Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda Book Poster Image
Sweet tale of gay teen who comes out, takes chance on love.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 22 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows the effects of cyberbullying and the challenges teens can face when coming out.

Positive Messages

There's a sweet message here about being brave enough to try to love. All young people can have secret identities, whether it's their sexuality or simply that they play an instrument. And everyone needs room to grow. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Simon realizes some things about himself, such as that he needs to be a better friend and ask his friends what's going in their lives. He also learns to be brave, telling Blue, "I've been spending very little time ... taking chances and putting my heart on the line." It's also worth noting that Simon's parents are pretty great about trying to understand their son, and his dad even apologizes to him when he realizes he's hurt his son's feelings. 

Violence

Simon faces a few incidents of bullying after he comes out as gay. There's no physical violence here, but girls in Simon's theater program chase some boys who show up at practice to harass Simon, holding derogatory signs. Another boy blackmails Simon when he finds out Simon's gay.

Sex

Boys discuss masturbation over email. Boys kiss, hold hands, and spend some time in a room together alone. A mother advises her child to use protection and talks about oral sex. There are other gay characters and bisexual characters, including teens who come out to each other and their families.

Language

Liberal use of "f--k," plus "butt," "crap," "hell," "God," "Jesus Christ," and some derogatory words for gay people. 

Consumerism

Mentions of products include Adventure Time,  Assassin's Creed, The Bachelorette, Apple to Apples, Harry Potter, Oreos, Chick-fil-A, Chuck Taylors, Coke, Skype, Tegan and Sara, Elliott Smith, Target, iPod, Chips Ahoy, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Waffle House. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Simon goes to a party where there's drinking and has a beer. In another scene, he comes home drunk after a night with his friends and is caught by his parents.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (which was made into the movie Love, Simon) is about a teen boy who comes out of the closet and falls into his first relationship. Simon faces a few incidents of bullying after he comes out as gay. There's no physical violence, but girls in Simon's theater program chase some boys who show up at practice to harass Simon, holding derogatory signs. Another boy blackmails Simon when he finds out Simon is gay. Boys discuss masturbation over email. Boys kiss, hold hands, and spend some time in a room together alone. A mother advises her child to use protection and talks about oral sex. There are other gay characters and bisexual characters, including teens who come out to each other and their families. Simon goes to a party where there's drinking and has a beer. In another scene, he comes home drunk after a night with his friends and is caught by his parents. There’s liberal use of "f--k," plus some derogatory words for gay people and a few words such as "hell" and "crap."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byStacey I. December 17, 2017

A Book that Celebrates Diversity with Great Sweetness

This is a lovely book. Representation matters, and this book does a lovely job of supporting race issues, LGTBQ+ issues, and girl issues with a gentle touch tha... Continue reading
Adult Written byEnrique A. March 11, 2018
Simon V.S. in its self is a story about a boy who learned and lived the importance of being honest with one's self about the way you are feeling. To say... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byliterarylover March 19, 2016

Great book with important message

This is a very good book that delicately deals with homophobic bullying and self acceptance. The pace is fast enough to present the topic in an endearing way wi... Continue reading
Written byAnonymous November 27, 2017

Almost as good as harry potter!

This book has a great message for kids, teens, and, adults! The characters are funny, and suportive. One of the best books I've ever read!!! There is some... Continue reading

What's the story?

Simon is a gay teen who's being blackmailed: He forgot to sign out of his email, and a classmate discovered the secret messages he was sending anonymously to a teen boy he only knows as Blue, who's also in the closet. Now, if Simon wants his sexuality to stay a secret, he must help that classmate try to hook up with a girl he likes. When Simon's secret inevitably comes out, he faces both positive and negative reactions from his friends, parents, and classmates, including some outright bullying at school. He also must figure out what to do about Blue, for whom he now has deep feelings -- and who now knows who he really is. 

Is it any good?

Despite the rather devastating premise, SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA is a fast-moving, fun book about a boy learning to be honest about who he is -- and to be brave enough to take a chance on love. Simon's coming-out story might not break new ground, but it's sweet and romantic.

Also, Simon gains some surprising insights about himself and life, and readers will enjoy his ideas. For one, he thinks that all young people should have to come out about their sexuality, not just gay people. He also realizes the logic in what Blue tells him -- "people really are like houses with vast rooms and tiny windows" -- meaning he's not the only one with a secret identity and that even the people he's closest to are getting over private pain or discovering new parts of their personalities. That's a lesson that all teens can relate to.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about coming-out stories. What do you think of Simon's idea that all people should have to come out, no matter what their sexuality?

  • What do you think about the blackmail subplot? Parents might want to use this book -- and what happened to Simon -- to discuss cyberbullying with their kids.  

  • What would happen in your school if someone came out as gay? Would anyone act as badly as some of the kids do in Simon's school?

Book details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love coming-of-age stories

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate