Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Blog Tour: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Happy Release day SIMON!

Today, we're a part of the blog tour for this lovely book. To celebrate the release day, we have a guest-post from author Becky Albertalli herself!

Simon Spier’s Guide to Atlanta

Fact: though I lived in Washington, DC when I wrote the book, SIMON is very much a love letter to Atlanta, Georgia – my hometown. Every location mentioned in the book is an actual place, or closely based on an actual place. So, for those interested in taking the official Simon tour of Atlanta, look no further! Here are a few of the highlights:

1. Creekwood High School. Simon’s high school is very much a thinly veiled version of my own alma mater, Riverwood High School (now known as Riverwood International Charter School). It’s a big, diverse public school in Sandy Springs, Georgia, just north of Atlanta. Basically every physical detail of Simon’s high school in the book was lifted directly from my own memories of Riverwood. There’s the double helix brick design in the back of the auditorium. There’s the chorus room downstairs, with the sign reminding us to have “outstanding posture.” Even the gross, shabby, much-beloved couch was an actual feature of my AP English classroom (though, confession: my English teacher, Mr. Cline, was WAY more awesome than Simon’s Mr. Wise).

2. Waffle House. There are Waffle Houses everywhere in Atlanta, but the one Simon and his friends visit is on Mount Vernon Highway in Sandy Springs, near Roswell Road. Sadly this location shut down after the book was already sold (my initial reaction to learning this: “I’LL HAVE TO CANCEL THE BOOK!!!!”).

3. Little Five Points. In one scene, Simon’s friends whisk him off to Little Five Points, which is a very awesome, artsy neighborhood inside the perimeter (innocent Becky’s reaction to smelling marijuana for the first time: “Hey! It smells like Little Five Points in here…”). Simon and his friends get ice cream from Zesto, pick out a book from Charis Books and More, and shop at Junkman’s Daughter. Simon also gives a shoutout to Aurora Coffee next door (the drink of choice for all hipster dads).

4. Webster’s. After their afternoon in Little Five Points, Abby and Nick take Simon to a gay bar/restaurant in midtown called “Webster’s.” Webster’s is actually based on an amazing real bar in midtown, called Joe’s on Juniper (http://joesonjuniper.com). This is one of the only names I changed in my book, and I did it because a certain seventeen-year-old Oreo-loving guy gets a little wasted at their bar (NOT something endorsed by the wonderful people at Joe’s). The name Webster was borrowed from my son’s stuffed frog. I used to write during my son’s naptimes, and the frog was a part of the nap routine – thus proving I am so much less creative than you thought I was.

5.  Simon’s Publix. Stuff happens in the parking lot of a particular Publix near Simon’s school. In case you were wondering, you can find this Publix in a shopping center called Powers Ferry Village in Sandy Springs. And just to give you a sense of this store’s significance: THIS IS WHERE SIMON BUYS HIS OREOS (though he happily endorses classic and double stuf Oreos purchased wherever Oreos are sold).

Becky Albertalli is a clinical psychologist who has had the privilege of conducting therapy with dozens of smart, weird, irresistible teenagers; some of these experiences inspired her debut novel. 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 two sons, and writes very nerdy contemporary young adult fiction. Visit her at www.beckyalbertalli.com and on Twitter: @beckyalbertalli.

About Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda:

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.
Simon is available today from Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon!

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