Simon Sort of Says

Disney-Hyperion. Jan. 2023. 320p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781368082853.
Gr 5 Up–Facing trauma from the past is difficult, but this book handles it masterfully. Main character Simon is the only survivor from a shooting in his school classroom. He and his family have just moved to Grin and Bear It, NE—a National Quiet Zone town without internet, cell phones, or television. He hopes it will be the perfect place to find the “now” version of himself. While on his journey, Simon makes friends with Agate and Kevin. All three kids face different types of pressure and support one another as they seek out coping mechanisms and strategies. Simon’s mother works as the town undertaker and his father works for the Catholic Church. It is a very rural environment, and a large part of the story is Simon and his friends experiencing birthing goats, being chased by emus or an attack peacock, training the sweetest service dog ever, and even faking an alien signal to the scientists managing a Large Radio Telescope. In the mix are an incompetent morgue assistant who is constantly losing bodies (or taking the wrong ones!) and a wild squirrel who ate the sacrament. Simon is a funny, lovable character who has lived through an unthinkable event. Simon is white, Kevin is Filipino American, and Agate is white and autistic. Funny and heartfelt in equal measure, this book tackles some tough topics, but the humor keeps readers engaged, and it is easy to care about these characters.
VERDICT A solid purchase for all libraries that serve middle grade readers. It deftly handles the sensitive topic of being a young trauma survivor; warning for school shooting content.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing