Simon is gay and not yet out. He’s fine and everything, he just hasn’t come out yet. Only one person knows Simon is gay - his email penfriend, Blue. Blue and Simon go to school together, but neither knows the other’s true identity.
Imagine Simons horror, therefore, when an email from Blue falls into the hands of Martin, the class clown, who immediately starts blackmailing Simon into helping him win the affections of one of the girls in their class.
I’d been meaning to read this book for ages and I finally got around to taking it out of the library, and I’m so glad I did. It’s heartwarming and sweet but avoids crossing the line into schmaltzy with some dry humour and laugh-out-loud one-liners. Honestly, the humour was one of the things I loved most about it.
And I’ll tell you what else was nice. Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda was a coming-out story, but one where the protagonist is yeah, kind of nervous about telling everyone, but ultimately knows that everything will be okay. And there’ll be some moderately awkward conversations when he says, ‘I’m gay’ and the person he says it to spends a few seconds cringing about the gay jokes they might have told, but long term it’s going to be fine.
And you know what? When Simon comes out, it IS fine. He gets a negative reaction from a couple of people (because what would the human race be without a few idiots?) but with the people who matter - his friends and family - everything’s dandy. Kinda.
It’d be naive to say that everyone’s coming out story will be like Simon’s, and there’s obviously a place in the market for more complicated coming out stories, but stories like this are so important because they say to society, ‘People are going to be gay. This is what you might call A Fact. And they’re going to come out and they’ll date other gay people and if you have an issue with it, YOU ARE INCORRECT. Yours is not the right attitude to have. That is all.’
So mixed in with the actually-quite-amusing blackmail, and the oh-GOD about coming out, is a kind of detective story. Simon and Blue correspond nearly every day and gradually fall in love and naturally enough Simon is desperate to find out who Blue really is.
Obviously I won’t spoil it, but I genuinely didn’t see it coming. The mystery is left wide open and the ending ... The ending is just perfect.
That is all.