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 Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. 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.
This book is so cute? Like I rarely read YA books where romance/sexuality is the main theme, but after various awful fantasy books, I decided to finally pick this one up (It’s been on my shelves since it first came out.That’s almost two years.) and I am so glad that I did. It was exactly what I needed to read.
It was clearly written for teens- I know it’s YA but there are sometimes books that are written so well and beautifully you forget. But this one was full of references, some that were good and others that missed slightly (eg ‘the Tumblr’ Like I get they are talking about a specific blog on tumblr but there is no ‘the’ in front of it. And even if it was, teens are lazy. We are all lazy. its easier just to say tumblr on its own)
But the awkwardness of some of the wording didn’t make a difference of how warm and fuzzy it was- from the start all the way to the end. It was funny at times, sometimes heartbreaking- when Simon was talking to another character about his choice being taken away from him, it did break my heart- but it was happy. And in a world where most media draw you in with an LGBT+ character only to have them end up broken or ruined or in most cases, dead, happy is honestly the best thing ever.
Despite the happiness, there were parts of it that struck- sadly- true. Blackmail from someone that knows- even if the other person doesnt even get that its blackmail, there is nothing like the weight of a sword above your head, ready to let it drop and announce to the world something you are not ready to say. Being outed online in vicious ways and the gentle, strange terrified feeling when you try to- or do- tell people. And the bullying afterwards. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many people you have around you supporting you, that one person that makes fun is the memory that sticks in your head.
But each part of it was done so well in this. While Simon isn’t my favourite character I’ve ever read about, he was one I understood well.
Away from the romance of the book, there was a lot more I liked about it. Supportive parents! (Oh my god so many YA books have shitty parents like why) supportive friends! Amazing teachers who take no shit! (again, theme in YA seems to be that teachers never believe if someones being bullied?) The awkwardness of teenage years and school.
however….as always, there were a few things I didn’t like.
- There seems to be no female friendships in this book? Like the two main girls hate each other because they both like the same guy? Maybe my school was just weird but the very few crushes I did have at school, if anyone else liked them, we shrugged and ended up talking to each other and kinda becoming friends from it.
- Simon makes a comment early on that ‘lesbians and bi girls have it easier coming out because guys think they are hot’ which is frankly disgusting. Not only is that basically saying that its fine to be fetishized by men but it also invalidates what those girls go through.
- There was also like a ‘dress up as the opposite gender’ day at their school which just made me completely cringe because really really do I need to explain how horrendous that is?
So yeah, this book isn’t all perfect. But its cute and funny and fluffy and sometimes, that is the kind of book you need to read.
*It turns out the author has actually apologized on Twitter for the comment about lesbians, saying its not something she agrees with and that she should have made it be questioned in the book.