Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda


Becky Albertalli

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda Study Guide

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Brief Biography of Becky Albertalli

Becky Albertalli was born and raised in the Atlanta metro area; Creekwood High and the town of Shady Creek are based off the high school she attended, Riverwood High, and the town where she grew up, Sandy Springs. She graduated from George Washington University with a doctorate in clinical psychology and then worked as a clinical psychologist. She worked often with LGBTQ teens and adults, as well as gender nonconforming children. Though they certainly influenced her decision to write Simon, she's been very vocal about the fact that Simon isn't based off of any one of her clients. In 2012, Albertalli gave birth to her first son and decided to try her hand at writing, which culminated in Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. She's since written several other books including Leah on the Offbeat, which continues the story in Simon's universe. Simon has won several awards, including the American Library Association's William C. Morris award and the German Youth Literature Prize. Albertalli had the opportunity to be involved in the adaptation of Simon into the film Love, Simon, which was filmed in the Atlanta area. She still lives in the Atlanta suburbs with her husband and two sons.
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Historical Context of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is extremely tuned into the technological landscape of the early-mid 2010s; Simon and his friends are constantly connected on social media networks such as Facebook and Tumblr, while email is treated as a somewhat dated mode of communication. Though the novel never states when Simon and Bram created their email accounts with fake names, they may have struggled to do so given that from 2011-2014, Google was attempting to promote its "real name policy." This policy insisted that users, specifically of the social media platform Google+, use names that matched their government IDs. Incidentally, this policy ignored the concerns of individuals like Simon and Bram and victims of violence or harassment, who argued that protecting their real identities online was a safety concern. Simon was also released mere months before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2015 that all states were required to recognize same-sex marriages and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Before this, the state of Georgia only recognized domestic partnerships in a few cities, one of which was Atlanta.

Other Books Related to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Becky Albertalli has written two other books that also exist in the "Simon-verse:" The Upside of Unrequited follows one of Abby Suso's cousins, while Leah on the Offbeat picks up at Creekwood High during senior year and follows Leah's own coming out journey. Albertalli has said that her novels are greatly influenced by the teen novels of Australian writer Jaclyn Moriarty, whose Ashbury/Brookfield series bears the most similarities to Albertalli's work (the stories are told through characters' writing, including letters and emails, as in Simon). Simon also joins the growing genre of LGBTQ teen lit, which includes novels such as Nick Burd's The Vast Fields of Ordinary and David Levithian's Boy Meets Boy. Simon also bears thematic resemblance to The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, as both novels deal with the changing social and political landscape that affects teens and how they grow up and move through the world.
Key Facts about Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
  • Full Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
  • When Written: 2013-14
  • Where Written: Atlanta, GA
  • When Published: 2015
  • Literary Period: Contemporary
  • Genre: Young adult fiction
  • Setting: The fictional town of Shady Creek, Georgia (based off of the real-life town of Sandy Springs, Georgia)
  • Climax: Simon discovers at the carnival that Blue is actually Bram.
  • Antagonist: Martin Addison; homophobia
  • Point of View: First Person

Extra Credit for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Wrong Stereotype. Albertalli has faced criticism for Simon's taste in music, particularly his affinity for Tegan and Sara. This criticism is rooted in the fact that the group is extremely popular with gay women, not gay men.

Tumblr. Tumblr doesn't just figure prominently in the novel—it's become an integral part of the Simon fandom. Becky Albertalli runs her own Tumblr called "Becky Survived Puberty" where she connects with her fans, and there's a fan-run Tumblr aptly called "creeksecrets" that curates fan art, fanfiction, and Simon-themed playlists.