Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

You know those books that stalk you? The ones that you see everywhere you go? In the library or the bookstore or while you’re surfing the web… This book is one of those. I had it on my wishlist on Amazon and when it went on sale, I picked it up immediately.

Simon is being blackmailed. Unfortunately, he was logged into a school computer and another student got into his email and screenshot some of his messages. These messages reveal his hidden sexual orientation, and Martin threatens to out Simon if he doesn’t help him in his pursuit of one of Simon’s friends. Over the course of Simon’s junior year of high school in suburban Atlanta, the narrative is told through his own point of view and through those emails he sends to that anonymous boy with whom he shares his thoughts and feelings with. It is a touching coming-of-age story about friendship, coming out, and young love.

Not only does Simon have to navigate high school classes, cliques, and the drama production, he needs to manage how everyone else will deal with his secret. Who will he tell first? His oldest friends, his sisters, his parents, his new friends… The pressure is unbearable and all this is happening while he is falling for this anonymous “friend.”

I found Simon’s voice to be realistic and was taken by his descriptions of his “firsts.” Drinking alcohol, kissing someone he really wants to kiss, a pubic drama performance. It all is raw high school emotion. It’s a tough read at times to experience these emotional ordeals along with him. Even though his fear of coming out mostly centers on others’ reactions, it is refreshing to see the support he garners from his circle of friends and family.

This is a book I will definitely be recommending to my students. Read this if you are looking for a book that is a genuine and authentic. A really great read. A page-turner for so many reasons.

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