Author: Becky Albertalli
Published: April 7th, 2015 by HarperAudio
Length: 6 hours & 45 minutes
Narrator: Michael Crouch
Genres: young adult // LGBT+ // contemporary
This has so many realistic aspects! The characters were so real. It was such an adorable read and quite a suspenseful mystery for a contemporary! OMG, seriously… I LIKED IT SO MUCH. 5 scales, all the way.
Recommended if you like:
- real characters, real high school drama done so well
- an identity mystery that keeps you guessing!
- a fantastic main character
- flirting at cuteness (and sometimes awkwardness) level 9000
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.
Superb! His voice was perfect for an awkward teenager like Simon. Some emotions fell slightly flat in situations, but it was easily looked over. I don’t know, something about Crouch’s voice – maybe the lightness to it – that just sounded great with Simon’s personality.
I probably looked like such a weirdo, walking around my housing edition, listening to the last 5 chapters, while grinning stupidly and occasionally small clapping with giggles…
Albertalli has captured the awkwardness of high schoolers and drama so realistically, in my opinion! Seriously, there was a line about Martin standing with Simon and Abby in an awkward silence and it mentioned him pulling/picking at his elbow. People actually have little habits like that! The kinds of books I read never mention small things like that (I wonder if that’s a norm for contemporary…?). And that just made the whole thing 2x more adorable. The writing seems stunted at times, but I wasn’t so bothered because it sounds like a gay teen boy trying to write this story, y’know? Like, mentioning things that are unnecessary or silly details – it’s like me trying to write my own tale.
This was like a contemporary, high school mystery! The whole time I’m just thinkin’, who’s blue?? And then when things happened I’m like, who done it?? After people mentioned it not being their guess and it was a surprise, I ended up looking at every boy ever mentioned, so unfortunately, I never forgot and it made less of a surprise for the reveal. But what a cute reveal it was! I didn’t mind at all! Also, not only was the awkward cuteness relatable, the high school drama was, too. Made sense. I could connect with some of the aspects. I’ve seen that stuff in my own HS days!
THOSE EMAILS. The emails between Simon and Blue were so adorable! The gradually increasing flirtatiousness, the feelings, ugh.
I love how the characters are realistically awkward, even the common cringe-worthy kind, hah. (Like where you say or do small silly things that don’t have the effect your brain thought it would in the 2 seconds it took to not filter it first before saying/doing…) And the characters are flawed like high schoolers should be!
Simon is relatable and real and I loved him as a character. Loved him. He’s sarcastic and in the drama club and so friendly with everyone… He knew his fellow schoolmates even if he didn’t know them. He has school troubles, but friends to help out. And aside from sarcastic humor, he’s pretty good with the dry humor. He’s just extremely realistic, in my opinion. I know some people aren’t as outgoing, but I’m also glad they didn’t make him too outgoing. It’s always the outcast or the obnoxiously popular kind for MCs, y’know? So this was fantastic.
I take a sip of my beer, and it’s – I mean, it’s just astonishingly disgusting. I don’t think I was expecting it to taste like ice cream, but holy fucking hell. People lie and get fake IDs and sneak into bars, and for this? I honestly think I’d rather make out with Bieber. The dog. Or Justin.
Abby is a fantastic friend. I really liked her and she was awesome to Simon. She’s got a sense of humor. Very supportive. Very mature.
Leah had a little rough patch partway through with her friendships. I’m glad things were worked out by the end. And I’ve also seen how a few people didn’t like her because maybe she was petty and a little hypocritical. But I saw in her some of me when I was in high school. I remember wondering who my real friends were and, at times, worried about losing friends. It’s a part of the whole high school drama. So I think she’s still very relatable. Who hasn’t been petty and hypocritical at some point in their lives?
As for Nick… Don’t have much to say. He contributed awesome music! There wasn’t development for him aside from romance. And Martin. Poor Martin. He did some cruel things, but he wanted a shot at something good. He just went about it the wrong way… He realized his mistakes and apologized profusely. I hope things were patched up. And was he not also adorably awkward at times? Nick and some others could’ve used a bit more insight toward, but I was still happy.
AGH, and when I finally found out who Blue was, it so fuckin’ cute. He was so fuckin’ cute. Him with Simon was so fuckin’ cute. AGH.
Alright, enough with the characters. This also dealt with online relationships – particularly with a closeted teen. Like, online relationships are so big now. It was handled well – the anonymous feeling, the idea of finding someone to connect with based on similar circumstances, the trials and fears of that relationship possibly growing to be more. I don’t have any personal experience with a situation like this, but it felt legit to me.
OK, and Simon makes some points about how coming out shouldn’t be awkward or dramatic. I also loved the idea of straight people having to do it, too, heh. Or just make it non-existent. I didn’t understand, but I felt how Simon was worried because sometimes it really is handled…indelicately… And there are huge fears about how people may react – will they abandon you?
I will contend that a part where Blue mentions straight white people don’t have to deal with an identity crisis is inaccurate, BUT with the context, it still fits. I think it was just a frustrated teen generalizing.
So if you couldn’t tell, I loved this book. Had a few small quibbles, but based on my enjoyment of it, this is how I’ve rated it:
Ta-ta for now, worms!
Did you read this book? What’d you think of the characters? The mystery? Comment below! (Careful of spoilers, though)
~Cover photo from Goodreads~
~Review also posted on Goodreads~