Sixteen year old Simon Spier is gay, but only Blue (his internet pen pal) is aware of that. It’s not that he is ashamed or scared, he just feels like it’s his business and he prefers to leave the drama for his part in the school play. Then a fellow student stumbles across his email to Blue and starts blackmailing him over it. Simon must either help set this scumbag up with a girl he likes or have the whole school know his secret. It’s not that he really cares so much, but Blue is reluctant to chat anyway and a scandal like this might scare him away completely. Simon couldn’t handle losing Blue, who has become his best friend and just might be his soul mate. Can Simon find away to keep Blue’s privacy safe and not compromising his integrity without have his business blasted through the whole school? Or will the blackmailer do what he promised and force Simon to be his eternal wingman?
What to say about Simon? He’s perfect? He’s smart and sweet and loyal….and just perfect. He is the perfect teenage boy. It’s impossible to not empathize with him while he’s on this journey. The whole Martin situation would infuriate anyone and Simon handles it about as well as can be expected. He’s email conversations with Blue had me swooning pretty early on. Trust me, that only continues as the novel progresses. Things don’t really go according to plan for Simon, but it’s how we handle things when we aren’t at our best that show our true character and Simon is someone I’d be proud to call a friend.
One of the many things I loved about this was Simon’s family. Simon has a present and supportive family. A mother, a father, and two sisters who all love him to bits. They don’t know about his homosexuality yet (no one but Blue does), but it’s pretty obvious that they would support him in whatever he endeavors to do. Even better? They aren’t perfect! They make mistakes and assumptions and generally annoy Simon, as all good parents should. Even so, Simon loves them and there is an overall positive family aspect that is just absent from most YA right now. I know that many people are stuck in less than ideal home lives, but that doesn’t mean that normal ones don’t exist and shouldn’t be showcased.
Simon also has a great group of friends. They are funny and sweet, and have that weird this person likes that person, but that person likes this other person and that creates a somewhat awkward dynamic at times. I generally liked all of them, but there isn’t one that stands out so much that I need to comment on them.
Obviously Martin was not a favorite character of mine. I do applaud Albertalli for giving him a full character arc. It would have been so simple to have Martin just be an asshole and leave it at that. Albertalli does us one better, she makes him fully human. He’s far from perfect (duh) and he fucks up a lot and does things that he regrets, things that infuriate Simon (and me), but you still manage to not completely hate the guy. Or maybe you do, but you can kinda see his side a little. There is no question that what he does is wrong and he isn’t easy to sympathize with, but he was so far from the parameters of a normal villain that I had to comment on it.
The writing here is mesmerizing. I will definitely be following Becky Albertalli’s career from here on out because this novel was written beautifully. It was very believable and the further in you get, the deeper you fall into Simon’s world. The more you need to know who Blue is, how the Martin situation will resolve, and finally see that kiss that Simon has been dreaming of for months now. Without saying anything, let me just say that the real life meet between Simon & Blue is just as adorable as you hoped it would be. That note that Blue writes Simon? I melted into a swoony puddle in the floor.
This novel is amazing and cute and everything I could want. It’s smart and funny and heartfelt. Simon goes through ups and downs and you go right along with him. You celebrate his successes and lament his failures and hope everything will turn out okay for this guy. It you like contemporary YA and diverse characters, then this is for you.
****Thank you to Balzar + Bray for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review****