Published by Balzer + Bray on April 7th 2015
Source: Brilliance Audio
I received this book for free from Brilliance Audio in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Buy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The King's English
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.
Audio Review: Michael Crouch was a fantastic voice for Simon. I’ll get more into Simon’s personality in the book review below, but voice was spot on. The narration and production was so clear it was honestly like I was listening to a good friend talk and tell his story. If you’re looking for a great audiobook, I’d recommend trying thing one out.
Review: I loved every second of this book. I started it during an epic kitchen cleaning project and listened to it for the entire 8 hours and 45 minutes straight. That’s not something I do often unless I’m on a road trip. But from the moment I met Simon, I liked him. And after nearly 7 hours of his story, I love him.
This is definitely a character-driven novel. Simon has the normal pitfalls of high school (except for one rather large scandal), but for the most part, this is a very quiet book. It’s not about misery or death or an epic journey. It’s about a kind, quiet boy trying to figure out who he is and how he fits in his world. He’s learning to be honest with himself and his family while also recognizing how his actions and words affect others. And in that way it just so beautifully captures the teenage experience that I want to shove this book into every teen’s hand I can find.
One more thing about Simon. I think the reason I connected with him so much is because he reminds me of a good friend I went to high school with. I’ve been graduated from high school for 10 years now, and I still keep in touch with my friend. We went to senior prom together. We spent many late night talking about science and religion and politics. Even though he lives half a world away now, we still email and call frequently. And, I’ll be honest, when he came out to me, I took it hard. At that point in my life, I was very religious and devastated by his news. I told him we’d work something out and that I’d be his friend no matter what. And despite my less than enthusiastic reaction to his news, he stuck with me. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized our friendship wasn’t about his sexual orientation. I wasn’t there to be someone who wanted him to be someone different.
It’s embarrassing for me to admit how I felt then. Even typing it now seems like some kind of a betrayal. But, even though I hardly recognize the girl I was then, I’m trying to be gentle with myself and embrace the change and become a better ally. Because my friend deserves that. Kids like Simon deserve allies who are going to be willing to stand up for them and then let them speak. And that’s precisely what this book does.