Review of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. the Homo sapiens Agenda is a young adult fiction novel. It is written by Becky Albertalli who is a clinical psychologist. This novel is ultimately about two people who fall in love and, through this process, the main character comes into acceptance with his identity. The novel discusses issues about sexual orientation, blackmail, social media and high school. The title of the novel, which is a bit odd at first glance, came from a conversation between two characters in the novel, which originally started out as the "Homosexual Agenda" (Albertalli 147). However, it changed to "Homo sapiens Agenda" (148). The Homo sapiens Agenda are people that fit the mold of "Straight (and white, for that matter) is the default" (147). The title is now clear, and also explains a little about the topic of the novel. It is Simon vs. those who fit the mold. The reader meets the main character, Simon, who is gay, but not "out" yet, and he lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He has an email relationship with a friend nicknamed Blue, who is also gay, but not "out" yet either. Simon's classmate, Martin, blackmails Simon, and indirectly, Blue, about their sexual orientation, ready to spill their secret to the school, unless Simon is Martins' wingman.

The author keeps the reader captivated with an interesting love while telling the story of a character who is finding his identity. Albertalli's characters are realistic part of the time, and although her audience is for young adult readers; it is not for all young adults. The love story of this novel captivates readers, because it is about people falling in love via email, and not knowing the other's identity. Jacques and Blue are alisas used for the two. It is a young love story that is expressed throughout the book. Those young love feelings, when one begins a relationship, are a roller coaster of emotions. Simon the main character says, "I'm this close to making out with my laptop screen. Blue Blue Blue Blue Blue Blue Blue" (130). The reader also gets captivated, because he keeps asking "who is Blue.?" As the mystery continues, the connection between these two people grow, which in turn makes the reader want to know who the character Blue is even more. Simon writes an email and tells Blue "I want to know who you are" (149). The love story is mainly what keeps one interested throughout the book.

All of the authors' characters are realistic to a degree. These characters have multiple characteristics that make them believable. For example, these characters blackmail each other, have social media accounts, go to a public high school and their sexual orientation is different from one another. One of the reasons, the characters seem believable, is that when Simon writes to Blue, he says what most people think, but do not necessarily say. For example, Simon sent an email to Blue writing about middle school, and said, "Remember the way people would look at you and blankly stare and say, 'Um Okaaay,' after you finished talking. Everyone just had to make it so clear that, whatever you were thinking or feeling, you were totally alone. (14). All the characters in the novel have their own identity and unique features that make them who they are. Some of the conversations these characters have are a bit unrealistic though. The conversations through the emails between the main character and the character nicknamed Blue, the receiver of those emails, are happy and flirty. There is hardly any disagreement between the two ever. Simon writes, "I'm glad I was cute and grammatical" (89). These characters also participate in/dress up for "Gender Bender" day, and in the real world, some schools do have days like those. Other people take a stand by not participating in these "Gender Bender" days at all, like a character in the book does. The identities for all the characters in the book are realistic; however what they always say and do, may not seem accurate. For example, homework does not appear a lot, the students seem to be focusing on the play only.

Young adults are the intended audience for the novel; it is not for all young adults. The novel is for those young adults that enjoy a love story or want to read about acceptance with one's identity. Readers that love those kinds of books about acceptance would definitely enjoy Albertallis' novel, but some young adults would not like this love story, because some characters in the novel are gay. Or, because the novel brings up real problems in the world today. This novel would not be for older adults or young teens, because the older audience would not relate to the book or have any interest in it, and a younger audience most likely would not find the story either relatable or care at all.

In conclusion, the novel tells a good love story with a mysterious character involved and tells the story of the main character who is trying to find his own identity. The novel has realistic characters, and the novel should be read by those who are trying to find their own identity. This is not a must read book, but it is about love and acceptance with oneself, which is something readers can relate to, learn from, or connect with. The book is carefree and enjoyable to read, but not to be taken seriously.


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