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      January Bulletin   12/31/2017

      January's bulletin is up! It includes information about recent staff/prefect bumps, the upcoming FROGS, some special awards, and more! You can check it out +here.
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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda/Simonverse

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If you've seen my Twitter in the past few months you probably know I'm pretty obsessed with this book called Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. You've probably even been poked once or twice by me to read this book because it is my everything.

 

So I'm gonna wax poetic about it for a little bit and hope it makes you want to read it too. But first, this book has a big old mystery to it, and if you've read the book you know which one I'm talking about. Please, please use spoiler tags in this thread if you talk about this character in a way that might reveal information about him.

 

So, this book. I think it can best be described as a pile of heart eye emojis and another pile of crying emojis. and then one of those rows of rainbow heart emojis. Maybe that's just me.

 

Book summary from goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

 

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

 

I think this story is so important. It's a romance, but there is so much more to it than just that. Simon's adventure is so unique and at the same time so relateable. As you read you learn his biggest reason for not wanting to come out is because he fears it will change the relationships he's built up around him his whole life, and I think that story line resonates so well with a lot of closeted queer people. At least for me.

 

Intertwined - and eventually encompassing - with Simon's story is the email exchange that Simon shares with Blue, a fellow junior at school with him. I think another beautiful thing that Becky does is how freaking well she writes teenagers. God, some of the emails are so important and profound and beautiful, but then there's one where Simon romanticizes Oreos for an entire page. (Really if this book doesn't make you want to go out and eat an entire package of Oreos then I don't know what to tell you.)

 

Simon's family dynamic is also pretty amazing. His parents are so real, and so entertaining. There's a quiet type of homophobia that doesn't get written a lot where being gay is the punchline of a joke, and Simon's father is like that. It is handled so, so well when the topic is finally addressed after Simon comes out.

 

There are SO many Harry Potter references! There are drarry references! Simon is one of us! Simon is a Hufflepuff. Come on. Please read this book.

 

Becky Albertalli is literally the nicest, most interactive author I've ever seen. She is so active with her fans on Twitter and you can tell just how much love she put into this book from that.

 

If I haven't sweetened the deal for you yet, this book is being made into a movie in March 2018. We literally get to watch Simon fall in love with Blue on a big screen. There is a lot of information about casting and all that on Twitter, otherwise you can just ask me because I'm literally obsessed with everything.

 

Okay, some end of book opinions!

 

Seriously, don't click this spoiler tag until you read.

 

The last thirty pages of this book are literally what fluffy dreams are made of. We go through a little heartbreak when Simon guesses Blue's identity wrong and gets himself grounded from his computer, but Becky would not let this story go without a happy ending. 

 

(Seriously, spoilers below)

 

HE RIDES A TILT-A-WHIRL FOR HIM. And oreo mush. Every time I see those little cups of mini Oreos at the grocery store I seriously have the most ridiculous smile. and the scene after the talent show. *so many heart eyes*

 

Can I please just say how Bram Greenfeld is literally my favorite love interest in the history of love interests. I mean for half of the book Simon calls him, "Cute Bram". #feels. He's literally the softest black boy ever, he's a grammar nerd and a jock and he's shy around cute boys and *incoherent sobbing noises*.

 

 

I know it totally looks like I'm keeping it together really well in this post, but I am literally begging you to love this book with me. It deserves so much love. Becky's second book, The Upside of Unrequited, came out a few months ago, also, and in the fear of talking your face off I will just say it is equally wonderful. The main romance is m/f but there are literally more queer characters than I can count. And there are a bunch of references to Simonvs, including a cameo later in the book from a few of Simon's friends.

 

(please read this book)

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Okay I'm only on chapter nineteen and so I'll come back when I finish but I just need to rage for a sec:

 

I HAVE NEVER WANTED TO PUNCH A CHARACTER MORE IN THE FACE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. MARTIN IS SUCH A HORRIBLE CREATURE for the blackmail, the tumblr incident, and the coercion to get to Abby. EW. Also I don't even care if he's ever apologetic, he's still number one on my list. edit: I'm at ch 23 and sure Martin is remorseful but that glorious clapblack was amazing from my love Simon AND GOOD SUFFER MARTIN YOU JERK.

 

 

Simon is everything and Blue is the cutest.

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HELLO AGAIN! Okay, I've finished it. I've finished it and I'm so happy and it was arguably the cutest thing I've ever read.

 

Okay, first things first. I want to talk about my baby simon who is a NERD. He's one of us with the Harry Potter galore and YES JULIE THE DRARRY. I actually started out perusing fanfiction and one of the first stories I read was Drarry. I swear that it's also what taught me about literally everything that wasn't het because it had SO many gay, bi, and poly (before I knew poly was a thing bc I was 12 and sheltered). I also believe that fanfic in general helps a lot of us that are stuck in families in places where it's not talked about. Until I read fanfic I never realized it was even an option (but I also didn't realize I was bi until my early twenties so it's fine, I'm a tad slow on these things). Idk, Julie, I think he's a Gryffindor. He's got a lot of bravery!

