After accidentally not logging out of his e-mail account on the school library computer, Simon Spier finds himself being blackmailed by fellow classmate Martin. Martin wants Simon to play wingman with Abby, the popular new girl at school and help Martin get the inside track on a date with her. Simon goes along because what Martin saw could not only force Simon to come out of the closet sooner than he’d like to but also drive away his new anonymous pen-pal and crush.
Becky Albertalli’s debut novel Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a delightful, honest and funny coming of age story. I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this one and I’ve got to say that the novel more than lived up to it. While it did take a chapter or two to get know Simon as our first person narrator, I soon found myself caught up in his world and his concerns. It’s not that Simon wants to hide who he is, but he wants to be the one to tell the world about exactly who is he and not have it leaked out on a school Tumblr page as a piece of gossip for everyone else.
Like Simon, I kept guessing as the exact identity of the anonymous crush and I’ll give Albertalli a lot of credit for creating several scenarios and friendships for Simon that could be the identity of the person on the other end of the computer. By focusing on Simon and his successes and failures, the story comes across as authentic and Simon comes across an authentic teenager.
As I said before, this one is getting a lot of good buzz out there and I was a bit worried it might not live up to it. It does. It may even exceed the buzz. It takes a sensitive subject and deals with it honestly, really and with Simon’s often delightful sense of humor. Give this one a try. You’ll probably enjoy it.