Sometimes all you need to hear are 10 words to know that you desperately want a book. A few months ago, these were the words I saw on Twitter to describe Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli:
You’ve Got Mail starring gay teenage boys with good grammar.
Doesn’t that sound intriguing? That short description speaks to a certain playfulness, attention to detail, and romantic nature that I find so appealing. Not to mention the fact that it’s a LGBTQ story, which we need to see more of in YA fiction.
Today, we’re so pleased to host the exclusive cover reveal for this highly anticipated book. It’ll be out from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins on April 7th, 2015, and here’s your very first look!
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.
Becky Albertalli is a clinical psychologist who has had the privilege of conducting therapy with dozens of smart, weird, irresistible teenagers. She also served for seven years as co-leader of a support group for gender nonconforming children in Washington, DC. These days, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and son, and writes very nerdy contemporary young adult fiction.
Feel free to grab and share the cover art!
We have the author with us today to tell us a little more about the book, along with a guest from the publisher’s art department to talk about how the story was conceptualized for the cover. Um, how many people have R.E.M.’s art director design the cover for their books? Simon, you’re a lucky bastard.
Five Things You Should Probably Know About Simon Spier
by Becky Albertalli
1. He likes Oreos.
No, but seriously. He REALLY likes Oreos. He would literally eat Oreo products every day, for every meal, exclusively, if he could get away with it. Oreo is not a cookie. It’s a food group. It’s a lifestyle.
2. He’s never kissed a boy.
But he strongly suspects that it’s awesome. Probably more awesome than Reese’s cups. Maybe even more awesome than Oreos. Maybe.
3. His family is a freaking handful.
Simon’s dad fancies himself a hipster. His mom is way too curious about Simon’s personal life. His older sister is the queen of political correctness, and his younger sister just wants to fly under the radar. Also, his dog is basically Justin Bieber in Animagus form.
4. He’s sort of falling in love.
Over email. If that’s even possible. Because there’s this boy. He’s weird, funny, mysterious, and grammatical. He likes superheroes and secret identities – and he gets it. He gets why Elliott Smith is the greatest singer/songwriter who ever lived. He gets how you can know someone so completely, without really knowing him at all. He gets Simon.
The only problem is, you can’t kiss a boy through an email.
5. He would absolutely, 100% adore this cover.
Speaking of people who get Simon: Alison Klapthor and Chris Bilheimer TOTALLY nailed it. This cover, with its band poster vibe, is Simon to the core – and it’s exactly how Simon would want you to see him. And for a book about a boy falling in love anonymously over email: what could be more perfect than a speech bubble for a face?
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I won’t judge you if you want to make out with this cover. I want to. I may or may not have already tried.
So, since this cover basically turns me into a gushing, inarticulate fangirl, I’m going to pass the mic to Alison and let her talk about her design process (SPOILER: She is cooler than me. She is cooler than everyone).
Note from Alison Klapthor (Associate Art Director at HarperCollins):
I love Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda for so many reasons. The setting resonated with me in particular — I went to college in Athens, Georgia, and my friends and I would always go to Atlanta and hit Little Five Points, the Varsity, etc. – so many of the cool places referenced in the novel. I also really liked that music is such a big part of the book, and so important to Simon himself. Athens is very much a music lovers’ town; several great indie bands came out of there, most notably R.E.M. and the B-52s. (I like to think that Simon would have gone on to undergrad there.) I completely connected with Simon’s music nerdiness, which inspired my concept for the cover.
Immediately I thought the cover should look like a band t-shirt, or the kind of poster for a show you’d see on every corner in Athens. And this of course made me think of my friend Chris Bilheimer, whom I met when I was in school. He had the dreamiest job of being R.E.M.’s art director, and did much of their packaging and promos for years. He’s since gone on to design for other big bands and movies. Chris has an enviable portfolio of iconic work and is an excellent conceptual thinker. I contacted him to do something like he would do for a band, but for our book. To my delight, he was interested and totally nailed the themes in the story in a very rock-and-roll way. We all loved it from the start, and were thrilled that Becky was so happy with it too.
Win an autographed Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda ARC + cookies!
Thanks to our lovely friends at Balzer + Bray, our readers have the chance to win an autographed advance copy of this book + a box of Oreos. (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda won’t be out for another 10 months, but winners will receive ARCs as soon as they roll off the press.) Wait, did I say Oreos? I did. Since they play a significant role in this book, winners will get a box of cookies along with their books! SIMON COOKIE GRAMS. The author will even personalize the autographed books to the winners’ liking.
The Midnight Garden (You’re already here! Rafflecopter + comment will enter you.)
Pinterest (pin + use hashtag #tmgsimon)
Instagram (share + use hashtag #tmgsimon)
Tumblr (share + use hashtag #tmgsimon)
Facebook (share from The Midnight Garden’s official post)
Twitter (tweet using hashtag #tmgsimon in your own words, or copy the suggested text from the Rafflecopter form)
Just fill out the Rafflecopter form and leave a thoughtful comment below telling us why you are jonesin’ for this book. For additional opportunities to win, share this contest on one of the platforms above as directed. For each share, remember to copy the URL for your share into Rafflecopter as well.
This is the only place you’ll be able to win this book for some time, so be sure to enter if you’re interested! Open to U.S. and Canadian residents and 18 and up, or 13 and up with parental permission. See entry form for complete details.
Giveaway copies and prizes are provided by the publisher and author. Our thanks to Becky Albertalli and Alison Klapthor for visiting the blog!
Cookie image courtesy of Evan Amos.
So what do you think, friends? Are you as excited about this book as I am? I’ll leave you with a few words from Brooks Sherman, the author’s agent…
“I might be biased, but this is one of the most compelling YA manuscripts I’ve yet read. It’s one hell of an addictive read, a coming-out story that embraces but also transcends the sexual identity definition of the term.”
“I think this book will be a life raft for some kids.”
Sounds like a winner to me.