Simon, you are adorable. Yes, very adorable. Adorably oblivious, kind of silly at times but I love it.
I’ve seriously just finished the book, not two minutes before starting this review, and take what meaning from it you will but my limbs are still all tremble-y and my stomach is all wiggly. But let’s move on to “serious review stuff.”
The book starts with Simon being blackmailed by a fellow classmate. This is bad news for Simon because he doesn’t want things to be messed up with Blue, a boy he’s been emailing back and forth with for several months. I’m sure you can guess where things go from there so I’ll leave the summary at that.
This book has a great voice. It reads very easily but not in a boring plunking along kind of way. It’s like Simon is talking to you and you are getting all his feelings and emotions straight from the words.
The story moves ahead at a nice pace. It doesn’t get too bogged down in boring high school drama stuff although there is just the right amount of that, too. Secret (or not so secret) crushes, jealousy, dealing with family junk, and of course the whole still secretly gay thing in Simon’s case.
The characters all have their own personalities, which is always great. Simon’s friends Nick and Leah and Abby aren’t just supporting characters. They all have their part in Simon’s life but also have their own things going on. I would say Simon and Leah do most of the growing over the story but that’s just fine with me.
To address the trembling limbs thing, Becky Albertalli does a fantastic job of capturing first time teen romantic encounters. The excitement, the thrill, the mild anxiety. Like Will Grayson, this book found me wishing I was a teenager again.
I also really appreciate the book because, as the title so nicely captures, those people who are deemed “different” or outside of the norm are put in a position where the are constantly battling at least one or more socially dictated expectation. And that’s hard and scary and no one should have to do it. As Simon said, “There shouldn’t even be a default.”
If you’re a David Levithan fan, or just a fan of good teen lit, you should read this book.