This weekend, I fell in love with a book.
As a comic book reader, who only occasionally dips in and out of non-fiction novels, falling in love with an actual book is not something I do all that often. In fact, I’ve come across very few books that I’ve ever found any real connection with.
It’s not the fault of the books, you understand, it’s totally me. My brain seems to be wired up in such a way that whenever I try to read a novel of any real length, my mind starts to wander and I rapidly loose interest – which is odd considering how much I enjoy reading.
So, when I say I fell in love with a book then know this is the real deal. 100% legit. We’ve already picked out curtains, next weekend we’re off to buy a dog and within the next fortnight I’ll be booking a church for the big day.
You’re invited of course.
The book that I fell in love with is Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (now a major motion picture). I’m reading the book because the movie adaptation – Love, Simon – hits UK cinemas in just a couple of weeks and by all accounts both the film and the book are fab.
I actually bought the book for my other half – who has so far read about 90 pages (just under a third of the book). Although I planned to wait my turn before giving it a read, a brief flick through the first few pages got me hooked and I found myself compelled to finish it.
Again, this almost never happens.
For those who aren’t familiar with Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the book follows the story of high school student, Simon Spier – a teenager coming to terms with his sexuality. Simon is gay, but as he’s not out to his friends and family yet, he’s walking around with a secret that nobody knows about. Well, nobody except ‘Blue’.
‘Blue’ is a pseudonym used by another high school student, only Simon doesn’t know which one. As the pair only communicate via email ‘Blue’ could effectively be anyone, causing Simon to second guess those closest to him as he wonders what his digital confidant really looks like.
Over the course of countless emails the pair develop a growing attraction, but is it genuine love or just the circumstances of their situation that’s bringing them together? And more importantly how long is it going to be before Simon’s secret gets out in the open?
Told from Simon’s perspective, with chapters alternating between day-to-day events and email conversations with ‘Blue’, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a beautiful and heartfelt tale of love and acceptance from a teen P.O.V. The story is written to read/sound exactly how a teenager would speak and think (hey, I just about remember being a teenager) and this makes for a fun and effortless read from start to finish.
And speaking of reading from start to finish, while I could have easily devoured this book in one sitting (it is a young adult book after all) I must admit I purposely stopped at the halfway point during my initial read. Why? Because the more I got into the story, the more I loved reading about Simon & ‘Blue’s’ relationship and of course that worried me. All relationships have rocky times and I didn’t want that to get in the way of this potential romance.
Through their email conversations Simon & ‘Blue’ created this perfect bubble, free of outside forces, so I simply wanted to hold onto those good times as long as possible, just in case things went sour.
Hey, I’m an old romantic at heart and I also worry a lot.
When I did pick the book up again (the next day), I found myself instantly drawn back into Simon & ‘Blue’s’ relationship. And with each passing email my heart skipped a beat as the pair learned a little more about each other, getting ever closer to revealing the truth about ‘Blue’s’ identity.
Oh, it was just so lovely. It’s rare that I say a book is lovely.
Earlier, when I said I was an “old romantic at heart”, I was just joking – I’m actually completely dead inside. Like completely. But this story did manage to warm the cockles of my heart and I liked it.
Maybe this is the start of a whole new appreciation for romance novels?
Anyway, I’ve not been a teenager for *cough* quite some time now, so I was surprised at how much this tale resonated with me. I’ve no doubt others who have read the book will say the same thing, but I feel it needs to be said by me too. So yes, it resonated.
The story taps into that first flush of excitement you get when you start a relationship while also dealing with that whole pesky procedure of ‘coming out’. Combining the two milestones makes for an interesting read and of course adds another wrinkle to the awkwardness of adolescence.
The true strength of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is the way in which Albertalli approaches the characters and the situation. Although she recognises that kids are more accepting today, she makes sure to note that the idea of coming out is still the same as it always was – pretty scary stuff really. The author understands the experience and conveys the whole situation in a way that just works perfectly.
Plus, romantic comedy – who doesn’t love that?
If it can move me it can move you too.
DEAD INSIDE – remember?
So, yes – I’m completely besotted with this book and I recommend it.
And of course, you don’t need to be gay to enjoy Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. You also don’t need to be gay to attend my forthcoming nuptials to this paperback. You just have to agree not to tell my husband – he’d get very cranky.