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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Title: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli

Release Date: 7th April 2015

My Rating: 5/5

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

In a Nutshell:
The Tales Compendium wishes to apologise for the excessive use of the words ‘awesome’ ‘adorable’ and ‘loved’ in this review.

My Review:
Over the past few months I have seen countless people rave about how awesome Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is. I’m so pleased to now be able to join in on the love fest because Simon lived up to my highly set expectations and left me in desperate need of more.

My first thought upon finishing was, “Well that was freakin’ adorable!”. I pretty much had a smile on my face the entire length of the novel. I love Simon’s quirky but cool music taste, his absolute love of Harry Potter, and his devotion to Oreos (they really should be in a food group all of their own!).

“As a side note, don’t you think everyone should have to come out? Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it should be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.”

There is such a wonderful cast of characters throughout the novel: Nick, Leah and Abby, Simon’s family, the Theatre Club kids and Nick’s soccer mates. Each character has something that draws you to them and I think there is someone for everyone to identify with. Each character could potentially fit into a high school cliché group/label yet they are all friends and I love that each person is recognised for who they are rather than their perceived differences. Or perhaps I’m reading too much into it. Either way, they are all awesome :D Yay for supporting characters!

“It’s Saturday, we’re in an empty, dark school, and we’re a bunch of theatre kids wearing pyjamas and jacked up on donuts. We end up singing Disney songs in the stairwell. Abby weirdly knows every word to every song in Pocahontas, and everyone knows The Lion King and Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. Taylor can improvise harmonies, and I guess we’re all warmed up from singing the Oliver! songs, because it just sounds really amazing. And the acoustics in the stairwell are freaking awesome.”

And then of course there’s Blue, who I was so smitten with when his identity was finally revealed. And I love that I didn’t pick who it was beforehand but when we learn who he is, he’s just perfect.

“He talked about the ocean between people. And how the whole point of everything is to find a shore worth swimming to. I mean, I just had to know him.” 

While reading, two-thirds of which was on a flight to Melbourne, I had to stop myself from laughing out loud and I was constantly putting the book down to take note of quotes and scenes I loved.

Speaking of scenes, I loved when Simon’s family were all together, doing their random family traditions like watching and commentating on The Bachelorette each week, or playing Facebook Scavenger Hunt over Christmas break. It sounded pretty fun actually, where someone picks a category, like a breakup, and then each person logs onto their account and the first person to find someone on their feed who has broken up, then gets to pick the next category.

The long running family joke that the three siblings are the chipmunks since their parents named them Alice, Simon and Eleanor (for those of you too young to know them, the cartoon chipmunks are Alvin, Simon and Theodore) was pretty adorable too.

“It’s actually warm enough for hoodies and pyjama pants and leftover ice cream cake and Scattergories.” 

An evening in the Spier’s household sounds like a pretty perfect evening I think!

As I said before, I didn’t want Simon to end, I was just so happy being in Simon’s world. What would make me really happy though is a companion novel featuring either Alice or Nora, Simon’s sisters. They both appear to have interesting stories to tell and I really wanted to spend more time with them.

Anyway, go read this book if you haven’t already because if you haven’t figured it out yet, here’s a hint: It’s awesome. Becky Albertalli, I’ll read anything you write.

The Tales Compendium wishes to apologise for the excessive use of the words ‘awesome’ ‘adorable’ and ‘loved’ in this review.
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