Publisher: Balzer & Bray

Monday, April 06, 2015

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens by Becky Albertalli

Posted by 27 Comments

I received this book for free from Balzer + Bray in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens  by Becky AlbertalliSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer & Bray on April 7th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQIA, YA
Source: Balzer + Bray
Buy on Amazon

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 was so sweet and realistic. I couldn’t help but love it. It really captured the reality of someone who might be going through the same type of situation. I loved the characters, the story, all of it really. It didn’t totally blow me away or anything, but it was an amazing story that I will highly recommend to others. Once again, I am happy that more and more YA books are covering topics such as this in such a fantastic way.

I adored Simon. He isn’t embarrassed about being gay, he just doesn’t know how to tell anyone. His family is great and caring, but his dad is known to crack some gay jokes. He knows that they will except it, as well as his friends, but it’s not so easy to tell them. It seems the longer he waits the harder it gets. Now, Martin is blackmailing him because he wants to go out with one of Simon’s friends. Simon knows that he shouldn’t give in, but he doesn’t know what else to do either. He wants people to find out when he’s ready, not because of some douche who just wants a date with his friend. He isn’t really as much afraid that people will find out about him as he is that Blue might be discovered. Besides that, he likes what they have with their emails. Yes, he does want to find out who Blue really is, but he is also really nervous about knowing and wondering if it will change things. He likes being able to mostly be himself with Blue, without giving too much away so Blue won’t discover who he really is. I think that their emails are sweet, and I think it’s the cutest when they finally meet in real life. Simon is a smart kid with great friends and family. He is sure of himself and isn’t too worried about whether his friends will accept that he is gay, but is more concerned about Blue and if he will be everything he expects.

Blue was a great character. We don’t get to actually meet him and find out who he is until late in the book, but I loved getting to know him through the emails. He is such a great support for Simon, and Simon for him. He is also funny, smart, and very charming. I couldn’t wait to find out his identity. Once we do find out who he is, I loved it even more. Everything about it was really sweet and awkward.

Of course this wasn’t without some drama, but it wasn’t overdone. At times I really hated Martin and some of the jerks in his school, but it really painted a good picture of reality. Yes, most people don’t care one way or another whether someone is gay, but there are still the jerks who will bully and be mean. We do see a bit of that in the book, and it made me so sad and angry. Just like it would in real life. It also shows how much others (even ones you wouldn’t think) care and how bulling won’t be tolerated. Along with that it covers the ignorant side of things too. How people don’t realize how their actions could hurt someone. Even if unintentional. This book captured a tough time in Simon’s life and all that goes with it. The support, the difficulties, the love, and the awkwardness of things. I really enjoyed this book and thought it was well done. I would recommend that everyone read this one!!


4 Hot Espressos

Review: Get Dirty by Gretchen McNeil

Review: Get Dirty by Gretchen McNeil

Posted by on 02/27/2015 • 6 Comments

Remember the time when I kept sayingGet Even, the first book of this duology, was better as a standalone?

Well, I now eat my words, because if that book was a standalone, Get Dirty wouldn’t exist, and I would have missed a book that was BAD. ASS. AWESOME. Seriously, guys. I enjoyed this way more than I expected to, and I’m so happy with how everything was written and concluded!

I mean, seriously? It doesn’t only has suspense (I was on my toes the whole time), unpredictability (I swear I couldn’t guess who the perpetrator was… the timing of the clues and how they were laid out and everything made me SECOND-GUESS EVERYONE), girl power (four girls with different personalities being fantastic together and individually), but humor, too! I swear, guys, this one made…

Review: Little Peach by Peggy Kern

Review: Little Peach by Peggy Kern

Posted by on 02/18/2015 • 17 Comments

Wow… this was a very harsh read. Like, I felt sick to my stomach while reading most of it. It deals with incredibly heavy subjects – disturbing, even – but it is, in my opinion, one very important story. It’s a real eye opener regarding the sex trade. We all know that it exists; we all hear about the projects and the poverty and the hard knock life, yet it never quite hits home until you encounter an up close and personal story like this. The story of a young girl who is so innocent, so oblivious to what’s even happening to her. She’s only known fear and abuse, she thinks this is her way out. Her “daddy” is showing her the love and affection she’s been craving since childhood…

Review: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Review: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Posted by on 01/30/2015 • 8 Comments

Are you looking for suspense, mystery, and thrills?

Are you looking for a revenge story in a prep school of les rich, complete with a raging, bully-enabling, hypocritical priest at its head?

Are you looking for side characters that are absolutely cardboard cut-outs of the bitch, the jock, the junkie, the minion-of-the-bitch-who-is-actually-miserable-and-feels-happy-when-she-is-complimented-over-the-bitch (wow that was long), the best friend, the snarling physical education teacher – among other “stereotypical” characters – that are absolutely expected now in books like this?

Yes, you get all of these in Get Even. Now, don’t get me wrong. The characters may have been written in such a way that was seriously cheesy and mayhaps even exaggerated to the point that it’s hard to take any of them seriously, but if you like mindless fun, I have no…

Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Posted by on 01/23/2015 • 15 Comments

Holy Jesus in a manger on the 25th of December… I think I just found a new fantasy series to love.

And here I thought the Young Adult demographic has forgotten to churn out awesome high fantasies. The last time I’ve ever loved a YA Fantasy with a female heroine this much was when I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson. Since then, the fantasies I’ve read didn’t even ignite any wonder or awe in me, didn’t make me feel as immersed, didn’t make me feel as involved or as engrossed. They paled in comparison and I was left to looking at non-YA fantasy books to give me my fix (hi, Brandon Sanderson!).

And then I read this beautiful book. Snow Like Ashes reminded me of the…

Review: Polaris (Avalon #2) by Mindee Arnett

Review: Polaris (Avalon #2) by Mindee Arnett

Posted by on 01/20/2015 • 12 Comments

First I have to say that I almost gave up on this book. I liked the first book, so I really wanted to see where things went in this so I continued on. It took a while, but when I finally got into it, I was hooked. It was very action packed and adventure filled. I still didn’t really care too much for the characters, but there was so much going on that I guess I was distracted from them a lot. Speaking of a lot going on, there is conspiracy, after conspiracy and betrayals galore. I really liked the story and how things all led from one thing to another in a shit storm though. I didn’t love it, but it was still enjoyable.

Jeth just doesn’t do…

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Posted by on 12/05/2014 • 19 Comments

Now I see why people love this author.

Truth be told, when I read Cruel Beauty not too long ago, I remember being very frustrated with it. Yes, the prose flowed exceptionally well; yes, the characters were complex; yes, the world-building was fascinating and all that, but I just couldn’t find myself liking it completely. It was a fantasy that read too much like a romance (although it can be debated that it’s romance first in a fantasy setting…), and I remember being overwhelmed with the talks of love and kisses. I don’t like it when a love between two people is shoved in my face; rather, I want it to be subtle and in the background and happening naturally.

Because of that experience, I was wary of starting Crimson Bound,…

Guest Post & Giveaway: A Trick Of The Light

Posted by on 09/18/2014 • 1 Comment

I am so excited to be able to share with you today a guest post and opportunity to win a novel that I read and loved last year. To celebrate the paperback release of A Trick of The Light, Lois Metzger is here to talk about the unique POV of the novel and let me tell you, this is one perspective you have probably never read from before. First here is a little about the novel:

Click Here To Read Jenni’s Review of A Trick Of The Light

Guest Post from Lois Metzger

How I Came to Write a Book Narrated by a Voice in Someone’s Head

Years ago I wrote an opening scene for my novel, “A Trick…