The other day, my friend Melissa, forwarded an Amazon link for a book, Becky Albertalli’s ‘Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda,’ asking if I had read it. Well, I had not even heard of it, never mind read it. But, I read the description and for 1.99, I have had worse purchases in my life, so instinctively I just dove in and bought it. And since I have been in a reading rut, I started it right away, hoping I would be drawn instantly. Well, I was, thankfully, and now Albertalli’s book has emerged as one of my favorites for 2015: a five star rarity for me.
Simon is a junior in high school, and he is closeted. One day on the school’s gossip Tumblr account, he chances upon a kindred spirit, and he two of them start emailing each other. He confesses to this guy, “Blue,” that he is gay. Blue is, too, and they start having an exchange, and dare be it – they start falling in love. But of course, they don’t really know each other. And besides, a classmate of his chances upon their exchanges and tries to blackmail Simon into helping him out with his friend Abby, in exchange for not releasing the information about his orientation.
Fine, hilarity ensue, right? But I found this novel poignant, and there were instances wherein I just found myself tearing up while I was reading it. Maybe I felt that pang of being young, unsure, infatuated, confused: everything a teen feels, that insurmountable thing that takes over yoru life when you are young and in love. This book captures that feeling exquisitely, and it doesn’t patronize or trivialize that feeling. The book is very in-the-now, and gave me a peek inside a young person’s mind in this day and age. The book starts kind of slow, but around the forty percent mark, picks up, and I think I finished the last book in one sitting, and now the characters still haunt me.
I read on the Amazon page that the book has been getting accolade (Long list for the National Book Award) and that’s good to hear because this book, and Simon’s voice deserves to be heard. Thank you, my friend Melissa, for bringing my attention to the book.