 

SPEAKING OF BI. Can I just say how glad I am that Cal was bi and shown to be comfortably bi and there isn't that implied well he's bi and a man so obv he's really just gay thing. Why is that even a thing?

 

And Simon's sisters! Omg carving the way for him to have some ~alone~ time. My brother would never. Simon's entire family is pretty great, but I really love that they touched on his dad's internalized homophobia.

 

The Leah and Abby thing (which I do agree that I think Leah might have had a bit of a crush on Abby rather than Nick) was important to me too because I've been really thinking a lot lately about why girls are pitted against each other and compared and contrasted and why that brings this almost me vs them mindset. And how to get over it. I've been working on more girl support of any and all women I meet, even ones I really, really don't like.

 

As for Simon and Blue...well I won't gush on and on about them because I think if you've read it you already know. Literally the cutest. Most perfect. Most adorable. I'm in love. Especially with Bram.

 

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Finally getting around to posting here!

 

Simon and Blue are sooooo cute! And this book reminded me a little bit of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which is you know me, is very high praise indeed because I freaking LOVE that book.

 

Also, can we talk about how lovely it is that this book acknowledges the realness and importance of online friendships? We all know first hand that online friendships can be extremely meaningful and true, but I think they get a sort of bad rap for some reason. Which is stupid. (In other words: I love you guys.)

 

 

I AM SO HERE FOR LEAH/ABBY. Or maybe more so for a one-sided version where Leah has a thing for Abby. Maybe she had a thing for Josh and then a thing for Abby, and she was extra sensitive about it because she didn't know what was going on with her feels when she started crushing on a girl. Someone should write this fic. :P

 

Also, I really love Simon's sisters. I was bummed to learn that his older sister won't be in the movie. When she has the boyfriend she's keeping secret, I really liked that. It wasn't very exciting as a plot point, BUT it showed that having a relationship at that age is a Big Embarrassing World-Shattering THING, even if you're straight and not facing discrimination. It's a nice way to highlight exactly how difficult the situation is for Bram and Simon.

 

 

I'm so glad Julie made me read I read this. And I'm excited for the movie and to talk about that with you all!

 

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Oh HELLO.  About time I found this thread after just ranting to Julie about this book.

 

 

There are so many things that I love about this book.  It's not written at all in the style that I write but it fits Simon perfectly - the narration sounds entirely like a teenage boy who's just going about his daily life and Simon just feels so alive and real and it's impossible not to love him.

 

There are just so many aspects of this book that I can't really go into all of them,

but all of the little details - Simon loving Harry Potter and Oreos and being a perfect theatre nerd without realising it.  He's just so endearing and I love him.

 

I have serious, serious issues with Martin.  I know that there's some explanation from his part later on but it's nowhere near enough and it doesn't justify what he does to Simon and I honestly almost shouted at the book during the parts when he turned up.  But I'm so glad that Simon finds the courage to stand up to Martin over what he does and moves on from it, showing himself to be the better person.

 

Simon coming out to the different people in this book is done so well, too - that it's different on every occasion and for every person, and that the book addresses the way that his dad often makes jokes about being gay and the way that makes Simon feel.  I think the book does a great job of showing different aspects of being a gay teenager.

 

THE EMAILS.

 

BLUE.

 

BLUE AND SIMON.

 

I have to admit that I already (mostly) knew who Blue was before I read this book but the whole email exchange throughout the book was just so adorable.  I loved the way that it showed the impact that internet relationships can have on people's lives (all of us have felt the benefit of those, haven't we?).  And the exchanges read so realistically and I loved the way that it built up the relationship between them,

and the way that Simon wanted to know who Blue was but Bram was scared to tell him, and the attraction that's always there between them even when Simon's convinced that Cal is Blue.

 

The T-SHIRT AND THE NOTE.  THE TILT-A-WHIRL.

 

Seriously, writing in this thread is making me want to go and read the book again and it's been less than a week since I read it the first time.

 

I'm not even sure if any of this post was coherent, but I really, really loved this book and thank you Julie for recommending it <3

 

 

Anyway.  Safe to say that I love it, and everyone should go and read it.  Now.

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Hello!

 

So I thought it was about time that I popped my head into this thread to give my thoughts on this book!

 

 

 

 

So I really enjoyed the book! I'm normally obsessed with crime and I honestly never really read anything that is this feel good!

 

I basically love everything about Simon, Becky's characterisation is so good because he comes across as like quite a realistic and believable as a person. I adore all the pop culture references especially that he loves harry potter like omgomg.

 

I think that the relationships within the books were really so well done. It wasn't just the relationship between Simon/Blue but also the family relationship especially between his two sisters was just wonderful played. I loved when they are making time for him and Bram!

 

I think Julie pointed this out to me when she said that she thought that Leah had crush on Abby (I think claire has mentioned it in this thread too!) but I'm 100% on board with this idea and I guess we'll get to explore that idea more in the Leah book which Julie informs me is coming out *squee*

 

This is such a feel good story basically like it's so fluffy at some point like the note and t-shirt but it's also really good at tackling the issues too! I'm super excited to see the movie when it comes out! I love the casting of the characters too!

