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review 2015-05-07 20:31
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

Super sweet book, about a not-really-out gay boy who gets blackmailed (that doesn’t make it sound cute, but it is!). I loved how even though it’s told in first person and we’re definitely in Simon’s head, we also get a little glimpse into the other characters, so that it never feels like Simon’s view is The Only Right Way. Smart, thoughtful, funny romantic comedy.

Source: bysinginglight.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/a-good-reading-week
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review 2015-03-27 14:15
Review: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Release Date: April 7, 2015
Source: Edelweiss
Published by: Balzer + Bray

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli | Goodreads

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.

This book had me grinning at so many spots, it's impossible to name them all. This is going to be in the top ten of many bloggers's lists for contemporary YA novels published in 2015: yes, that is how fantastic Simon Spier's voice is. You know how Stephanie Perkins's novels are full of saturation, the voices so PRESENT and easy to picture? That ALL CAPS sensation where you feel like you really know her characters? Yes, this book reminded me of that effect. Simon's voice is original, full of humor and realism. He will have you laughing and grinning and then by turnsthinking deeply about the defaults of the world, about the difficulties he has to face because he's going against the mold and of the little things which people (like his father) say that can be taken badly.

The side characters in this novel are truly something to behold as well. There aren't that many contemporary novels with large character casts; I am reminded of Lauren Oliver's contemporary novels but few else. Here we have Simon's adorable family, his best friends and their extended lunch table crew, the cast of the drama musical he's in, his teachers and romantic interest. The sense of community that Oliver has explicitly (in Panic) stated that she hopes her readers will find in her novels is here in spades in Becky Albertalli's novel. The characters by turns support Simon and isolate him sometimes without even realizing it, and the conflicts raised by the extended cast feel realistic and handled so well. The bullying with the blackmail situation, the meeting of a romantic interest online and the difference of an internet and in person connection, the pressure and expectations raised with coming-out, and the coming-of-age and learning to love and embrace yourself running alongside so many other issues. Simon's character development is wonderfully enhanced and developed alongside the other characters and the novel's themes.

One of the really fantastic things about having a large character cast means that this romance feels fresh and almost unpredictable. Simon doesn't know the identity of his pen pal, who he falls in love with, and having a large cast means that you're kept on your toes as you, like him, try to figure out who Blue is. Their email exchange ensures that they are friends before they enter a relationship - before they're even sure that they're physically attracted to one another - and are so, so adorable to read. You see their chemistry before they recognize it and take their friendship to the next level. They'll have you craving Oreos and grinning before long. The plot of this adorable coming-out coming-of-age romance is only amplified by Simon's humorous and real voice.

With the sense of community, large character cast, and friendship that would appeal to Lauren Oliver's contemporary fans; an email-based romance (at first) that I would imagine would also appeal to fans of Jennifer Smith's This is What Happy Looks Like; and the fresh, humorous voice that would appeal to Stephanie Perkins's fans, Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda is a sure-fire hit. This combination of coming-of-age character growth, romance, and awesome characters ensures that Becky Albertalli is on my to-watch for future releases. So, so adorable.

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url 2015-01-26 02:27
Preview of 2015 Books [Awesomeness Abounds!]

Are you looking for some really great 2015 young adult (or new adult) titles to pre-order with a gift-card? Or maybe you just want to mark your calendar with these new releases...

Because let me tell you, they are AWESOME.

You can watch the video above here or at my booktube channel.
My favorites of 2015 so far -- and you should totally mark your calendar with these release dates! You can think of this as a sort of preview or recap of my favorites so far because you'll definitely be hearing about these titles from me in FULL. (Well, the Mime Order, I wrote a Reasons to Read the Bone Season post instead. But all the others are lined up, reviews scheduled to post on Tuesdays through April 7th!).

1. The Mime Order - Samantha Shannon on January 27th, 2015


  • Book 2 in the Bone Season series (7 total!). Futuristic London + clairvoyency powers + dystopia between humans, clairvoyents, and a mysterious race called the Rephaim? A story told in a very cinematic style - gritty, dark, and full of action? OH, HECK YES. I've submitted my pre-order because this was awesome!


2. Stone in the Sky - Cecil Castellucci on February 25th, 2015


  • Book 2 in the Tin Star duology. YA science fiction set in space + colonization efforts of humans and many, many races of aliens + girl trapped on a space station as the only human + survival + gold-rush-like elements + political intrigue + a huge galactic struggle.... Epic science fiction you should NOT miss.


3. The Winner's Crime - Marie Rutkoski on March 3rd, 2015


  • Book 2 in the Winner's trilogy. Set in a Greco-Roman inspired world, a forbidden romance between slave & master + LOTS of political intrigue, class and racial tension between two countries. Games, strategy. Paging Kristin Cashore fans, specifically those who liked Bitterblue: you do not want to miss this sequel - it DEFINITELY raised the stakes from book 1, The Winner's Curse.


4. The Walls Around Us - Nova Ren Suma on March 24th, 2015


  • Orange is the new Black Swan + beautiful writing + seriously check out an excerpt because WOW WOW WOW to that first chapter. Bloody ballerinas + girls juvenile detention system + mystery/suspense + a tribute to girls in all their complexity. Nova Ren Suma's books are unlike any other in YA, and her writing a dream.


5. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli on April 7th, 2015


  • Coming-out coming-of-age YA with great voice, humor and heart. Great & huge character cast + adorable romance + grinning so, so hard + wonderful character development. Paging Stephanie Perkins fans, Lauren Oliver fans, and (probably) fans of Jennifer Smith's This Is What Happy Looks Like.


6. Crimson Bound - Rosamund Hodge on May 5th, 2015


  • 17th century(?) or 1700s France meets Little Red Riding Hood meets The Maiden with No Hands. Fairy tale retelling that's inspired by its original material but is something completely its own, not bound by retelling demands. Complex characters + fascinating magical creatures + doomed but determined protagonist + romance like in Cruel Beauty + Arthurian elements + layered and unpredictable plot ===> Rosamund Hodge strikes again with pure gold.

7. Made You Up - Francesca Zappia on May 19th, 2015


  • Alex is a high school senior struggling to tell the difference between reality and delusion, and is very much determined to go to college despite her struggles. Fans of We Were Liars, Stephanie Kuehn, John Green, and The Breakfast Club: helllooo! Unreliable narrators + layered plots + rereading necessary to look at the details again + heartbreaking revelations + psychological twists + quirky/funny, smart characters + a side cast that rounds out the unique high school Alex attends. Definitely a different contemporary -- and one you will WANT to read asap :).

Kinda sorta what I said in the video, but much more abbreviated, ha. Or, if you want to try already released books, I've also talked about my top 12 young adult high fantasy recommendations here. (Yeah, Thursdays/Fridays/okay, really whenever I end up editing videos = the day I discuss on the blog lol regardless of topic.)

Do you plan on reading any of these books? Have you read any of these already? Which books are on your most anticipated of 2015 list?

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