Wow, this is a wonderfully complex book that deals with so many political issues without ever making me feel like I was being bogged down with information. Plus a realistic, cute romance as well! It did feel a little slow in places, I found myself wishing that it wasn't 450 pages long. I'm waiting for the Netflix movie because this would fit right in with their amazing catalog of YA movies.
I was surprised by how real the characters felt, every character was a fully realised human being with their own personalities and faults. Maya and Jamie in particular felt like people I knew personally by the end of the book. I loved that they were completely normal kids, that Jamie just wanted to get his sister's Bat Mitzvah over and all Maya wanted was her parents to get back together and was working on getting a car. I've been reading far too many books lately where the teenagers read bloody Hemingway and quote Virginia Woolf on the daily.
The book balances the inner workings of a political campaign, which I don't know too well, with social media, which I know very well. I loved Instagramm, Jamie's Grandma and her dog, Boomer. She was a great character that added a lot of fun to the story, and showed me what it takes, or doesn't take, to go viral on Social Media.
I liked that the book didn't make the fact that Maya is Muslim, and Jamie is Jewish, a side note. When we start the book Maya is fasting for Ramadan, while Jamie is dealing with his mother's plans for his sister's Bat Mitzvah. It was great that a good part of the romance was them introducing each other to their own cultures and each character fully embracing that.
One aspect I wasn't expecting was the darker side to social media, and the backlash that Jamie and Maya experience later in the book, due to Gabe's rash actions, who is trying to get as much support for the campaign in any way possible. Also just seeing what being thrust into the limelight can do to people who never asked for it.
I Picked Up This Book Because: Picked up on a whim
Benjamin “Ben” Alejo:
Dylan, Samantha, Jesse, Ethan, Hudson, Harriet, parents
This is a bit coming of age, a bit romantic comedy, a lot of teen angst and overall enjoyable. It took me forever to get through it and not because it was bad but it just didn’t 100% grip me. I still wanted the end of the story though and I’m glad I stuck it out until the end. Ben and Arthur have a special relationship and I think it will last a very long time in any incarnation it takes.
The Random Thoughts:
I particularly loved Dylan, he’s an awesome friend.
The Score Card:
Reading Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda makes me smile for a good reason. Its warm, funny and yet meaningful in many ways how I care about the characters. But what makes Simon special was how its written. Then came the spin-off, Leah on the Offbeat, where the central character is Leah Burke - totally opposite of Simon Spier; cynical teenager about how life is for her and how she view things in life that is negative in many ways. While Simon is light and filled with colorful characters, well on his point of view, Leah on the other hand is on what reality is - no fluffy bears but just judgmental on every thing. Its not bad, its just not that better and more of the same but less beautiful.
Following the events after Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Leah Burke is in the band with Anna, Morgan and Nora, only its falling apart after college is on the horizon and with prom coming, suddenly things just seem to fall apart. Nick and Abby strangely aren't together as always, Morganhad offended Leah with a racist remark and Garrett seems to be in love with Leah, which is isn't. What matters worst is Leah's mum is in love with someone who isn't exactly someone Leah would like to have as future stepdad. And then there is Abby Suso, a girl Leah isn't sure she likes her or not but when things start to question about relationships, Leah doesn't know if he can accept Abby as someone as a close friend... or some thing more.
The beginning is some what unimpressive and it was later on, it slowly picks up. I can't seem to find what was the purpose of this book as it felt like it starts off in the middle of every thing. And then, its pretty much how young adult books are written, only with cynical wit and lots of waffles, cuss words and I-am-not-sure-what-I-want-in-life moments. There are times it is funny, and I really do start to like Leah and the rest of the characters on the later part of the book. But from how it really starts off and towards the end, overall its not that bad. Its just not better. Pretty much normal but in a realistic way. To me, this is a 3.5 out of 5 star rating. If you love the first Creekwood book, you will still enjoy the second, just no better.