“Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn't be this big awkward thing whether you're straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I'm just saying.” ― Becky Albertalli, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Greetings Bibliophiles, this month I’m recommending Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda (A.K.A Love, Simon) by Becky Albertalli. I’d been meaning to recommend this book for quite a while, and with the recent release of the movie, I figured there’s no time like the present. I read this book directly after Call Me By Your Name, and it was really interesting comparing a coming of age tale set in the 1980’s to one set in present day. I’m overjoyed to finally see stories like these make their way into mainstream pop culture, literature and cinema. If I could have got my hands on a copy of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda or went to see a movie like Love, Simon when I was 16, I could have saved myself a lot of turmoil.
Simon aptly points out that everyone deserves a great love story and that is exactly what he has given us. For me, that’s what makes this story so relevant and important. I think that it’s vital that every group of people are represented in mainstream media. We all need role models that we can relate to, it’s through relating that we connect, and at the end of the day isn’t that what everyone desires, to connect? If we aren’t given representation, we feel isolated and alone, in some cases even unworthy. This is why I am so glad that kids growing up today have stories like this one.
Simon Spier is your typical 16-year-old, but he’s hiding one huge-ass secret. He hasn’t told anyone he’s gay. He’s pretty sure that everyone will be OK with it, but he’s a little resentful that he has to come-out in the first place, he believes straight people should be subjected to the awkwardness of coming-out too. He has a close relationship with his parents, sisters and friends, but the only person that he feels he can be fully honest with is Blue.
Simon met Blue on the schools Tumblr page, creeksecrets. They have been emailing for months but have no idea who one another are. They began emailing after Simon came upon a post Blue made revealing he was gay. Blue is a very private person, even more so than Simon, but under the guise of anonymity the pair are able to open up to one another. Simon is desperate to uncover Blue’s identity, but he’s careful not to push, afraid he’ll lose him altogether.
Enter narrative conflict, i.e. Martin.
Simon always thought of Martin Addison as a bit of a clown, somewhat of a school mascot, slightly irritating but harmless. His opinion quickly changes when Martin reveals a more sinister side of his character. After Simon carelessly leaves his email account open on a school computer, Martin discovers his secret and uses it to blackmail him. Martin has a crush on Simon’s friend Abby and agrees to keep his secret if Simon helps him get a foot in the door with her. Simon is now at his mercy and is forced to manipulate the personal lives of his closest friends at Martins request.
This book not only offers a strong, relatable protagonist, but also an array of well rounded and interesting characters, from Simons family, to his friends Leah, Abby, Cal and Bram. The mystery of Blues identity makes for a real page turner. It’s one of those books that you’ll want to finish in two sittings. The author offers a fresh, witty and heartfelt take on the coming of age tale. Her background in psychology was clearly implemented in the creation of these well penned, three dimensional, authentic characters. Fans of authors like John Green, David Levithan and Rainbow Rowell will adore her style and devour this story.
This story is relevant, inspiring, witty and romantic AF. It’s mystery, humour and heart will have you begging for more. A must read, and a must see at the cinema. The cast and director do an amazing job. Until next time, may your days be filled with peace, love & poetry.
"White shouldn't be the default any more that Straight should be the default. There shouldn't even be a default." ― Becky Albertalli, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens AgendaGreetings