Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homosapian AgendaSimon, a high school junior, is gay, but he is leery to come out because of the backlash he’s certain will follow. However, when a classmate comes upon Simon’s open e-mail in the school library, his secret is out, and the classmate decides to use blackmail for his own gain. Simon must decide whether he wants to control his own communication or allow someone else to take control for him.

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I opened Simon Vs. The Homosapiens Agenda. I believe that young adult literature – or any literature for that matter – is a useful tool to better understand ourselves and the world around us.  And I have no doubt that some of my middle school students are struggling with their sexuality and sexual identity. This book confronts Simon’s sexuality in what I can only imagine is a very realistic manner. He struggles with how he’ll come out to his family, how he’ll tell his friends, and how the backlash from such a decision, particularly in suburban Atlanta, will affect everyone going forward.

While he mulls the repercussions of any pronouncement, Simon has his first contact with another gay, albeit anonymous, student over e-mail.  Simon’s e-mails allow him to work through his many mixed feelings while his anonymous e-mail correspondent finds himself in the same boat.

The first 60% of this book was much too slow. Yes, character development was critical, but sometimes too much is too much. However, the final 40% was worth the wait.

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