My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I had really high hopes going into this book, and though it was a good story and a very creative idea, I can’t say I was blown away.
Let’s start with the positives: This is a very unique coming of age story about a gay teen in suburban Atlanta that I really, really identify with so much. I’m bisexual and live in Rural Georgia, so to us, Atlanta is the shining beacon of gay freedom. Every queer kid flees to Atlanta or Savannah at some point in their Georgia life, so this resonated with me. The culture, the types of people around Simon, and the way his parents are very accepting but he still feels iffy about letting them know because it’s a big deal out of relatively nothing. Simon is a great character who I entirely understand, and I loved him to bits.
The problem is everybody else. There isn’t a single other character, apart from maybe Blue in his emails, that doesn’t feel flat and one-note. Everybody is just exactly what they are: a name on a page. Nick, we don’t know much of anything about him except he’s Simon’s friend who plays guiltar. Leah is Simon’s kind of weird and bitchy friend. Abby is Simon’s new, non-native friend. Martin is a guy in theatre club that is blackmailing Simon. Nobody has any depths besides Simon! We know very little about his family, his friends, his classmates, and it’s even mentioned in the book that Simon DOESN’T KNOW them. It’s just unrealistic that a person wouldn’t know ANYTHING of depth about the people around him, no matter how secretive he is. And because of that, it makes all the characters besides Simon and Blue annoyingly flat.
Hell, the DOG is more dynamic than any of the other humans besides Simon and the anonymous Blue. It’s just so frustrating that such a great idea with such a good story lacks depth in anybody but the main character.
I would give it 5* for the subject matter and plot, and 2* for the characters. I’ll give it 3* just because I do like it more than I dislike it, but it’s not as well written as I hoped this beautiful idea would be.