Simon Sort of Says by Erin Bow is about a young boy who tries to deal with past trauma when his family moves to a new city. Twelve-year-old Simon O’Keeffe claims that his family had to move to the National Quiet Zone because his dad accidentally gave a squirrel a holy sacrament. Or perhaps, it was when the alpaca caused a stir in church causing the disaster to go viral on YouTube. He loves retelling different versions of the story to all his new classmates causing them to wonder if any are true.
There is one story, however, that Simon wishes to keep a secret. He likes that the internet is banned in the National Quiet Zone due to its interference with the technology the astronomers use. He feels that he can keep his secret a lot longer. That is, until someone finds out that two years ago, Simon is the only kid in his class to survive a school shooting. Now, Simon is followed by whispers and looks of pity wherever he goes.
Simon is desperate for his community to move on from his past trauma so that he can go back to being just “the New Kid”. He and his new friends concoct a plan to trick the astronomers that someone or something from outer space is trying to connect with them. They feel that everyone would focus on the message instead of Simon. Will Simon and his friends be able to pull off their covert space message mission?
I thought the book was a fun and heartwarming read. The book was filled with fun and gross facts about animals and people. It was fun watching Simon bond with his new friends while trying to adjust to his new life. It was heartwarming seeing Simon come to terms with his PTSD and navigating the different things life threw at him, including new friendships. Some of his friends didn’t know how to handle Simon when he was having an episode and found it easier to ignore and/or hide from him. He had to deal with people who were either too coddling him or ignored him. He wanted someone who just treated him like a normal twelve year old boy. If you like reading children's books about friendship and coping with tragedy with humor sprinkled in, then you will enjoy this book.