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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Love, Simon" by Becky Albertalli

Originally published as Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda,

This is a YA novel set in an American High School and thus comparable to The Fault in Our Stars and, especially, Paper Towns both by John Green.

There is a great hook right at the start. Martin has read Simon's emails to Blue and discovered that Simon, 17, is secretly gay. Martin proceeds to blackmail Simon into setting Martin up on a date with Simon's friend Abby. But Simon has another problem too. He is falling in love, by email, with Blue who, he has deduced, also goes to the school. But he doesn't know who Blue is.

At which point there are a number of scenarios. Blue could be some old pervert tricking Simon into these emails and intending to lure him into a compromising situation and even rape. Blue could be Martin himself, twisting Simon round his little finger, or some other member of the class out to tease and humiliate Simon. Blue could (Simon hopes) be Cal who is stunningly hot.

Simon's other problem, of course, is giving Martin enough for Martin not to expose him. And of course he has to negotiate the pitfalls and perils of teenage sexuality complicated by the need to 'come out' (which means talking about his sex-life with his parents, gross) not to mention all the other problems that a kid at school growing up routinely has.

It's a great little story which twists and turns and keeps you hooked to the very end.

Great lines:
  • People are like houses with big rooms and tiny windows.” (p 18) 
  • The whole point of everything is to find a shore worth swimming to.” (p 18) 
  • My mum was the one who got obsessed with the idea that I had a girlfriend even though I had never had one before. I don't know why that came as such a freaking surprise to her, since I'm pretty sure most people start out never having had one.” (p 55) 
  • It's a little fucked up that teachers think they get to dictate what you think about. It's not enough if you just sit there quietly and let them teach. It's like they think they have a right to control your mind.” (p 108) 
  • Straight people really should have to come out, and the more awkward it is the better.” (p 147) 
  • My dad invented the concept of Simon logic ... it means wishful thinking supported by flimsy evidence.” (p 151) 
  • My heart is a pinball” (p 204) 
  • A couple of the girls put some junk in my hair to make it messy, which is basically like putting high heels on a giraffe.” (p 214)
March 2018; 303 pages

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