Note to self: Don’t forget to log out of your personal email on a public computer. That’s the lesson 16-year-old Simon Spier learns the hard way after a high school classmate reads his emails to his secret, anonymous boyfriend, Blue. Simon hasn’t come out to his friends or family, and now he feels pressured to keep this fact, as well as the identity of Blue, a secret.
Moments of teen life, drama and angst are well drawn by debut novelist Becky Albertalli, a clinical psychologist who previously worked with gender-nonconforming children. Her insights are spot on, from the dialogue to the raw emotions Simon and Blue experience. As the book alternates between daily life and the emails between Simon and Blue, readers are immediately and magnetically pulled into this story of coming out, being true to oneself and challenging the societal status quo, or the “homo sapiens agenda,” as Simon refers to it.
Topical relevance aside, this book stands in the YA canon as an outstanding book about teens coming of age, where several of the characters just happen to be gay.