Book vs adaptation: Love, Simon | reviewing Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs the homo sapiens agenda and its movie: a new comfort story that is immensely relatable!

Chances are that, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you recognise the name of this series: book vs adaptation (I know, I know, 10/10 for creativity!). I did one of these what feels like ages ago, but today I’m officially restarting this series, and not with just some title: the first book/adaptation I will be talking about is a very loved YA contemporary!

Simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda had been on my TBR for the longest time, but now I’ve officially read it! Right after finishing it, I watched the movie Love, Simon with my mom and, well, to hear what I thought, you’ll have to read some more of this post! Let me tell you this already though: this is a story of love, the defaults our society sets for us and ultimately: being queer. My expectations were high, so let’s take a walk and I’ll tell you all about it, okay?

This post and review are spoiler-free. However, it does include some general thoughts and discussions of what happens, vague but still present.

Book Review – Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – Casey  Carlisle

Simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda by Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young adult, Contemporary
Representation: gay, black and Jewish main characters
Trigger/Content warnings: blackmailing, bullying, homophobia, public outing

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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.

Love, Simon (2018) — directed by Greg Parlanti
Based on the novel by Becky Albertalli
Screenplay by Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker

Short description: Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends and all of his classmates: he’s gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Let’s not beat around the bush and just get it out of the way: I enjoyed — or rather: I loved — the movie way more than the book. It made me feel so much, whether we’re talking in terms of joy or hope or just the general feeling of being understood. I even dare to say it’s one of my new all time favourites, which I sadly can’t say about the book.

Now, you have to understand that a three star-rating is still a really good thing from my perspective. I enjoyed Simon vs the homo sapiens for sure, plus it tackled some subjects I think are really important. Its qualities for me lie in how relatable and real it felt. It was so true to being a teenager and you really are stuck in Simon’s head.

That last thing I pointed out is really admirable, but one of the reasons I couldn’t love this book all at once. I just…don’t like Simon at all? He’s very judgmental and overall not a likeable character for me, which made being stuck in his head a bit annoying.

But except for that, I was just enjoying it. It didn’t feel like some unforgettable story or one that gave me so many emotions. It was just a nice story, and that’s all it needed to be for me!

There was one mutual problem between the movie and book for me, though. I really loved the friendgroup, especially in the movie, but at one point they’re just doing the worst thing at the worst moment: not being there for Simon because of selfish reasons. I don’t know, that just didn’t sit well with me.

And now comes the most shocking truth of them all: Love, Simon stays quite true to the book, but makes changes either way…Changes, I mostly like better than the way it went in the book. I know, I know! It feels weird to even type that, but alright…here’s my conclusion:

While reading a fan favourite book, I found a new comfort movie. This is an outcome I definitely didn’t expect but…oh well, I’m happy about it nonetheless! Despite the book not being as much for as I had hoped it would be, I totally fell in love with the adaptation! It’s relatable to the point of making me tear up because I just felt so understood. It brought me so many wonderful feelings and I already can’t wait to rewatch it!

This was a chaotic post that wasn’t as in depth as I had hoped it would be because…guess who forgot to take notes while reading and watching! But I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless! I guess you could say this is an exception to the rule we know all too well: the book was better. But have you watched any adaptations lately?

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13 thoughts on “Book vs adaptation: Love, Simon | reviewing Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs the homo sapiens agenda and its movie: a new comfort story that is immensely relatable!

  1. yess something about becky albertalli’s writing, especially in simon, just feels so comforting??? idk if i can explain it, but the vibes were just there for me.
    it has been a hot minute since i watched the movie (the book i read like last week so that one is way fresher in the brain) but after reading leah on the offbeat the movie upsets me SO MUCH???? they did leah so dirty. if i recall correctly, leah’s (selfish) reason for not being there was because she was crushing on simon???? (or did i just accidently conjour all this in my mind palace??? seriously my memory sucks) but that is NOT WHAT HAPPENED AT ALL?????? WHERE DID THAT COME FROM??? cause like abby?????? but again that was a second book development so idk. also people have brought up the fact that leah is a plus sized character and isn’t represented as such in the movie so there is that too
    but there def were some good changes and watching the movie still makes me feel lots of feelings. and def i agree with you about the friend dynamics, wish they had stepped up in both versions
    i love this series, reading your thoughts on both was so cool!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i need to read more by becky honestly!! and i haven’t read leah’s book but i can imagine it doesn’t line up with the movie which is so sad…and yeah the crush thing was so??? why???? to me too, but except for that and the not casting leah as a plus-sized actress (which i really should’ve pointed out in this review, sorry) which is really problematic, i loved it so much. thank you, i can’t wait to publish the next installment in this series!! you’re the best!!


  2. I haven’t gotten around to the book yet, but I did see the movie when it first came out, and I totally feel the same way about it as a comfort movie! While there were parts that made my heart hurt, it was largely full of those lovely warm and fuzzy feelings and it was just overall a really nice, easy movie to watch ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh no! I know exactly how that feels because I’ve made that mistake various times before lmao…I personally liked the movie a lot more too so I don’t know if I’m the right person to motivate you to pick it up to be honest haha! Thank you Hasini!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have neither read the book nor watched the movie, but I have definitely seen both of them floating around the blogosphere, so thank you for letting me know which to pick up when I finally get around to it, because a movie being better than the book is so rare that I don’t think I can miss this chance. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’re pretty popular indeed! Some say Simon is a modern YA “classic” but I think I was a bit underwhelmed with the book overall. The movie was, in my opinion, amazing though! It’s definitely rare indeed haha so I totally understand why you’d be interested now! Thank you so much Ari, you’re amazing!!

      Liked by 1 person

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