by Becky Albertalli
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
I swore I was going to stop reading these gay teen love stories! Ugh. So much angst! So much lust! All the feels! This one had everything, and with a twist – our hero did not know the true identity of the boy he was falling in love with over email. Sure, he knew that Blue attends his school and is a fellow junior, but they’re both fine with (and in fact prefer) not knowing.
Chapters alternate between emails back and forth and straight narration / dialogue. I loved that Albertalli did not include absolutely every email but rather plopped us down into the middle of the exchange. I had to work a little to infer what the previous email had said and it was just great showing-not-telling. Also, once we do find out Blue’s true identity, I rejoiced in flipping back through to find snippets of description of that character, so that I got to experience the magic again.
I especially appreciated the character development. Not just the protagonist, but also his friends (who have their own drama going on, literally and figuratively as some of them are in the school musical with Simon), his antagonist (the classmate who blackmails him about Blue) and his family (two sisters and “cool” parents). Simon’s friend Leah was mostly irritating, but his other friends were lovely diversions from the main storyline. I also loved that Simon and Blue encouraged each other to start coming out, and the way in which the bullying was addressed. Totally delightful. Can’t wait to see the movie!