My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dammit, this book was so good. What have you done to my brain, Becky?
To clarify, I almost never read contemporary YA fiction. Or contemporary anything, actually. So Simon is a bit of a radical departure for me, but I’m glad to say this was a happy road-trip. Say the book is like a full course meal, then this would be Simon:
The book just straight off plunges into Martin blackmailing Simon. (As always, I cruelly assume you’ve read the synopsis.) It’s like ordering tomato soup and then wham! The waiter spites you by throwing a ton of pepper into it (in a good way, of course). So you’re like whoa and kinda interested at this point.
You’re still in the discovery stage here, tasting what this establishment has to offer. So far, it’s pretty crunchy and fresh, as we discover Simon has friends of all types – a popular African girl (gasp!), a hardcore yaoi manga fan girl (gasp!), a Jewish philosophizer (gasp!) and an equally eccentric family that (gasp!) actually love each other. You’re munching on this going, “Not bad.”
Or should I say appe-teasers. Cue emails from Blue. What I wouldn’t give to have a friend, a pet or an alien who could email me like that. I don’t even need it to be romantic, just have great conversation with a person I don’t know.
Dissenters: I thought that was what Facebook was for..
Me: There are no conversations on FB, only monologues.
Anyway, the dialogue between Blue and Simon is fabulously witty and understanding, and it leaves you wanting more.
The main course
Now we get to the real meat of the thing. You rub your hands in anticipation. Except this isn’t exactly how you envisioned it First off, it’s taking a long time in the coming. Also, no one told you this was going to be a sharing tray? These minor characters are getting an absurd amount of attention. Well, it’s not too bad, cause Simon is getting some character development out of it. But this thing with Blue isn’t really going anywhere, is it? Never mind, the mystery of Blue’s identity is way too exciting for you to care.
The hidden main course
This is where you go, “There’s more?!” Just when you think you’re can’t take any more, you get some major left turns. Admittedly this doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the plot, like the visit to the gay bar. But you’ll go with it for now. Since Blue’s identity is still unknown. Though you’re starting to have a strong suspicion you know who it is…
And finally, we’re here! In a totally Disney-ish fashion, everything has worked out fine as people figure out where they fit in their world. Like vanilla ice-cream, it might be a bit cliched, but it’s a classic because it works. You’re satisfied now. You know who Blue is, Simon has worked out his angst and everyone else is happy too.
Unexpectedly, these cuddle scenes are refreshing.
Verdict: This was a such a great, sensitive and feeling book, I really have to recommend it. Love how your heart thumps with the feeling of discovery and anticipation even if you’re not a yaoi fan (like me). If there are any downsides, it probably all lies with me: I found the writing a bit forced in the beginning and I didn’t connect with Simon as much as I wanted to. Overall though, it was brilliant.
Also, this quote:
“But I’m tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. I get a girlfriend. I have a beer. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.”
Simon gets me. He is my spirit animal.