This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
Everything sixteen-year-old Simon Fitzroy-Hunt loves is in England. There's his school, his boyfriend, his cat, and especially Oxford University, which Simon plans to attend just as his beloved late father planned. But all of Simon's certainties come crashing down when his mother remarries and drags him to Boston with her.
Furious and unforgiving, Simon finds plenty to resent in America. His stepsister, Persie, is overindulged by her father and struggling with Asperger syndrome. And Simon's school project--coaching a young student for the national Spelling Bee--hits a complication when eleven-year-old Toby makes a confession: there's a girl trapped inside his body, and her name is Kay.
Helping Kay find her way begins changing Simon too, opening him to different perspectives, revealing a strength that's gone untapped until now. And as the life he's known, and the future he envisioned, slips further away each day, he realizes he can either lose his direction entirely, or forge a new--and perhaps even better--path. . .
Praise for the novels of Robin Reardon
"Real and honest." --VOYA on The Revelations of Jude Connor
"Mesmerizing. . ..A rare book that will appeal to young adults and adult readers alike." --Publishers Weekly on The Evolution of Ethan Poe
Educating Simon and the Reader
For a very long time it seems, any literature with LGBT characters made them the victims of suffering, from their families, from society, from all kinds of problems. And that was good because it was the case for so many. It reflected reality. But in the last decades there has been so much progress on so many fronts yet the literature has been somewhat slow to catch up. This is emphatically not the case with Educating Simon, where the eponymous hero is well educated, financially secure, has a very supportive mother, and many opportunities few people can even dream about. And yet Simon still faces many challenges that test his ability to mature and grow into a full person, one at once attractive on a general level as human being and specifically on a particular level as a charming young gay man. This book enlarges the LGBT world to include many new possibilities and realities.
Reardon’s realism serves this book so well because though it is written essentially as a series of journal entries by Simon we get to watch him grow in tremendous ways in the space of barely a year. Adults tend to forget that a teen’s life can be forever shaped by the events of a single week or month and a year seems like forever many times. Simon is at the top of of the world in many ways and is challenged on incredibly sophisticated and mature levels to become a better person. We get to read how his maturation also immensely helps those around him, to be reminded no one lives truly alone, that our actions affect everyone around us. Simon starts out as a somewhat abrasive personality but the clues are there from the first few pages that greater things await, that the Simon we first meet will not at all be the same on in a few chapters.
The reader is also treated to an education if not a kind of immersion in music, literature, autism, transgender issues, and many other things most people encounter in life but really don’t take the time to fully understand or appreciate. Simon’s sister in law is a world unto herself and the care and sensitivity with which she is written is such a delight to read. There is also an exuberant transgender MtF character that probably deserves a whole book to herself. Add to that complex and kindly rendered family members and people Simon meets in the world and in his own mind and you have a really good, satisfying read that breaks a lot of stereotypes and adds a fullness rarely found in LGBT and YA LGBT literature.