2018 Reading Challenge, Book 18 – Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Hi, Hey, Hello!

Now if you at all remember what my reading list was for the months of March and April then this book coming at this time would be as a surprise. If you don’t remember, well here it is and as you can see this book does not feature on it at all. In fact there have been a fair few changes to this list to be honest, in that I just threw a whole bunch of books into the mix and made them top priority.

And also I came to the realisation that the film of this was coming out imminently and for some reason it felt bizarre to watch the film before I read the book that was sitting just upstairs on my bedroom floor.

So I took it with me to Amsterdam and read a cool 200 pages on the second leg of my train journey out there. And then I finished the final 100 pages in about 40 minutes the following morning.

I loved this book.

It was a really great read.

It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It was so cute and sweet and nice and just all those lovely things. It made me feel so happy. It was a total contrast to Call Me By Your Name. I didn’t intentionally read two of the LGBT* novels on my list back to back, it just sort of happened that way and it meant that the contrast was just there naturally in my head. This one came with a lot less angst at being gay and was more just your typical rom-com in book form. I love me one of those. And to be honest, I had read quite a few heavy books and so to have one that was kind of light and fluffy was exactly the kind of reading balm that I needed.

Simon himself was funny, I loved reading from his point of view. He felt like a friend or something. He was relatable in a lot of ways. What I liked about him most was that him being gay whilst yes, was a part of his narrative, was not this huge part of him. The thing that annoyed him the most was that he had the ability to tell his narrative the way that he wanted to taken from him. He found the idea that he had to ‘come out’ annoying more than anything just because it felt like it shouldn’t be necessary. Which made sense. On a slight tangent the idea of what the default should be was interesting. Especially when who Blue was was revealed because Simon had just defaulted in his head to thinking that he would be white.

I also liked the relationship that he had with his friends. I found the idea that he found there to be some kind of block with telling people that had known him the longest the hardest to come out to. I get why Leah reacted the way that she did, but I could also see where he was coming from. I found the relationship that he had with his parents and sisters interesting as well. He clearly came from a loving family but I liked that he still dealt with that grappling of who he was and how his parents would react. Just because of the tiny comments that were made as though they were nothing but I guess over time build when they relate to your identity. Which meant that I really liked the moment when Simon and his dad had a little heart to heart, in a similar (but also totally different) way to Call Me By Your Name had one.

I enjoyed how complicated his ‘friendship’ was with Mark. How it came from a place of blackmail but then just from repeat exposure it became something that was almost a friendship but then ultimately fell apart because Mark is an idiot. I appreciated that he did actually apologise to Simon but also it felt a bit flat. I don’t know, I felt like that arc was really good until it just wasn’t. It’s not even that it was bad, it just didn’t quite go the way that I wanted it to.

Now, let’s talk about Blue. And Simon.

First of all I liked that the emails just started in the middle. There was no set up, you’re just dropped into the emails and then you’re off. I then found reading their emails a highly entertaining experience. They were a personal highlight of the book for me. It was impressive how much of a fleshed out character Blue felt even though for the most part you only know who he is via those emails. I’m not gonna lie, I feel like I did kind of know from quite early on who Blue was, but that’s only because I read it in an environment where the film’s release is imminent and so it is kind of everywhere and I vaguely remember the casting of it all. However that didn’t really affect the reading of it and I still found the reveal at the carnival cute.

My overall feeling with this book, as you may have guessed, is that it was cute. I enjoyed it. It came with warm fuzzy feelings and was a nice gentle read that was just what I needed. I would for sure recommend this book to everyone. It’s a good book. I’m excited at the prospect of a sequel and also at reading Albertalli’s other work (I am hype for her collab with Adam Silvera later in the year) and I don’t think that’s a bad state to be in when it comes to finishing a book.

4/5 stars

Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!

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Sophie

Sophie, twenty-something, avid reader, writer, really good at watching whole seasons of TV shows in one weekend and using 10 words where 5 will do, overzealous user of the ellipsis and parentheses, starts too many sentences with ‘and’ and ‘so’, living in a continual state of Wanderlust.

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