I originally missed the hype train for this book. It came out while I was still in university and I wasn’t reading much in the way of fiction at that time (let alone keeping up to date with the latest bestsellers). When the first trailer for the movie came out (and that obnoxious basically-just-an-ad-for-this-movie episode of Riverdale came out), I knew I had to read this book ASAP. I’ve finally gotten around to reading it and seeing the movie, so which did I enjoy more?
So here’s the basic run down of this book: Simon is a closeted high school student who has been anonymously emailing with another closeted student from the same high school. After sending one of the emails, Simon forgets to sign out of his account and one of his classmates, Martin, takes a screenshot of his emails. Martin then proceeds to blackmail Simon to help him get a date with one of Simon’s friends. As you can imagine, things get complicated and messy quickly, and it spirals into a tale of finding yourself and choosing to live your truth.
One of my recurring issues with YA contemporaries is they introduce a bunch of characters, and don’t develop enough of them. One of the things I liked more about the movie adaptation than the novel is that they dropped the older sister character. In the novel, she didn’t really seem to serve much of a purpose. She was hardly there and when she was, it didn’t really move the story forward. Additionally, I wish that we could have seen more of Nick and Leah, they seemed interesting and I really wanted more scenes with them. Simon was a great lead character. I really enjoyed how well rounded and interesting he was (plus he had an excellent taste in music). He was relatable, made logical decisions, and generally was an excellent narrator.
Blue is an interesting character. For most of the book, the only way the reader learns about him is through the anonymous emails he exchanges with Simon. I wish I could have liked Blue more. At first, I really enjoyed his emails, but as he started getting more aloof and almost taunting of Simon (about knowing his identity), I lost a lot of respect for him. Another well developed character was Martin. He’s a perfect villain for this story: you feel sympathy for his at times, and he even grows on you. Then he turns around and does the most self-centered, despicable things and you remember why you hated him in the first place. He’s the perfect example of a character I love to hate.
So, did I enjoy this book more than the movie? Honestly, I liked them both equally. There were parts that I thought the movie did right (trimming the number of side characters) but there were other parts that I preferred in the book (the super cute email exchanges and getting more of Simon’s happy ending). I would give this book a solid 4/5. I look forward to reading the companion book once they inevitably announce its movie adaptation.