Synopsis: 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.
I DO NOT KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS BOOK. AT ALL.
And the fact that I am the last person in the mapped universe to have read it is not helping me define my emotions.
In fact, it is actually only informing me that my feelings should be “THIS BOOK IS AMAZING IT IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER READ IN MY LIFE IT’S ADORABLE AND LIFE-CHANGING AND I AM GOING TO GIVE IT FIVE STARS AND BLUSH CUTELY WITH HAPPINESS WHENEVER MY MIND BLESSEDLY DRIFTS TO IT.”
And my feelings are definitively not that.
But they are also not, “This book made me feel nothing. I am emotionless. I am the void. I hated this book as I hate sunlight and flowers and the smell of cookies baking on an autumn day and anything capable of producing joy. Joy in others that is, because, as mentioned, I am fully immune to happiness.”
Closer to the second one, probably, but that’s because there’s something wrong with me.
I guess my feelings are that…this book is…(picture me literally gulping like a cartoon character, which is not something that people do in real life but people in books do all the time)…um…overrated?
I am prepared to be pelted with spitballs and rotten tomatoes and framed photos of Becky Albertalli’s face.
Here is what this book is, to me:
- occasionally fun
- quick to read
- impressively diverse
Here is what it is not, to me:
- equal in terms of magic-ness to a rainbow or a child laughing for the first time
- better than cookies (and how dare anyone even think it)
- worthy of even four stars
I liked the first half of this book. I liked it a lot, in fact. But the thing about (most of) the second half of this book is that it is literally the same as the first half, and that repetition is no fun whatsoever.
Also, I found the reveal of the crush-character to be really predictable.
Also, I found a lot of it to be brutally unrealistic. To the point of nonsense. (A good person doesn’t blackmail other people, and thus if you want to make a character blackmail another character, please don’t try to make the point of the conclusion be that long-term blackmail about someone’s sexual orientation including threats and, later, a brutal outing of someone can be something that a misunderstood but friendly loner does by mistake. That’s ridiculous and also f*cked up.)
Also, some of the characters are SO UNLIKABLE. (If Leah got hit by a car in front of me I’d hesitate before I called 911.)
Buuuut…it is really diverse, you guys. And like, pretty effortlessly diverse. And it’s not a long read, or a boring one. Is it annoying sometimes? Yes, it really is. And I have a lot of problems with it. AND IT’S NOT AS MAGNIFICENT AS EVERYONE SAYS IT IS.
But God, it’s so much better than The Upside of Unrequited.
Bottom line: Honestly whatever. That’s all I have to say. (I claim as if I didn’t just write a page and a half of opinions before it.)