Thursday, 14 May 2015

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

This book. I want to elope with this book. It was wonderful.

I've been hearing good things about this book for a while and it caught my eye last time I was perusing Waterstones. When I picked it up for a closer look I noticed the front had a quote describing it as the love child of Rainbow Rowell and John Green, which was the final push I needed to go for it and buy it. Add onto this the fact that the woman at the till got very excited about me buying it and kept telling me how good it was and I was suitably excited! And let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

I pretty much loved every second of reading this. I've been having a bit of a YA book buying splurge recently because I got out of the swing of reading this genre when I was at uni and this book epitomises why I'm so happy I started reading YA books again. 

Basic plot is this: Simon is 16 and gay. The only person he's talked to about this is Blue. Blue and Simon go to the same school and are both in the closet but they don't know each other's real identities as they only correspond through email. Unfortunately, these emails end up in the wrong hands and Simon ends up being blackmailed. Hijinks and general adorableness ensues!

Sometimes I get the craving to read something non-heterosexual. I don't usually have anything more specific than that; I just want to read a really good book with an interesting plot and good writing where the protagonist just happens to not be straight. I was in one of these moods when I picked this up, having completely forgotten what the blurb said about it, so was immensely pleased when I realised that I had inadvertently satisfied my craving by pure chance. It turned out to be everything that I had been wanting to read.

The writing style is fun and engaging and I ended up speeding through the book in probably about 24 hours. The comparisons to Rowell and Green are very accurate. It's very fun to read with lots of jokes and references to things and some lovely moments of expression thrown in as well. I found Simon very likeable and the romance with Blue was just utterly adorable. Seriously, I cannot even with their emails. I know it's fictional but it makes me feel embarrassed about my lack of flirting ability when fictional 16 year olds are able to be so adorable and romantic and honest with each other and able to navigate waters that I am hopeless at. I mean read this: "He talked about the ocean between people. And how the whole point of everything is to find a shore worth swimming to". 

But that is kind of the point and one of the reasons why the story grabbed me so much. Simon and Blue are able to be so honest and open with each other precisely because they don't know who the other is. It knocks down those walls and allows them to pour out their feelings and connect, even when it's scary: "there's something about you that makes me want to open up, and that's slightly terrifying to me". I loved being able to glimpse into this. Their emails are light hearted and fun and flirty but they're also genuine and intimate and I loved reading them. At one point Simon says: "I think I like that we got to meet each other from the inside out". I liked it too. That being said, they are both gigantic dorks. 

There is more to this story than the romance, although that is a big part of it. I liked the extended cast of characters and I particularly enjoyed seeing them try to navigate their changing relationships to each other. When people grow up they change which means that the nature of their relationships with others also changes and this book explored that a bit with some of the friendships, which I enjoyed. 

I'm so torn whilst I write this because, on the one hand, I just want to include all of the quotes that gave me feels so that anyone reading this review will understand why I loved it so much, but on the other hand I don't want to take away any of the experience of reading them in context. Just go away and read this book and then come back to me and we can talk about it. That would be great.

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