Simon has always had an inkling that he is gay. His sexual awakening to Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter should have been proof enough and his disinterest in two girlfriends might also have been a clue. But it isn’t until Simon starts anonymously emailing another guy in the school that he really comes to the realisation that he likes other boys *cue rainbow show and a massive pulsating pink heart*. When someone accidentally comes upon Simon’s emails, his private life and sexual identity is at a risk of being exposed. And, more importantly, Simon doesn’t want to do what is being done to him, which is forcing his secret admirer out of the closet before he’s ready to come out.
The author is a cis het white female so I was very sceptical going into this book… I was ready for misrepresentation, a lot of clichés, and stereotyping. But, overall, it was cute and surprisingly unproblematic! The representation of different ethnicities and topics were handled so well without creating an overly idyllic utopia. Albertalli has beautifully mastered the art of writing stories that won’t offend as well as analyse problematic aspects of our community. For example, whilst maintaining an lgbtqai+-positive story, homophobia was still introduced as an existing concept.
So, you guys know I fucking abhor books in first person but this was so well done!! And I think it was important to write this book in first person because it put everyone’s opinion of Simon as a side note. We are reading a story from a gay person’s pov and although he does feel the pressure of homophobia the story was more focused on Simon’s internet relationship. The characters were all very well developed and I love them all very dearly. I’m just gonna shout out loud now because I want to discuss them all with you but THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A NON SPOILER REVIEW!! (But gaaaah I loved Leah so much and her personal character development was so heart warming. I was totally Leah in school, high school, college, and now in Uni…)
I finished the book in one sitting and in the matter of a few hours! It was incredibly easy to read and kept you on the edge of your seat despite being contemporary fiction with minimal action. Some of the dialogues will stay with me forever because of how iconic they were… My mind kept screaming “Becky with the good hair coming thru” because everything from homophobia, finding your identity, and just plain old high school existential crises were handled with such care and realness. Very tangible story that will warm the heart of the meanest demon.