Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Book Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

You may have seen and enjoyed the movie, “Love, Simon,” but you must read the novel it’s based on: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. The book is so much better.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the story… (from the publisher):

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 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.

Incredibly funny and poignant, this twenty-first-century coming-of-age, coming out story—wrapped in a geek romance—is a knockout of a debut novel by Becky Albertalli.

First: the book. The voice is amazing and authentic. The reader is brought along on Simon’s ride, trying to figure out Blue’s identity among the other kids in his class. The scene where Abby and Nick take Simon out was hilarious and heartwarming (and heartbreaking because it wasn’t in the movie – more on that in a moment).

All of the characters seemed very real and I liked how Simon’s family was portrayed as supportive but also, in some ways, flawed. Just like real families! I loved Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and I can’t wait to read more from Becky Albertalli.

As for the movie vs. the book, there’s a great spoiler-laden write-up of the biggest differences between the book and the movie. I think the book handled ALL of these better, in ways that increased tension, deepened character and made the relationships more authentic.

I understand why movies have to make tough choices to condense a novel down to two hours, but some of the changes (the musical in the book is “Oliver,” but in the movie it’s “Cabaret”) seemed unnecessary.

3 Replies to “Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda”

  1. […] backlist and picked up The Upside of Unrequited, which is book two of the Simonverse (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is the first, and Leah on the Offeat is the third and final […]

  2. […] on the Offbeat is the final installment of Becky Albertalli‘s Simonverse. It started with Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, left the Atlanta burbs for Washington, DC in The Upside of Unrequited, and returns to Creekside […]

  3. […] is a wonderful and fitting farewell to the world and characters introduced by Becky Albertalli in Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. This epistolary novella is told through a collection of group emails between Simon, Bram, Leah, […]

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