. I believe another reason it drove me crazy is because I was just a teenager a few years ago and this book while written in 2015, it's really meant for generations of 2009-2015 and I didn't feel like the author truly took me back in time and bring heartfelt memories of my youth. I was expecting to be crying and feel like my life has completely changed like when I read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe but with this book I was just entertained and laughing at the silliness of it all. 

I would definitely reread this book in a heart beat and the author was brilliant at addressing topics of coming out and the insecurities that we feel when we like someone regardless of our gender. We are humans and we make mistakes and we see that through Simons interaction with others. I never thought a woman could ever get inside my head as a gay man but this woman wrote dialogues between Simon and Blue that are areas that I am constantly thinking about when it comes to my love life and dealing with loneliness. There's this unspoken dialogue amongst gay people when it comes to the insecurities we deal with in our daily lives and I applaud the author for putting that on paper what I am constantly thinking about ever since I was 14 years old.

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