Saturday, 14 March 2015

Book Review: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertelli 
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK Children's
Release Date: 07/04/2015
Pages: 313
Service: Netgalley
Format: Kindle Ebook
Buy: Book Depository 
Author Twitter: @beckyalbertelli

This has been a book that has interested me ever since I read the name of it and even more when I saw the cover and read the blurb. I just about managed to infer what the book was about when I heard about the title and I wasn't far off. 

From beginning to end I was in love with this book. There's no other way to put it. Simon Spier is a sixteen year old boy who is in high school and is gay but he's not yet ready to tell people of his sexual orientation. So, he decides to keep it a secret with only one person knowing. A person that he emails but does not know the name of. 

The plot to this book, I felt, was executed brilliantly. Told from Simon's point of view, you could really feel the emotions that were running through him. His personality was one that I fell in love with. He tries to be nice and the good person, which sometimes doesn't go to plan. But he's also ready to try his best to stand up for himself which doesn't always go to plan. 

The Spier family was just fantastic to read about. Simon and his siblings had what can often be a natural teenage reaction to parents. They were a little embarrassed by them and what the way they would act but still loved them. It just felt realistic, even though his family were a little bit more on the eccentric side. 

The relationships, of all kinds, in this book were so realistic that it felt as though I could connect with the majority of them. One thing I really liked about the friendships in this book was that Albertalli managed to show that there are all kinds of friendships which I think is always portrayed in other books. Simon wasn't best friends with every single person that he knew. There were people that he knew for longer periods of times and how that ended up affecting the decisions that he made. 

Even though the whole plot of this book is based around LGBT matters, it didn't feel like something that was constantly thrown into my face and made a huge deal of even though that was also part of the plot. I didn't think that the plot was over done at all. Although I've never been through what Simon went through in the book, I felt that Albertelli wrote an accurate portrayal of the situation and about how a lot of young people would react if they had been blackmailed about something that was quite personal to them. 

I loved the fact that I was able to really tell who Simon was emailing the whole way throughout the book. My mind kept changing up to a certain point when I thought it definitely had to be one person. When they were finally revealed it was a surprise and one that I wasn't disappointed to read as I would have been if I had guessed who it was. 

The only problem that I had with this book was that I struggled to wrap my head around all of the time jumps. It felt a little choppy to me and I had to read back sometimes to remember catch what was going on before it clicked that it was the next day or later on in the day. 

Overall, this whole book had me in happily turning each page from beginning to end which is probably why I finished it in one day. It was completely worth the read and I'd recommend it to anyone who is looking at something to laugh along with and get their teeth into an issue that people in the LGBT community may just face. 

Rating: ★1/2

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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Dropping Off At: New York (Part Two)

On the 31st we decided that maybe seeing the Ball Drop in Times Square was the best idea for a few reasons. The first and most prominent one being that we still had so much to do and we didn't think we'd be able to fit it anyway let alone if we lost a day. We also knew that lines would be shorter in certain places because most people would either be in Times Square or getting their own NYE parties ready. 
So, we decided to make an early stop off to the Empire State Building. Compared to the queues we had seen before when we walked past this was nothing. Especially since the queue at least ended outside of the building when we has seen them wrapping around the block. It was a short wait but the view at the top was beautiful and still very cold. It was New York in a completely different light and height! I was amazing to see all the tops of the building and look out on the city as people were getting ready to enter a whole new year in. 

After making our way out of the Empire State Building it was time for a trip to Madame Tussauds and I was so excited for this one. Being in photos is something that I'm really slowly growing used to and I don't hate it as much as I used to. Taking photos next to wax figures of stars and characters was something I was so excited to do though! It took us a wile to get around everyone but I didn't mind that too much since we got some amazing photos with the likes of Katniss Everdeen and Robert Pattinson!

After we headed over to Discovery Times Square where we decided that we wanted to see the Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N exhibit which was just fantastic. There was so much going on in there and the majority of it was interactive which just made it even more enjoyable. However, we weren't allowed to take any photos in there so I don't have an pictures to add to the post from that part. 

