This has been hanging out on my TBR for a pretty long while now, and so when I won a competition on Instagram to receive a diverse book of my choice, I chose this one! I was on the hunt for more LGBTQI+ books to read for Pride Month and this seemed like a perfect place to start.
Summary: The book follows main character Simon Spier who is a high-school student who is not-so-openly gay, a theatre student, and a generally well-liked guy. As well as the usual high-school stuff, Simon also has a secret online chat going with another user called Blue who he met through the high-school’s Tumblr page. The book is very much centred on his friendships and relationships and the way they shape him as a person and how he deals with conflict amongst those groups.
Writing: The writing was pretty simplistic which made me read it super fast which was sometimes problematic because I would have to skip back to make sure that I had actually taken in what was being said. It wasn’t boring or too simple, but I think as a fantasy reader I am more used to detailed descriptions, and more poetic language. Not that this form of writing is in any way inferior, it just depends on your taste and what you’re used to! I enjoyed the wit and banter throughout and found the writing extremely readable.
Plot: The plot was fun and the stakes didn’t feel too high as Simon was a pretty relaxed character and he seemed to face the challenges that came his way with ease. While not necessarily a bad thing, it did mean that I didn’t connect as much with the characters and their stories as I didn’t feel any risk. I really liked how everything came together at the end and while I had a hunch, I was still guessing as to Blue’s identity and the reveal was just as sweet and cute as I’d hoped it would be!
Characters: I liked Simon and he had an interesting, refreshing voice. I enjoyed his personality and how he interacted with his friends and family members. I wasn’t a huge fan of how one of his female friends was treated, as I felt that her feelings were very much disregarded, and even once resolved, it didn’t feel like she received the acknowledgement from her friends that she deserved. I don’t enjoy when characters prioritise love/romance over friendships without really considering the feelings of the other people involved, especially when no lesson is learned or it is not acknowledged as an issue. Other than that the friendships were sweet. I feel as though I am grossly over-using ‘sweet’ and ‘cute’ but I really can’t think of any other way to describe this book. It just was.
In summary, I’m not a huge contemporary reader and this one didn’t exactly blow me away. Don’t get me wrong, it is SUPER CUTE, and I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t rave about it and it didn’t really stay with me for long afterwards. I think I was hoping for a bit more from this novel in terms of depth and development, but for what it is I think it does a good job and delivers. Perhaps I am getting a bit old for high-school based novels, and I should be going into them with that in mind! I would recommend this for anyone looking for a cute, summer contemporary with a sweet romance and humour throughout.