Finding His Voice in Grin and Bear It

Middle school can be a tough gig, especially when you’re as different as Simon. Erin Bow’s Simon (Sort of) Says dives headfirst into Simon’s world—a place where surviving a school shooting is just the tip of the iceberg. As Simon resettles into Grin and Bear It, Nebraska, where electronic devices are banned to keep the radio telescopes clear for aliens, he faces a whole new set of challenges with his selective mutism.

Simon’s silent world is beautifully portrayed through his gestures, expressions, and a trusty notebook. But it’s his unexpected friendship with Agate and Kevin that slowly coaxes him out of his shell. Together, they navigate the treacherous waters of middle school life—school projects, bullies, and all.

What makes Bow’s novel shine is her knack for capturing Simon’s internal struggles with such authenticity. Through his eyes, we feel the weight of his battles and cheer for every minor victory. Each character, from Simon’s supportive family to his quirky friends, adds depth to his journey of self-discovery.

This Newbery honoree isn’t just about serious topics—it’s a quirky, laugh-out-loud page-turner that tackles big issues with heart and humor. Simon’s narrative is as hilarious as it is heartfelt, leaving readers of all ages with a powerful message of hope and courage.

Whether you’re in middle school or way past those years, pick up a copy of this uproarious page-turner. I couldn’t put it down—5 stars all the way!

** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a comp of this title. The opinions are my own.

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