Simon says, “Read this book”

Imani Whyte, Staff Writer

A perfect blend of humor and heartbreak, Becky Albertalli’s novel, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, takes a different approach to capture the complexities of coming out as a teen in a world that still grapples with its acceptance of homosexuality. 

In this gay coming of age novel, Simon, a closeted junior, spends his days preparing for a musical and emailing an anonymous gay teen named Blue. After these emails fall into the wrong hands, Simon is blackmailed by Martin and forced to become his wingman or risk his sexual identity becoming known to everyone. 

Critics have brought up that even though the novel briefly addresses the topic of race, Albertalli presents a white upper middle class perspective of homosexuality and coming out that isn’t intersectional. However, Albertalli, also normalizes homosexuality by not making it the center of the novel, and she gives queer teenagers the access to a teen romance story that is normally only available to straight teenagers. 

Albertalli uses humor to balance out the emotional turmoil of the story. The novel unconventionally starts right in the action. It is an extremely quick read and extremely hard to put down. Albertalli uses simple prose and curse words to capture the authenticity of how teenagers talk, and she is able to immerse the reader into the story.

It is almost impossible to not fall in love with the wittiness of the story. These words that Simon says wrap up my experience with the novel, “There are times when it’s actually more work not to smile.”