Thursday 2 April 2015

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Review: Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (#Ad)

Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky AlbertalliSimon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

I was sent this review copy for free by Penguin for the purpose of providing an honest review.

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.
From Goodreads

I fell in love with the sound of Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli when I first heard about it. It sounded so cute, with this romance and yet intriguing because of the blackmail and how that would pan out. I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it as much as I expected.

Simon has a secret romance with the mysterious Blue, a boy from his school he emails all the time, who's identity is unknown. When Martin discovers his emails after Simon forget to log out of his email account at school, Martin blackmails him; Simon has to help Martin get in with a shot with his friend Abby, or Martin will show people the screen shots he took of the emails. If it's not bad enough that Simon will be outed before he's ready, his fragile relationship with the very private Blue will be in jeopardy. If this gets out, everything will be ruined, but can he allow himself to be blackmailed?

The thing with hype is it usually makes things out to be better than they are. Or rather, because of the hype, I expect Great Things, and feel let down when I don't get the huge amounts of amazing I am expecting. If Simon Vs wasn't so hyped about, or if I was oblivious to the hype, I think I would have probably enjoyed this a whole lot more. But I picked it up with expectations, and sadly, it just didn't meet them. Hype should not be listened to.

This is not to say that Simon Vs is a bad book; it's not. It's sweet, it's funny, it's actually really bloody adorable, with Simon and Blue's emails being just about the cutest thing ever. I loved their blossoming romance, and how fragile it was. Blue is so very private, and was so scared things wouldn't be as great if they knew who each other was. Simon really wanted to meet him, get to know him in person, but Blue was scared that once they did, that would be the end of it - what if they don't like each other in real life? Blue is so very careful. And Simon really tries to respect his wishes, but it's hard when he so badly wants to get things off the screen and into real life. They were so cute, it's adorable.

The blackmailing was so stupid. Martin is such a twerp. He wasn't even hardcore mean or anything, just an opportunist. And he was, at times, even likable, so for him to do something like this... it wasn't great. It was awful, with Simon really frustrated with him, but god, what can he do?! This is his thing, it's for him to decide to who, how and when he comes out to people, but Martin is threatening to take this out of his hands just to be in with a chance to date Abby. It was just so ridiculous. Not story or plot-wise, just for Martin to think this is a good idea. Really annoyed me.

But otherwise... not much happens. There's the musical a few of them are in, there are a few arguments with friends, and stuff, but there's nothing major, at least not for a good long while. And when things do happen, as crappy as they were, they're not as big as I expected. I worked out fairly early on who Blue was, it was pretty obvious in my opinion. And although I was gripped by the book, most of the time I was just waiting to find out if Martin would do anything, if Simon will find out who Blue is, and what would happen between Simon and Blue, if anything. And when we do find out the answers to these things, again, it wasn't as "Wow!" as I was expecting. There are some quite nice quotes and ideas here and there, too, but overall, I really did feel kind of let down by this book, which is sad, because I was so looking forward to it. I should definitely steer clear of hype from now on.

There have been a number of people who have loved Simon Vs, so please do read some other reviews before deciding whether or not to read this - you might actually love it.

Thank you to Penguin for the review copy.

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Published: 7th April 2015
Publisher: Penguin
Becky Albertalli's Website


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