Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
First edition cover
|Genre||Young Adult, Romance, Drama, LGBT, Coming Of Age|
|Publisher||Balzer + Bray|
|April 7, 2015|
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback), e-book, audiobook|
|Followed by||Leah on the Offbeat|
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a 2015 young adult novel and the debut book by American author Becky Albertalli. The coming-of-age story focuses on the titular protagonist Simon Spier, a closeted gay high school boy who is forced to come out after a blackmailer discovers Simon's emails to another closeted classmate with whom he has fallen in love.
Albertalli received the William C. Morris Award from the American Library Association, an annual honor for young adult literature. The novel was also featured on the National Book Award Longlist and listed by the Wall Street Journal as one of the Best Young Adult novels in 2015.
The name of the novel is a parody reference to the supposed "homosexual agenda", a pejorative term that was commonly used by opponents of gay rights in the United States until growing popular support for gay rights among the American people rendered the use of the term no longer acceptable in public.
The book was adapted into a film titled Love, Simon, which was released by 20th Century Fox in the United States on March 16, 2018, and has been released or is scheduled to be released internationally on various dates throughout 2018.
Simon Spier is a closeted gay 16-year-old junior in high school and a fond musical theater student living in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Unknown to everyone, including his family and friends, Simon has been emailing with someone named "Blue", using the pseudonym "Jacques". As the two get closer however, Simon starts to get blackmailed; his secret is threatened to be released if he doesn't play wingman for Martin, the class clown. Now, his sexual orientation and the privacy of the guy that he has been confiding in could possibly be compromised. Simon must find a way to step out of his comfort zone, before he is pushed out, and before he loses Blue, who gets more flirtatious every day.
- Simon Spier: The 16-year-old gay protagonist who has yet to come out and is in an online relationship with a boy named "Blue". He goes by the pseudonym "Jacques," which is a reference to "Jacques a dit," meaning Simon Says in French. He loves Oreos and has a passion for the music of Elliott Smith. He is fond of musical theatre and participates in his school's productions, even though he gets bit parts. He plays "Fagin's boy" in their production of Oliver!.
- Blue: Bluegreen118 is the boy Simon e-mails for 5 months. Simon met Blue on "creeksecrets", the school Tumblr page (referred to as the Tumblr) after Blue posted a very intuitive and relatable post about being gay. He is Jewish-Episcopalian, has divorced parents (his father is an English teacher, his mother an epidemiologist), likes superheroes, has excellent grammar, and is a very private person. Simon tells him everything, which is why it is hard to keep Martin's blackmail a secret. At first, Simon thinks Blue is Cal, but after sending him a series of questions pertaining to him, most of the answers sent back are "no". However, Blue finds out Simon's identity, so their e-mails become tense. At the end of the book, Simon finds out Blue is actually Bram Greenfeld, a quiet kid who sits at Simon's lunch table. He plays soccer and is very smart. Simon previously thought that he's "actually kind of adorable," with "expressive brown eyes, light brown skin, soft dark curls and cute, knobbly hands,” and is "actually really funny inside his head," despite his shyness. Simon previously believed that Bram liked Leah.
- Nick Eisner: Simon's male best friend. Simon has known Nick since he was four. Nick has a crush on Abby and is a talented singer and guitarist. He is Jewish and plays soccer. Often times, he jumps into random philosophical moods, rambling existential monologues about his dreams and such. Simon finds this irresistible. Nick's crush on Abby is quite obvious, with him switching seats to sit next to her at lunch and his "lingering, lovesick eyes." He becomes Abby's boyfriend at the end of the book.
- Leah Burke: Simon's female best friend. She is described as very "deadpan" and sarcastic and is shown to bottle up her feelings. She is very insecure about her looks, often hiding her thighs and such, despite Simon's reassurances. She is thought to be (by Simon) in love with Nick and is quite hostile towards Abby due to her feeling that the latter "intruded" on their friend group. At the end of the novel, it is revealed Leah has been learning drums for two years and is part of a band called Emoji, in which Simon's sister is the guitarist, Taylor is on vocals, Anna is the bassist, and Morgan is on the keyboard.
- Abby Suso: Simon's other female best friend, who moved from Washington, D.C. at the beginning of the year. They became friends due to alphabetical homeroom assignments. Abby is shown to be very pretty and very perky and very well-liked, much to Leah's displeasure. She is involved in many committees, such as soccer, cheerleading and the musical (she plays the Artful Dodger). Simon comes out to her first, raising tensions between her and Leah. She is the love interest of Martin. She and Nick get together at the end of the book. She is a cousin of twin sisters Molly and Cassie Peskin-Suso, main characters in Albertalli's novel The Upside of Unrequited.
