Love, Simon, an adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s Morris Award-winning debut novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (HC/Balzer + Bray, 2015), hits theaters on March 16. The project breaks ground through its focus on a 17-year-old male lead character, who is grappling with his attraction to boys and whether to come out to his family and friends. The YA romantic comedy stars Nick Robinson (Everything, Everything), Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why), and Jennifer Garner. The film is directed by Greg Berlanti and produced by Temple Hill Entertainment, New Leaf Literary & Media, and Fox 2000.

The story’s titular character, Simon Spier (played by Robinson), knows he is gay but isn’t quite ready to let the world know about it. He’s also fallen for an anonymous classmate he communicates with online, whom he knows only by the name “Blue.” When Simon accidentally leaves his email account open, another classmate, Martin (Logan Miller) blackmails Simon by threatening to out him to the entire school, unless he helps to facilitate a date between him and Simon’s friend, Abby. Simon must face the drawbacks of staying in the closet versus the difficulty of coming out to his community, including his supportive parents, played by Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel.

Albertalli, who is also the author of The Upside of Unrequited (Balzer + Bray, 2017), recently spoke with PW about the experience of having her book adapted to screen, calling it “so exciting and surreal.” The creative team behind the adaptation “looped me in at every step,” she said, and approached the story “with thoughtfulness and care.” She added that Love, Simon isn’t a scene-by-scene retelling of the book, but that the movie remains true to its essence: “There are changes, but they all work really well within the context of the film’s narrative,” she said. For Albertalli, she could not be happier with the end result. “I was absolutely blown away by the finished film,” she said. “It’s funny, heartfelt, and so beautifully executed in every way, and it preserves and celebrates the heart of Simon’s story. I’m completely in love with it.”

By the Book

Albertalli, a former high school psychologist, is having a busy year. In addition to the release of the film, she has written a sequel to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, called Leah on the Offbeat, which centers on Simon’s best friend, and releases from Balzer + Bray this April. Albertalli also has a new book pubbing in October; according to her blog, the novel What If It’s Us “is a co-written project with Adam Silvera about two boys falling in love in New York City.”

Those who have not yet read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda now have access to the movie tie-in edition, which features bonus material, including Albertalli in conversation with Nick Robinson and Greg Berlanti, movie stills, a selection from the film’s screenplay, and excerpts from The Upside of Unrequited and Leah on the Offbeat. There is also a special edition of the novel available, featuring new emails exchanged between Simon and Blue, a movie scrapbook, and Albertalli in conversation with authors Adam Silvera and Angie Thomas.