This book is a goddamned delight, and everyone should read it. The end.
No, just kidding. But I am really glad I picked it up (on the recommendation of basically the entire CBR community, amirite?), even though lately I’ve been trying hard to balance my male protagonists and authors with the underrepresented lady brains that are at large and largely ignored (axe grinding alert!).
I’m glad I picked it up because it’s incredibly sensitive, and thoughtful, and nuanced. It’s also a little bit self-conscious and cutesy, but so are high school students, so it all worked for me.
Simon is a young man in high school who knows he is gay, but struggles with the way and how and responsibility of coming out. He is pseudonymously emailing with another student at his school who also chooses to hide behind a made-up identity because he isn’t ready to come out. But they are rapidly falling in love without knowing who the other is. It’s pretty romantic in a sweet and young way, and I’m hard to impress when it comes to romance.
Meanwhile, high school style troubles pop up from every corner: intrigue in his social circles, embarrassing behavior from his parents, adjustment to the change of a sister going to college… the usual. It’s nicely written, and so easy to read that I blew through it pretty quickly without feeling like it was fluff or a waste of paper.
I always think it’s important to normalize the challenges of adolescence, and this is just the latest in a solid chain of great stories about kids who feel like they don’t fit in, just as everyone has felt at one time or another. It’s the most modern version… until the times change a little bit again, and another one comes along.