What if you had a secret and it defined your whole being? What if someone was blackmailing you with that secret to get closer to a friend? What if you were in love with someone you have never met? What would you do to keep that relationship?
So I have to admit I watched the movie first before reading the book. I know I know its a grave sin!! I should always read the book first. That's what I have always done because another wise I feel like I'm cheating. But I'm actually glad I did it reversed. This will be a two-part review, first the book then the movie in comparison.
Simon, Simon, Simon....... I want to love him but I kinda don't. He's a little self-absorbed and superficial with his friends. The entire time he is all consumed with how things affect him and trying to hide that he is gay. Throughout the book, his emails and relationship with Blue mirror Simon's real-life relationships. In the fact that Simon really does not dig deeply into any relationships, his long relationships with his best friends are only surface deep and when someone wants to dig deeper (such as parents and sisters) he pushes them away. Blue's animosity reflects how Simon hides everything about himself and when the person he wants to get the closest too treats him how he treats people, he is forced to reflect on himself. Yet, his personality and attitude are how the adolescent stage is.
Albertalli does a great job in constructing a society where secrets are kept. Simon's sisters, friends, classmates are all keeping secrets that don't necessarily have to be a secret. Just like Simon, they do not want the image of themselves to be altered because that means things will change. Albertalli captured the hardships of trying to project what society expects from us vs what we truly are. I loved that Albertalli did not censor Simon's language or actions to fit into a pleasant box. Simon cusses, drinks, do what his parents would probably not like him to do BUT he's a teenager! Leah.... I don't like her, I just don't. She's a little too angry for my tastes. I don't think Albertalli developed nor gave enough backstory to her. Nor to many characters outside Simon and Blue.
I did appreciate the authenticity of the bullying in the school. Portraying coming out in a positive and negative light. It was the little jabs here and there that made the deepest wounds for Simon but at the same time, he saw people stand up for him even people he least expected.
Nothing is worse than the secret humiliation of being insulted by proxy