Monday, August 27, 2018

Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

So they made a movie based on this book (no, I haven't seen it). It was the movie's release that prompted me to finally read the book.

Simon is gay, but he hasn't told anyone yet. He has been corresponding (emailing) with another guy who goes to the same high school, but neither know each other's identity. Simon is curious, but the other boy wants to keep the secret. Along comes Garrett who accidentally sees one Simon's emails and decides he can use the info to get something for himself (a date with Simon's friend, Abby). Yes, Garrett threatens to out Simon to everyone unless Simon helps him get to know a friend. What a jerk, right?

Simon is not ready to share his sexuality with the world and is afraid that it will scare off his potential boyfriend if he is outed. This could be his first boyfriend ever! It might be...Simon is not sure if he is reading the signals correctly. The other guy seems to be flirting, so it could happen.

Simon has a great group of friends. They are written with more depth than you might find in many teen novels, and I found that refreshing. He also has nice (but not perfect) parents. So Simon's world is pretty good (except for some uncertainty about being accepted for who he is). It's a pleasant, fun read.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner

Brynne idolizes political commentator, Rachel Maddow. So when she is forced to write to a famous person for an assignment, she chooses Rachel. The thing is Brynne keeps e-mailing Rachel with all the details of her life.

So what is going in Brynne's life? First off, her parents are horrible (particularly her stepdad). Not just typical 'my parents suck' horrible. They really treat Brynne terribly. Second, her brother, the only person who she could depend on, died. Third, her grades plummeted after his death and she ends up in the remedial (and literal basement) classes. Which also means she got kicked off the newspaper staff. Oh, and her girlfriend broke up with her.

As her junior year continues, Brynne becomes annoyed with Adam who believes only honor students should represent the school on student council (no surprise, he is an honor student). Adam is also not above using questionable tactics to win. Brynne does not want to involve herself, but cannot stand the thought of Adam winning knowing he does not care about the other students (like herself and her fellow basement dwellers).

Brynne tells us her story through the e-mails to Rachel. She is young woman full of angst and self doubt. We hope she finds her way in spite of her own misgivings about her worth and abilities. It's a serious story with humor thrown in. I hope Rachel Maddow enjoyed it as much as I did.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.