My experiment in contemporary YA fiction continues with Simon VS The Homo Sapiens Agenda which was the source material for Love Simon last year, which I still haven’t seen all of, and I really need to, but the parts I have seen are pretty great.
One of the things that I get annoyed with in a lot of teen based media, of the mainstream variety is it’s deep, deep misunderstanding of what a standard suburban adolescence actually looks like after, say 1985. Particularly the way computers, and then the interenet and then cell phones really changed the way teenagers interact.
Simon Spiers and his friends are the kind of dorky kids I hung out with as a teenager. Simon himself is a casual theater dork, having done the school musical, his best friends are into anime and video games. They all love indie rock. Simon is also gay and trying to figure out how to come out.
They live in the suburbs of Atlanta. (An area I know QUITE well.) I remember being a kid once and my mom complaining that she wished I would watch something about NORMAL kids for a change. And both Simon and All The Boys are probably the stories she meant. Kids who have friends, and siblings they like and hobbies that fill up their days. This isn’t to say there isn’t conflict, Simon has plenty of conflict, but there’s something familiar and refreshing about this book. Simon’s coming out reminds me of quite of few friends, and there’s one day described where all the kids in the school production of Oliver (The movie changes it to Cabaret? Once again, YA books getting suburb high school right and Hollywood fucking it up.) have a sing along after rehearsal to Disney songs. That’s a thing I actually did. Kind of A lot.
The plot of Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda is the kind of sweet love story that all kids should get to project themselves into and I’m so glad it exists for queer kids growing up. The questions of coming out probably aren’t going to change much.
Up next is Puddin’ because you guys know how much I love Dumplin’ so why not delve further into that world.