When I heard that there was a book with a main character that loved Oreos and just so happened to be LGBT. I was there. As both an Oreo lover (the original Oreo) and a gay man I thought what better book to start off my Pride month with than “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli.
I went into the book hearing a lot of similar opinions about how this book was a quick, cute, and relatable read. Luckily, for me those opinions rang true. We start off the book with our main character, Simon, being blackmailed by another student. This student is using Simon’s private and anonymous emails with a mysterious boy that goes to the same school to get a date with one of Simon’s friends. After this it is a whirlwind of drama, paranoia, betrayal, and acceptance ensues.
Albertalli mixes the traditional novel format and email messages to tell the story and expand the world, leaving only the tiniest of hints between the lines. I found myself wondering, in the small moments, if Becky Albertalli was reading my personal journal from high school and using my experiences to shape our dear Simon. I laughed at myself, because I remember feeling the way Simon did about a lot of things in my own life.
It was nostalgic and new all at the same time. There are moments where you as the reader are anticipating the answer to the question that from the very beginning goes unanswered. You will find yourself playing detective bouncing back and forth between the email exchanges and Simon’s point of view trying to figure out who this mystery boy is just as much as Simon does.
Simon and his friends are all just trying to figure out love and high school and where they all fit in with all of that. The magic that Albertalli is able to weave into the small moments of the plot makes this read so relatable on so many levels. Wither that be: feeling left out of the group, unrequited love, trying to figure out who is attracted to the same sex, or realizing, for the first time, that your friends are kind of attractive. I had so much fun reading this book and I highly recommend you read it too. It was a pleasure to read and it keeps you wanting to turn the page with every word.