 

It was a lovely little read and I love how cool Becky seems on twitter!

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the suggestion julie <3

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OKAY so I just finished and this is going to be a rather ramble-y messy because I have So Many Feelings. But basically this is possibly the cutest book I’ve ever read, and second only to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe as the best LGBTQA+ YA book I’ve read (nothing can beat Aristotle and Dante, that is just genius). 

Spoiler

BRAM GREENFELD IS SO PRECIOUS. My gosh, I already knew it was him from browsing the archives and accidentally seeing spoilers but knowing Blue was him honestly made their email exchanges just so much cuter. Really. After each flirtatious comment, I was just grinning like a fool. 

I really loved Simon’s portrayal and I loved how Becky Arbetralli explored questions that all gay teens feel. Like, I loved the whole exploration of Simon’s liking of dressing up & the moment with his parents where he apologized for not being “boy enough”—that is such a perfect depiction of how people think that being gay can decrease your masculinity. 

I love Simon’s sisters. I have a soft spot for Nora, who I thought was perfect and bland at first but have come to see as a cinnamon roll—this story felt a lot like her growing up too, and I really liked the scene with her performing with Leah. 

My favorite character aside from Simon and Bram (*incoherent sobbing at the thought of them*) was Leah. I’m 20000% sure that she’s not straight, as I think is the general consensus in this thread. I really appreciated her feelings about Simon coming out to Abby first—actually, I just loved that he came out to Abby first, that it was so spontaneous. And Simon’s reaction too. It was so realistic. I think that people don’t seem to realize that there’s baby steps in coming out and one of those baby steps is coming out to someone who is important to you, but doesn’t perhaps know you that well and therefore doesn’t have any preconceptions about you. Which is why I think Abby was the perfect first person for Simon to come out to. But I really understand Leah’s perspective on that whole thing, her feelings of betrayal and inadequacy, and sympathize with her. 

One last thing that I don’t think anyone’s really mentioned yet—I loved how the book handled race. Like, it was definitely present without being overt; I loved the mention of Atlanta being “weirdly segregated but no one ever talks about it” and Bram’s insecurities and why do people assume white to be the default. It’s all just so true. I really really liked that when Simon was pointing Bram out to Nora after her performance, he referred to Bram as the guy in the gray zippy sweater—not the black kid. It’s really not a hugely overdone scene, but it’s such a nice touch, because too many times race seems to become a defining quality for POC, and I just fell in love with Simon more for the fact that it really didn’t matter to him.

ALSO I love the parents in this book. They’re human. They make mistakes—but what makes them wonderful humans is that they own up to their mistakes. And I loved that they all tried to deal with their childrens’ sexualities in their own unique ways (Bram’s dad’s Casanova thing was genius; I loved that—and Simon’s dad’s apology about the gay jokes was honestly one of the most touching scenes of the book). So yeah. We need more parents like that.

I think that’s what I appreciate about this book—it’s not overdone in any aspect. It’s just so...real.

AHHH. Now I’m all emotional and have to go and reread it to re-experience the magic ❤️

 

Edited by forever_dreaming

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AUEMHJIEFWGV;HJUO;AEFO;JGVLKA

This book. It has been a few months since I read it, but wow. I loved this book to bits, and all I have to say about it is a very excited keysmash. So, basically I love this book, and I sincerely hope that the movie doesn't screw it up too bad. 

Also, I'm really glad for the representation? How often is it that you see a white boy and black boy featured as the main couple, and with a happy ending to boot? Yeah. 

I think my favorite part is when Simon was like "why do i have to come out? straight people don't have to." That line was so true, and it really made me wonder? Why is it that straight is the default sexuality? why is it always assumed that a person is straight? the reality of us says clearly that it's otherwise. 

Edited by sunshine_locks

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I didn't realize there was a thread for this book, which is silly of me because with Julie around, of course there'd be a thread :P Thanks to Julie nagging, I read this book a few months ago and loooooooooooooooved it. I am stoked for the upcoming movie. Most of you have covered what I was going to say anyway, and I'm really not eloquent when I'm tired at this hour, but I'll just throw in my two cents about a coupld of things

 

Spoiler

Leah is not straight. There's no way. Early on I got the impression that she had a crush on Abby, and then was surprised when no mention of that was ever made in the book, because I absolutely detected a crush there. I'm 10000% on board the Leah/Abby ship.

 

Simon and Bram are the most adorable.  This cannot be said enough. :hearteyes:

 

This is just such an important book for so many reasons. The representation for queer teenagers. The way Simon is so relatable in his feelings about coming out and about his opinions of Oreos. The way race is handled in the book. The depiction of how messy high-school friendships can get and the assurance that it will still be okay. I wish I'd had this book as a teenager.

 

Last but not least, Becky Albertalli has literally recommended Julie's fics on her twitter and on her own website. How freaking awesome (in the words of Simon) is that??!

 

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