Simon VS The Homo Sapien Agenda [Books]

simon vs.jpgI am, quite possibly, one of the last people to have read this. It’s one of the books I picked up thanks to the hype on Twitter, and honestly, when book Twitter hypes a book, I’ve learnt it’s well worth listening to them. Simon VS is a great example of that.

Simon VS is a coming of age story, focusing on Simon as he attends high school, works on the school play, and tires to navigate the confusing world of teenage friendships (I remember that well enough).

Along with this, Simon is keeping a secret from those closest to him – he’s gay, and in a sort-of-not-quite relationship with a mysterious stranger called Blue. They chat via e-mails, and through them, we see their relationship develop and deepen.

And, honestly, this book is so damn beautiful. I love a book that can make me laugh and cry, sometimes on the same page, and this was…well, it had plenty of both. Simon is wonderfully, adorably awkward, not quite sure why the girls are annoyed at him, and making clumsy attempts to identify who Blue might be.

But on top of all that, he’s really doing his best. Not just trying, but doing. He misses his older sister, away at college (and not that I would tell him, but it does remind me of how much I missed my brother, many years ago) and the way that feeling is conveyed works well, not to mention the feeling of normality that returns when she comes home, the way they sink back into family traditions. (Side-note: the ‘traditions’ we had when we were all under one roof tended to be more along the lines of my brothers practising wrestling moves on me, and my mum screaming can’t we all bugger off again so there was peace and quiet)

There are so many lovely moments to this book, not to member a number of edge-of-your-seat ones.

**SPOILER WARNING**

(All spoiler warnings will be book-ended by puppies. By the way, this book is so lovely, part of it does feel like a puppy in book form)

white and brown american pit bull terrier puppy
Photo by Rizwan Sayyed on Pexels.com

The book opens with Martin attempting to blackmail Simon. Martin has seen his e-mails to Blue, and wants Simon to put ‘a good word’ in with Abby for him. Later in the novel, Simon’s friends act a little strange around him, and thanks to his younger sister, Simon discovers a very revealing post has been put on the school’s Tumbler page. I knew what was coming. I almost ripped the book in two, as we get closer and closer to finding out what’s happened. And, really, it’s heart-breaking. Simon’s hand is forced, and although he knows his parents won’t kick him out or anything, he’s still pushed into telling them before he’s ready.

Some people might think Martin’s actions – or Leah’s, or Abby’s, or some of the other characters in the book – are overreactions. And yeah, they kind of are (especially Martin. What an arsehole). But, the thing is, that’s what teenagers do (sometimes! Not all of them, not all the time, but sometimes!), they over-react. And, hell, plenty of adults do too, don’t get me wrong. But I remember, as a teenager, getting so worked up over stuff that doesn’t really matter, but which, at the time, really does.

**END SPOILERS**

photo of a puppy
Photo by Rahul Pandit on Pexels.com

It doesn’t mean those problems don’t matter. And that’s one of the things, I think, Becky Abertalli does amazingly well. She shows those things which, to adults, would seem small, but reflects them in a way that shows just how much it means to these teenagers.

None of the characters were unlikable because of the way they were written. Instead, Abertalli brilliantly guides you to conclusions about the characters, drawing you more into Simon’s head yet allowing us to make up our own minds about them. The teachers seem like they really do care for the students, Simon’s parents are supportive, and there are darker directions this book could have gone, but just didn’t. It all blends together really well, and feels so much like reading an actual high school student’s diary, it read almost like non-fiction. (In a really good way)

So, as you can tell, I absolutely loved this book, and will continue to make book-buying decisions based on Twitter. It’s enjoyable and wonderful and happy and uplifting and I almost cried when I put it down, after picking it up only two days before.

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again…

unwrapping wordsEllie’s back, tell a friend…

Yeah, so, one of the things I decided for 2019 was to revive this blog. I’ll be updating any successful submissions, confirming where my short stories can be read (all over on the About page, right now) as well as updating the blog with writing advice, as I have previously (such as here and here), book reviews – though don’t expect anything massively new, as I’ll be reviewing whatever I happen to finish reading most recently, and my TBR pile is currently pretty big, so need to get through that before I start buying brand new books. Maybe thoughts on films, games, podcasts as well, all of which I consume on a daily basis.

I’ll update as regularly as possible, and will try to get some posts written in advance, so there won’t be too long between updates.

I always welcome comments and discussions on anything I post, and if you have a blog you’d like me to check out, feel free to let me know. As well as on here, I’m also on Twitter (@elleturpitt).

So, just a quick catch up then.

I’ve recently read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which was so good I finished it in two days, squeezing in the last chapter before I had my hair-cut on Thursday. I’m currently reading City of Ghosts, and my boyfriend is trying to get me to read Star Wars’ Tale of the Bounty Hunters next, but we’ll see.

The last film I watched was Aliens, which was good and enjoyable, but I’m not completely sure if I want to watch any more in the series. I’d rather stick to my own head-canon, where Ripley and Newt live together happily ever after, maybe with Hicks, and definitely with Bishop popping in now and then to see how they’re doing.

ripley and newt
Two very bad-ass women

The game I’m absolutely loving at the moment is Jurassic World Evolution. I’m having a lot of fun with it, and I feel like I’ve really got the hang of it. It took me a while to sort of pick up on how to find my way around completely, but I think that’s part of the fun with games like this. I will, however, echo something a friend of mine said – I just wish there were more theme park elements.

Basically, I sort of want a JP Evolution/Planet Coaster crossover game, my other current favourite. I want to build roller-coasters that dip towards dinosaur enclosures, but maybe that would just make the dinos panic? In all fairness, I’ve had enough of that already.

20190119215625_1
Mass transport of escaped dinos

So that’s it, for now. I’ll try to post something else in the coming days. And of course, I’m always willing to check out any book, film or podcast recommendations, if you have any.