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.
I am still grinning from the adorableness of this book. I am so happy this book has lived up to the hype.
First of all, this book made me homesick because it took place in Georgia! I did not recognize the suburb Simon lived in, but holy crap, I got all the references: Midtown, Roswell Road, Webster's restaurant, Frosted Oranges at The Varsity and Waffle House!!! Oh man, I was craving Waffle House so hard while reading this book. If you have never been there, you are missing out. In Atlanta, there is literally a Waffle House on every corner. Man, I need some Waffle House hash browns right now. And The Varsity has the greasiest food ever, but now I need some so I can get me a Frosted Orange. Arghh!! Hungry!!
Okay, now on the story . . . Simon is one of the most adorable and funniest characters ever. I loved him and all of his dialogue. I loved that he was so REAL! He just wanted to be loved and I think we can all relate to that. Meanwhile, he's hiding the fact that he's gay and he's in a secret email relationship with "Blue." I spent the whole book trying to guess Blue's identity and I was completely wrong. But I loved the reveal. The romance between Simon and Blue was so incredibly sweet. I loved their banter in their emails and the way they would not so subtly flirt with each other because they weren't really sure how the other one felt. Oh, they were so sweet, they almost gave me cavities. I am so glad that the author didn't end the book with the reveal, which I was afraid of. She showed the characters getting even closer in real life. I loved that they grew closer and fell in love through emails alone. I met my husband online so I have a soft spot in my heart for online relationships.
There were some bigger issues here, like the fact that some jerk named Martin was blackmailing him. Man, I HATED Martin so, so, so much. I hated the fact that he was threatening to reveal this huge thing that was none of his business just to get close to a girl. I hated that Simon was so afraid of being himself that he gave in to Martin's blackmail. I hated that he was afraid of even revealing to his closest friends that he was gay. Speaking of friends, he had the BEST friendships. Abby was one of my favorites. I was not a huge fan of Leah though. She would get mad at him and then be all passive aggressive about it. Instead of coming out and telling him what she was mad about, she just stopped speaking to him. Then she kind of made everything about her. I understood a few times why she had hurt feelings, but I thought she overreacted a lot. But even with all those huge issues and dilemma that Simon is facing, he never loses his sense of humor.
And how AMAZING was it that Simon had a normal and completely loving and devoted family? They were so supportive and totally crazy in the most loving way ever. I loved his parents and I loved his two sisters. God, they were so close they made me jealous. I also love how they made everything a big, huge deal because they loved Simon so much but he didn't want being gay to be a big deal. And really, why should it be? When Simon questioned why being gay had to be the default and said that straight people should have to come out in the most awkward way possible, I was cheering for him. He is so right. I feel so bad that gay people have to go through this and worry about people finding out who they are. Like I said, my hometown is Georgia and there are people who don't care about whether someone is gay and there are people who do. And it's so hard to tell the difference. One of my best friends in the entire world is gay and he grew up in Georgia, but in a town WAY OUTSIDE of Atlanta. It is a super small town so people are way more conservative. Even though he is out, there are still people he works with who don't know because he never knows who is okay with him having a boyfriend and who isn't. So if people start asking him if he has a girlfriend or if he likes a girl at work, it can get awkward. That's why when Simon talked about how much it sucks to have straight be the default, I understood what he was talking about.
If you have not read this book, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?? It is one of the most adorable and relatable contemporaries I have read in a long time.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Well, duh. BUY THIS ONE!!