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Literature / Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

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It is definitely annoying that straight (and white, for that matter) is the default, and that the only people who have to think about their identity are the ones who don't fit that mold. Straight people really should have to come out, and the more awkward it is, the better. Awkwardness should be a requirement.

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is a 2015 Young Adult novel by Becky Albertalli.

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.


Albertalli's second novel, The Upside of Unrequited, takes place in the same continuity and includes references to several characters, as does her third novel Leah on the Offbeat which returns to Shady Creek with Simon's best friend Leah as the main protagonist.

A film adaptation titled Love, Simon was released on March 16, 2018 starring Nick Robinson (Jurassic World) as Simon, Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why) as Leah, Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse) as Abby, and Keiynan Lonsdale (The Flash) as Bram. In August 2019, it was announced the film would continue as a Disney+ original series, this time featuring a new character, Victor (Michal Cimino), at its center, though Robinson will return in a limited capacity and also narrate.


Tropes Present in Simon:

  • Adorkable: Simon, by far. He's a huge fan of Harry Potter, incredibly awkward, and manages to catch the eye of a few guys over the course of the story because of it.
  • All Gays Love Theatre: Downplayed. Simon is in the school play, but only as an extra.
  • Alliterative Name: Simon Spier.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: The Spiers, hands down, especially his father. It makes Simon uncomfortable when some of his father's jokes toe the line of Unfortunate Implications.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The name of Simon's email persona, Jacques, is derived from the French saying "Jacques a dit", which is the French equivalent of the game "Simon says". It's how Blue figures out who Simon is offline.
  • Bi the Way: Cal tells Simon that he's bisexual shortly after Simon's outing.
  • Blackmail: Martin implicitly blackmails Simon with outing him unless he helps him get a date with Abby.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: In the two instances where Simon is given alcohol, he gets drunk very easily.
  • Coming-Out Story: For Simon, and eventually for Blue.
  • Disappeared Dad: Leah's dad left her family after having an affair.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Simon was too caught up in his own insecurities to put on the Elliott Smith shirt Blue got him for Christmas, so he almost missed the note taped inside that reaffirms his love for Simon.
  • Forced Out of the Closet: Simon himself is outed halfway through the novel after Martin accuses him of taking too long to set up Martin and Abby (even though Abby has no interest in Martin and never did).
  • Foreshadowing: Blue says it's annoying that straight and white are considered the default. Blue is Bram, who is black; Simon kicks himself for assuming Blue was white when he finds out.
  • Gay Guy Seeks Popular Jock: While Simon isn't specifically seeking a jock, he doesn't mind staring at them. And in the end it turns out the Blue is a jock, as Bram is on the soccer team.
  • Incompatible Orientation: While Simon never comes across this directly (he states he has a policy for not falling for straight guys), he and Blue do discuss the fact that being closeted in a school where there are no other openly gay guys mean hell for any attempt at dating.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Leah is falling for Nick, who's falling for Abby, who is also falling for Nick, but is also being crushed on by Martin.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Simon and Blue fall for each other online, but don't know each other in person, and Simon is stressed that Blue would no longer like him when he finds out who he really is.
  • Meaningful Name: Discussed. Simon means "the one who hears" and Spier means "the one who watches." According to Simon, this means he was basically destined to be nosy.
  • Red Herring: One of Blue's hints about his real identity is that he shares his first name with a US president. Simon initially thinks that it's Cal (as in Coolidge) or possibly Martin (as in Van Buren). In reality it's Bram, which is a shortened version of Abraham.
  • The Reveal: When Simon finds who Blue is: Bram Greenfeld.
  • Romantic False Lead: Simon spends a good chunk of the book thinking stage manager Cal is Blue, but never makes a move because he isn't 100% sure and doesn't want to out himself.
  • Shrinking Violet: "Awkward Silence Bram," who Simon has never even heard speak unless he was forced to. We find out later that the reason Bram is so quiet around Simon is because he has a crush on him.
  • Trademark Favourite Food: Simon and Oreos.


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