Becky Albertalli’s debut novel Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda was listed as one of the best YA novels of 2015 by the Wall Street Journal and won the William C. Morris Award from the American Library Association. And why not? It’s an irresistible and engrossing story from start to finish.
The title protagonist Simon Spier is a sixteen-year-old student at a high school somewhere in Atlanta, Georgia. He’s also secretly gay and has been carrying on an email correspondence with a male student known only as “Blue”. When a fellow classmate, Martin, discovers the emails, he threatens to out Simon unless Simon fixes him up with his (Simon’s) friend Abby. As Simon’s relationship with Blue continues to develop, his fears of being found out by family and friends start to gnaw at him, until…
Well written and plotted, Simon has a terrific cast of characters including Simon’s friends Leah, Nick & the aforementioned Abby, some of whom have secrets of their own. The adults, including Simon’s parents, are depicted believably, and the various situations Simon finds himself in are shown as alternately funny and seriously suspenseful. The book ends with a touching climax that will brighten any reader’s day. (No, the recently released movie version of the book, retitled Love, Simon, does not get it right!) Check out Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda for a great example of storytelling!
And yes, there’s a sequel too!