Gay kid trying to figure out identity of secret online boyfriend/schoolmate

I wrote this review when I first read the book, but apparently I only posted it to Goodreads, not here. It just won a major national award, so congrats! That sounds like a good excuse to post the review to WordPress.

I love mysteries, so I had a lot of fun with the mystery that Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda ended up being — namely, the identity of the protagonist’s anonymous pen-pal, the other gay kid at school, who he’s fallen in love with via email. I can’t really take credit for “seeing it coming” because, while the eventual reveal was one of my guesses, I’d had SEVERAL over the course of the book because that’s how a good mystery unravels! I was happy with the answer. In fact, it’s probably the answer I would have been happiest with, so she set it up well. He was kind of adorable 🙂

The whole ‘falling in love over email because then your relationship is 100% based on conversation instead of how you look or sound’ aspect really appealed to me because that’s how my spouse and I started out. We weren’t anonymous, but starting out in fandom and communicating primarily through emails/posts and then on the phone guaranteed that our relationship started from a sturdy foundation of soul-to-soul, just as Simon and Blue’s does in the book. It’s magical to fall in love with someone’s soul before you let how they look clutter up your interaction.

I also enjoyed all the friend dynamics in the book. This isn’t just a book about a gay kid with a crush, he’s got an active and thriving friend circle that’s constantly evolving, as real ones do, and a lot of his time is taken up in the school play. And living in Florida made me appreciate the references to Publix, a local but extremely successful supermarket chain. (Book takes place just outside Atlanta.)

The author did a great job of explaining how well-meaning allies (in this case, Simon’s dad) can still make us feel weird with the wrong kind of jokes.

Happy for the Jewish and bisexual representation in the book (as a bi woman it’s a relief to me when gay YA treats bisexuality fairly because that’s the age where kids learn whether or not people are “allowed” to feel attraction to multiple genders simultaneously), and it seems to be solid with its other diverse representation although those are the only ones I can speak for myself.

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About Shira

Queer Jewish feminist author
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