The afternoon was then spent wandering around Macy's which is HUGE! We looked around and had a bit of a wander around some of the counter before deciding that we were done for the day. After that we ended up heading back to the hotel and got comfortable as we watched on TV the way NYC bring the New Year and it was long after it struck midnight that I ended up falling to sleep. 

We decided to head out a little later the next day since were wanted to get some proper sleep before getting ready to get around to a few other things on the list of things that we wanted to see and go to. Grand Central Terminal made the top of the list that day as we headed over to see one of the most iconic train stations in movies. And wow! It was absolutely gorgeous. I couldn't get over the sheer size and beauty of it and the fact that there was an Apple shop in there as well! 

After taking a look there we went over to The Cathedral of St. John the Divine and the garden that it was attached to and then went to Central Park. We managed to walk over half of the park and I didn't quite realise how big it actually was. Then we decided that we would head back on to the streets and get to The American Museum of Natural History. 

I couldn't get over everything that was in the museum from the moment we had gotten in there. It had pretty much everything you could think of from the dinosaurs that you always hear about to the biodiversity exhibits. Sadly, I couldn't get a proper picture of the massive whale since it was too dark for me to get a photo where I could actually see it. The dinosaur bones were just amazing and I couldn't believe the size of them. It was great just being able to stand and read the information that you couldn't get away from. 

A stop at Tiffany's was calling us after that and I was so excited to go it since I wanted to get a small something from there. It was beautiful inside an I didn't realise that my coat actually matched the Tiffany blue. I ended up getting a gorgeous ring from there with a small debate with myself and my sister before deciding that it was time that we got going. 

After a stop at the hotel and a meal we decided we headed to the Top of the Rock and if I thought the view and the Empire State Building was something then this was completely and utterly breath taking! I couldn't get over how New York looked from there. It really is the city that never sleeps when you see everything lit up in a pitch black sky. Even though it was freezing cold I really didn't care because the view was entirely worth it and I would happily go back again just to see that view. 

A trip to Central Park was where we were going the next day but this time it wasn't a walk around, we decided to take a carriage ride. It was genuinely probably one of the most amazing experiences I had out there. Given the fact that it started snowing during our carriage ride as well! I really couldn't believe our luck with it! It just made the whole experience ten times better! 

During the evening we went to the Imperial Theatre to go and watch Les Miserables. Having never watched the film or the musical in theatre before I was so excited to see what it was going to be like and it was just fantastic to sit and watch and I felt like I was almost a part of the play! 

Our last day was spent in IHOP and The Strand. Both of which were amazing. The Strand was a place I could have spent hours and hours in if we didn't have to catch our flight back home the same day but get a few little bits from there and a few bookmarks from Barnes and Noble.

A flight back home was more than welcome since between me and my sister, we were both missing our parents. But New York City is definitely a place that I miss and I would love to go back there so badly! 
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Monday, 9 March 2015

Looking Back At: February 2015

Waaaap! The thought of being in yet another month is slightly scary and didn't at all remind me that I had a wrap up that I needed to write. I don't think I took that long to remember though. However, the thought normally strikes me in the last few days of the month. 

What's Been Going On?

February for me wasn't a particularly busy month. However, there were a few important dates on the calendar that I was sure I wasn't going to forget. Both my mam and sister's birthday were this month and were only three days apart. Both were really great days and they both seemed to be happy by the end of them. So, I couldn't really complain. 

I also had yet another Duke of Edinburgh walk this month. A good chunk of our walk made up walk opposite some waterfalls which were absolutely stunning and it made the walk that little bit nicer to walk alongside. It was nice to actually have a walk for once where I didn't need to be bundled up in four layers. About twenty minutes into the walk, I had to take my scarf, coat and hoodie off and was left in my t-shirt. The walks just become a little bit more enjoyable when you aren't trying to keep warm at the same time. 

This was literally my month though since not much else happened. I was just plodding along with the days and getting my school work done.


I think I managed to get through a good chunk of books this month. Especially since one of them was quite thick and it did take me a little while to get through. This month, I read:
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli 
I started reading a few other books which I'm still getting through and hopefully I'll finish them this month. They are:
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews 
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
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