Saturday, March 24, 2018

Picks of the Week: Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda | The Upside of Unrequited

The Love, Simon movie came out last week and I finally got around to seeing it! It was an impossibly charming, silly, and heartfelt movie and I loved getting to see it--and it reminded me that I haven't had the chance to showcase Becky Albertali's books yet on this blog.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is the book that Love, Simon is based off of: Simon, an ordinary teen, has a secret: he's gay. He finds another gay teen from his town on a message board, and via email, they fall in love. It's almost too simple of a story, except that Simon stays logged into his email at school, and gets blackmailed by another teen who wants to date his friend Abby. Simon is a really charming book, and one that feels very timely: for the most part, everyone in the book is pretty loving and accepting, but Simon still struggles with being honest with himself and the people in his life. It's a fast, fluffy read, but an excellent one (there's a reason why it was a Morris Award Winner!).

The Upside of Unrequited takes place in the same overarching universe: Molly, the protagonist, is cousins with Simon's friend Abby, and Abby (and Simon!) are mentioned in the book.

Molly knows all about unrequited love. She's been in love hundreds of times, but no matter how much her twin sister Cassie tries to push her, she can't push herself to be brave enough to do something about it: after all, who would want to date a fat girl?

Then, Cassie falls in love with a new girl, who comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she'll finally get her first kiss: and her twin back. There's only one problem: Molly's coworker Reed. He's a Tolkien superfan with Ren Faire season passes who Molly couldn't possibly fall for...could she?

This book is so cute! When I read it for the first time, I kept squeaking at how adorable it is. Anyone who's ever felt insecure about their body or scared about dating for the first time will recognize a kindred spirit in Molly, and her relationship with her family and friends is wonderful. I actually liked this book even MORE than Simon.

Coming soon: Leah on the Offbeat, a companion book to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Look for it in May!

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