When ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ by Becky Albertalli was first released in 2015, it was well-received by readers all over the world. With an extensive list of awards backing the book’s reputation – such as the National Book Award Winner (2015), William C. Morris YA Debut Award (2016) – it was no wonder 20th Century Fox snatched up the rights the same year it was published, to make it one of 2018’s spring blockbusters. The movie has been renamed ‘Love, Simon,’ after the lead protagonist Simon Spier, and it features both emerging and iconic actors in Hollywood. Book-adaptation veteran Nick Robinson is cast as the protagonist, his fourth film that has been a Young Adult adaptation. There are also rising stars like the ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ actress, Katherine Langford, and Alexandra Shipp from ‘X-Men’s Apocalypse.’ The movie also features some well-known names in Hollywood like Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel.
‘Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda’ follows 16-year-old Simon Spier as he navigates through his junior year of high school with a huge secret…nobody knows he’s gay. Only the mysterious boy named Blue who Simon has been corresponding with through e-mail knows his secret, but not of his identity. That’s until one day when his classmate Martin reads his e-mails and decides to blackmail Simon with his secret, in return for his help as a wingman. This is a heartwarming story of finding love, acceptance, and friendship. After all, everyone deserves a great love story.
It’s hard not to love a story so much when it’s incredibly relatable to your own life. From dozens of cups of iced coffee to high school crushes, there are so many aspects of this book that will warm the heart of any high schooler. This book navigates through important adolescent topics like falling in love and the fear of not being socially accepted. I’ve read too many Young Adult books set in high school that are simply unrealistic and riddled with boring tropes.
Simon is the closest thing I’ve read to a ‘normal’ high school experience, one that a majority of high schoolers can relate to.
The story also translates well on-screen. If you, like me, are fed up with all the mediocre Young Adult adaptations that have been churned out recently, trust me when I say that this movie is nothing like the others. It has light-hearted humor that adds an extra element of enjoyment when you’re sitting in the theater laughing out loud with your friends. The actors really brought the characters to life, especially Nick Robinson as Simon. You can see his confidence blossom throughout the movie. The friendship, both in the book and the movie, is so precious and is even better when you drag your friends to the theater to watch it with you. And if you still need another reason to watch the movie, they make quite a few changes to the story, so saying you read the book already will not be a sufficient answer as to why you won’t go out to see it.
It’s very rare to see a film with a closeted gay teenager, or much less any film with queer characters, backed by such a large studio as 20th Century. The release of this film is major for the LGBT+ community and it could mean more representation in the media in the future. Simon is a must-see for teenagers who are seeking an authentic high school story that is different from anything else on the market.