A Refreshing Perspective on Love

*Read with Caution: Spoilers Ahead*


It’s March Madness. Oh, you thought I was referring to the college basketball tournament, didn’t you? I meant the March Movie Madness. Theatres have released many book-to-movie adaptations, from A Wrinkle in Time to Love, Simon, which is based on the best selling novel Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Albertalli’s coming-of-age novel is based on the life of 16-year-old Simon Spier, a not so openly gay kid. Simon spends the majority of his time working on the school play and emailing “Blue,” the secret identity of another gay kid at his high school, through an anonymous email account. Simon is perfectly happy falling in love with Blue through email until Martin Van Buren, a boy who discovers Simon’s secret, threatens to expose him to the entire school if Simon does not help him get a date with Simon’s friend Abby. The novel explores the troubles and self-discovery Simon faces as he deals with the mess Martin has made and his feelings for Blue.


Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda is honestly such a pleasant, wholesome novel that gets the reader rooting for him and Blue to end up together happily ever after.


Now, time for spoilers. Albertalli, a romantic at heart, couldn’t help but give the novel a happy ending with Simon realizing who Blue is and both of them living happily together. Books like this bring back the innocence and simplicity of being in love for the first time. I think the true reason this novel is such a hit is because it explores different sides of sexual identity and how it affects the people you care about. You would think that the entire novel is based on Simon having to deal with bullying and harassment from his peers and family, but it is the complete opposite. Simon’s family supports him from the start, and the only reason his best friend stops talking to him is because she wasn’t the first person he told about his sexual orientation. Everything in the book just radiates acceptance and positivity, which is very refreshing.


Love, Simon, the movie based on this book, is named after the way Simon signs his emails after Blue finds out his identity. It had a slightly different plot approach. Considering that I read the book before I watched this movie, I expected there to be some changes in the plot, which is the norm for all book-to-movie adaptations.


Nick Robinson played Simon Spier, Keiynan Lonsdale played Bram Greenfeld, Katherine Langford played Leah Burke, Alexandra Shipp played Abby, and Jorge Lendeborg Jr. played Nick. While Nick Robinson does not fit the picture-perfect description of Simon, he portrayed the character so well that all was forgiven. The plot of the movie was relatively similar to the book except for the fact that the movie showed a scene on how Simon and Blue first started emailing each other. But the rest continued on par with the book, from Martin threatening to expose Simon to Simon’s feelings for Blue growing to Simon telling Abby to Simon ending up with Blue.


One huge detail that stuck out to me was the director changing one of the love interests. In the book, Leah was seen to be in love with Nick and stopped being Simon’s friend because he told Abby about being gay first. In the movie, Leah was far more angry with Simon because she thought he would be in love with her too. I understand why this characterization was changed because it added more emphasis to Simon’s friendships falling apart from all the secrets and lies.


The one thing I would change, however, is how public the movie made the moment where Simon found out Blue’s identity. The entire school was there, and it was just not how you would expect their meeting to be. Blue and Simon had been talking privately in their own little bubble for so long that it seemed wrong to place their meeting in a very public setting where the crowd cheered when they kissed. The entire moment needed to be very intimate and personal to relate to the development of their relationship and exposing them to the public just ruined the flow.


Either way, I would 10/10 recommend both the book and the movie. It is so honest to the nature of teenagers, and the diverse cast of the movie helped make the whole experience better.