- Martin Addison: The class clown. He has floppy brown hair, has a gay brother who goes to college in DC, and plays Fagin in the school production of Oliver!. He is shown to be a nerdy, entertaining, well-liked guy, with Simon referring to him as a sort of "mascot". However, his dark side is revealed when he blackmails Simon into pairing him up with Abby after he finds out that Simon is gay. Martin believes Abby likes Simon when he sees their platonic hug and impulsively discloses his sexuality on "creeksecrets," a Shady Creek Tumblr page. After Simon is the subject of some bullying, Martin shows extreme remorse for his actions, confronting him in the parking lot and sending him a heartfelt e-mail. It's unknown whether Simon forgives Martin.
- Cal Price: The stage manager of the school production. Simon had a crush on him. He is described as very cute, with "awesome bangs" and blue-green eyes and a Southern accent. Simon initially believes Cal is Blue until Simon sends Blue a series of questions pertaining to Cal, of which the majority of the answers are "no". Cal is revealed to be bisexual and interested in Simon.
- Nora Spier: Simon's younger sister. She is a freshman. She has blond curls and is described to be "under the radar cool." She is not very assertive and seems to be subject to peer pressure. She taught herself guitar and is part of a band called Emoji with Leah, Taylor, and Anna.
- Alice Spier: Simon's older sister. She is a freshman at Wesleyan University and has dirty blonde hair. Alice has a secret boyfriend named Theo for the beginning half of the novel, and she tells her family only after Simon encourages her after he comes out to them.
- Jack Spier: Simon's father. He tries to be a "cool, hipster dad" and often tells jokes about gay people, much to Simon's discomfort. He is also "obsessed" with Simon's life, making a big deal about everything, which made it harder for Simon to come out to him and his mom. He and Simon's mom are fans of The Bachelorette.
- Emily Spier: Simon's mother. She is a child psychologist and seems to be very involved in Simon's life, much to his annoyance.
- Taylor Metternich: Simon's theater mate. She plays the lead, Oliver. She is skinny and has "super brushed blonde hair". Simon describes her as a "dark side of perfection." Taylor is very self-obsessed, often boasting about her talents and appearance. This both annoys and amuses Simon and his friends. Taylor has a very strong reaction to Simon's bullying, almost slapping one of the boys. Taylor is the singer in the band Emoji.
- Ms. Albright: Simon's "moderately badass" theater teacher. She has electric red hair and was furious about Simon's bullying, determined to put it to a stop.
- Garrett: A soccer player who sits at Simon's lunch table. He is best friends with Bram and has a crush on Leah.
- Anna: Simon's ex-girlfriend. She sits at his lunch table, wears black eyeliner and reads manga. She is the bassist in Emoji.
- Morgan: Anna's best friend. Simon thinks they're interchangeable. She is the pianist in Emoji.
- Peter: A college guy Simon picks up in a bar. He has very white teeth.
- Maddie: A student council girl.
- Mr. Wise: Simon's English teacher.
- Theo: Alice's boyfriend.
- Carter Addison: Martin Addison's gay brother in college.
- Love, Simon: this movie tie-in novel includes a new cover featuring Nick Robinson, official stills from the set, an excerpt from the script of the opening scenes of the film and a behind-the-scenes interview with Albertalli, Robinson and director Greg Berlanti.
- Special Edition Hardcover: includes brand new emails between Simon and Blue, a behind-the-scenes scrapbook of photographs taken by Albertalli on the set of Love, Simon and an exclusive interview between Albertalli and fellow YA authors Angie Thomas and Adam Silvera.
Awards and nominations
- William C. Morris Award: Best Young Adult Debut of the Year
- National Book Award - longlist
- Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award Nominee for Young Adults
- Lincoln Award Nominee
- Goodreads Choice Award Nominee: Debut Goodreads Author
- Goodreads Choice Award Nominee: Young Adult Fiction
Love, Simon is the title of the film adaptation of the book. It stars Nick Robinson in the lead role, along with Katherine Langford as Leah, Alexandra Shipp and Jorge Lendeborg Jr. as Abby and Nick, Keiynan Lonsdale as Bram and Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel as Simon's parents. Jack Antonoff produced the soundtrack. The film was released in the United States on March 16, 2018.
Development of the film by studio Fox 2000 was first reported in October 2015, with Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker signed to write the screenplay. Openly gay writer, director, and television showrunner Greg Berlanti directed the film.
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