Book Review: Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda (by Becky Albertalli)

16th June, 2015. (Written at 4:59am)

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
A few weeks after Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda was first released in April 2015, I rushed to the nearest bookstore to get a copy. However, other book nerds beat me to it and all copies were sold out in all branches. So I went to the next bookstore; they don’t have it yet. I then told myself, “it’s okay, maybe next week they’ll have new sets of copies.” About two weeks later, I went back to the bookstore, a different branch this time and guess what, it’s still fucking sold out! It was then that I started wondering if maybe these people order only about ten copies for all fifty branches! I was starting to feel a bit frustrated because I have been inching to get a copy ever since I found out about it on Epic Reads’ Tea Time. But since I was born with unlimited patience level, I waited for yet another week, hoping I’d get a copy this time because I will be visiting another branch. Maybe they have a copy there.

It was June 7th that I went to the mall near the arena where Idina Menzel was going to have a concert (where me and my friend will be watching) a few hours earlier so we can have an early dinner and avoid traffic. What I didn’t tell my friend was that I wanted to get there early because I wanted to drop by the bookstore to see if they have a copy of ‘Simon’ there. I headed straight to their Young Adult section and was almost in tears when I didn’t see a single copy so I went to the Customer Service to ask. They called the main branch and told me a good news and a bad news. The good news is that they have three copies at hand, but the bad news is they’re already reserved for someone. I mean, seriously?! What is wrong with you people?! Go find something else to read!

I knew I’ve had it, so I finally asked to have a copy reserved for me. I can’t let another month pass without having my own copy of the book. I even tweeted my frustrations out with the author herself, Becky Albertalli, and she’s probably getting annoyed with me by then because I’m such a whiner and I’m not even a teenager. Anyway, I was starting to get worried because the bookstore hasn’t texted me back about my inquiry and it has already been three days since I requested for a copy that I was already pulling out my credit cards to buy a copy online when my phone buzzed. It’s there in my preferred branch! They finally have it! My own copy of the book reserved for me for three days! I sent a quick reply telling them I will be picking it up as soon as I can.

krispy kreme and hot cocoa

I didn’t have Oreos at the time but I have original glazed doughnuts and a cup of hot cocoa so… 🙂

Two days later, and thanks to my cousin, my very own copy of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda has arrived. I was inching to start reading it despite the fact that I still have to work for the next ten hours. So I ignored Simon and tried (and failed miserably) to be Superwoman last Friday. I was too exhausted at the end of the day that I even forgot to have dinner.

I started reading the book Sunday night, and was so hooked on it I was sure I could finish it in one sitting, never mind that I have to work the next day. However, five hours later (and I do mean at 5 o’clock in the morning) my head was throbbing so hard it was like someone was smashing my head with a machete, so I decided to put it down and called it a night (err, day) and tried catching some sleep before I have to work at 9.

I resumed reading the last remaining chapters after dinner after work Monday night and I must say, every waiting moment was worth it. No, hold on. It’s not. Because I should’ve had it sooner.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda quotesWhat I like about Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda was that, unlike other books that tackled topics about LGBT, it’s light and fluffy in a good way. Unlike other books that talks about coming out where the main character was all whiny and bitchy and thinks he/she’s the most unfortunate person in the world, Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda brings a positive spin on it. Sure, it wasn’t like Glee’s Kurt where he was horribly bullied because he’s one of the only openly gay students in school, but it still showed the ugly side of someone coming out of the closet.

Growing up with people surrounded by gay people, I must say I can relate to Simon’s story the most. It also kind of reminds me of the article I co-wrote with a friend for MEG magazine called, “Girls Like Girls“, where we talked about different girls having a relationship with another girl (some who knew they were lesbians since they were kids, others who recently just realized it, and another who is still figuring things out). But this isn’t about my article, it’s about Simon and his beautiful coming out. I must say, as I was reading the book, I can’t help but wonder whether the author has read my journal and thought it’d be nice to turn it into a book but make sure to make the protagonist a gay guy so it wouldn’t sound obvious. I mean, seriously, Becky. Admit it. You have read my journal!

Which is weird, because I’m not even gay. At least, I don’t think I am. But it doesn’t mean I’ve never had my share of that kind of moment. The moment when you feel unsure of yourself. Of who you are and what you are as a person. I know what it’s like to have someone finding out something about you and they fucking broadcasted it to the entire Social Media that you’re not ready to spit out, maybe ever. It sucks, and it’s freaking terrifying, but after all these years, I have learned that everything happens for a reason and in its own time; just be more patient and keep being yourself.

There’s one person I can relate to the most, though, out of Simon and all his peers – Leah. I felt so bad for her in Chapter 29. I know how it feels not to be invited in your friend’s own outings. I know what it’s like to be the uptight and reserved one. And let me tell you, it’s not fun finding out that your friends went out without you because they think you’re the group’s Dementor, sucking out all the happiness in (their) world, thinking they will never be cheerful again (when you’re around). Hey, just because someone is proper and shy and uptight doesn’t mean they can’t be trusted with something fun and juicy. You never know. Maybe they’re really not a Dementor. Maybe they’re just a Boggart. Your very own Boggart.

It’s true what the book said, coming out should be the person’s choice. Just because you found out that someone might be gay doesn’t give you the right to drag them out of the closet. That’s a really dick move, so don’t do that. It’s not your secret to tell.

It is also with this book that I’ve come to realize the importance of accepting not just other people for who they are, but most importantly yourself. Your true self. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or straight. It doesn’t matter whether you’re outgoing or quiet. It may take a while to know who you truly are, and there will always be parts of yourself that not even you know about, parts that other people won’t ever understand but it’s okay. It’s what makes you unique and special. And you should never let anyone drag you down just because you broke the status quo. Go be different. As long as you’re not stepping on other people’s toes, always keep in mind that it’s okay to break the mold. Go be YOU.





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