Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – 4/5 (no review)
4.5/5 – I just want to state upfront that I absolutely loved this book. I thought it was adorable and I loved reading from Leah’s POV because I found her very similar to myself in a lot of ways. We both swear like sailors, we are both fat, we are both queer, and sometimes we come off like assholes. Especially in front our crushes. I can totally understand how some readers will find Leah off-putting, but I related so much. Let’s not forget that she’s a teenager and has a lot of angst, a lot of resentment toward her father for leaving her and her mother, being fat in a world that says that’s wrong, not being as well off as her friends are, and has a crush on her best friend’s girlfriend. I mean, there’s a lot going on there.
I have found that Becky Albertalli’s books take place in a world where everyone gets a happy ending. This is a sequel to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda which I thought was delightful and had a similar happy ending. However, having lived the whole “have a huge crush on a straight friend” scenario, it was hard to see this book as realistic. Perhaps, I just have bad luck or Leah has really good luck. Either way, there were times where I was taken out of the story because of how well things seemed to go. Well, most things.
I also felt the pacing and the slow burn of Leah and Abby’s relationship could’ve gone differently. Instead, Leah did a lot of assuming and there was a lot of back and forth between the two which made up the majority of the drama in the story. However, other conflicts were ignored or dropped altogether and I think it would’ve fit better. Such as, Leah’s concern for Nick and how he would feel about her and Abby dating. That got brushed aside and I thought it could’ve been a huge part of the conflict in the book. I would’ve also preferred that Abby was upfront about her sexuality and feelings for Leah earlier in the book, but that is less bothersome to me.
I would like to point out a scene that rubbed me the wrong way when I read it and after I thought about it a little longer. There is a conversation between Leah and Abby in which Abby admits that she came out to her cousins as being “a little bit bi”, unfortunately, Leah completely disregards her personal label as not being a real label. There is no resolution to this scene and Leah doesn’t apologize for dismissing her label which could be harmful. However, the way I interpreted the scene was that Leah is an imperfect character and just because she is bisexual doesn’t mean that she is a perfect representation of a queer character. I see this as a flaw of Leah’s character in that she sees everything in black and white and rarely sees the grey in situations, but I would’ve preferred that she apologized to Abby for what she said because everyone should be free to label themselves as they want.
Overall, I’m so happy this book made it to number one on the NYT bestseller’s list. It’s so wonderful to see the books that are being bought in YA and I want this book to be as popular as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I will absolutely be buying a copy of this book soon and I would highly recommend it if anyone is looking for an adorable f/f contemporary romance.