Genres: YA M/M Contemporary Romance
Published by Harper Audio
Released on April 7, 2015
I’m late to the party, but I still enjoyed this endearing coming of age and coming out story. It walks along at a gentle pace of a young guy’s suburban family, friends, and school life are the setting of this story full of warmhearted humor and subtle complexity.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda tells the story of a boy who figures out he’s gay, but is content to let things play out at their own pace. He has an on-line friend who attends his school that shares this secret world. The pair of them are as close as to guys can be without knowing their identities. All that is threatened when a lonely, nerdy, and awkward kid accidentally sees an email exchange between Simon and ‘Blue’. The guy decides to blackmail Simon into helping him get the girl- one of Simon’s friends.
Swirling around this situation are Simon’s involved and enthusiastically supportive parents, his two sisters- one away at college and one in high school behind him, his circle of average-kid fun friends and Simon’s participation in the school play with his blackmailer and the girl the guy wants.
Simon vs tHSA is one of those books that nails it. I had no doubt when I was listening that the voice of the story was a sixteen year old boy and the activities and spin on things were from the teen perspective. But, the author did this in such a way that there was a universal quality to it that touches the heart of readers/listeners of all ages. I’m not a sixteen year old boy trying to figure out life and love, but I could still relate to Simon and his friends. And, that is the trick. This is true of Simon’s brooding, vulnerable friend Leah who was jealous of his friendship and her crush only wanting her as a friend, to the kid blackmailing Simon. I could hate their actions and still root for them to learn and get a clue.
The romance is stretched out over a series of several months through the first half of the school year. Simon goes from friendship to yearning to desperately needing Blue to come out with him into the open and let Simon see him. I really appreciated that the author allowed for a long denouement after the reveal since the reader waits a long time for the off-line romance to begin. I’m not sure, but I think the reader is meant to know who it is all along. Or, at least, I didn’t find it tough to figure out who Blue was. Maybe it was who I wanted it to be.
Michael Crouch is a narrator that I really enjoy so I was thrilled when I realized he was narrating this book. He does teen voices and this style of story so well. I could easily get lost in the writing and story with that bit of extra I got from his narration work paired with the book.
All in all, this was one that had me feeling and thinking about lots of things while having a feel good mood throughout. Those who enjoy YA Contemporary Romance about a gay guy figuring it all out or those wanting an LGBTQA gateway book, here you go.
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