The Field Guide To The North American Teenager by Ben PhilippeThe Field Guide To The North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

The Field Guide To The North American Teenager

byBen Philippe

Hardcover | January 8, 2019

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A hilarious contemporary realistic YA debut novel about a rather cynical Black French Canadian teen who moves to Austin, Texas, and experiences the clichés and joys of the American high school experience—including falling in love. Perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon and When Dimple Met Rishi.

Norris Kaplan is clever, cynical, and quite possibly too smart for his own good. A Black French Canadian, he knows from watching American sitcoms that those three things don’t bode well when you are moving to Austin, Texas.

Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs.

Yet against all odds, those labels soon become actual people to Norris…like loner Liam, who makes it his mission to befriend Norris, or Madison the beta cheerleader, who is so nice that it has to be a trap. Not to mention Aarti the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who might, in fact, be a real love interest in the making.

But the night of the prom, Norris screws everything up royally. As he tries to pick up the pieces, he realizes it might be time to stop hiding behind his snarky opinions and start living his life—along with the people who have found their way into his heart.

Title:The Field Guide To The North American TeenagerFormat:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.21 inPublished:January 8, 2019Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062824112

ISBN - 13:9780062824110

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a Snarky Protagonist! *I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review* This book had me hooked from the first page! It has razor sharp writing that’ll make you crack more than a few smiles. The plot revolves around a black French Canadian teen who has to navigate high school life in Texas where everyone seems to hate him. Norris Kaplan has no filter; he always says whatever is on his mind, but it’s mostly filled with sarcasm and grade A snark. He’s about as judgemental as they come, and he’s not sorry for it. When he arrives at his new school, he gets this journal that he decides to use to observe his high school experience. Norris jots down every thought he has and it basically becomes his own personal burn book. He is definitely creative, I’ll give him that. Between the nasty cheerleaders and jocks, Norris doesn’t really know where he fits in. This book is about him kind of finding his niche. He does make some friends eventually and there’s even a little romance in the mix, and there is no lack of drama. You could call this story a classic boy meets girl, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about a teen who has to realize that it’s not the world that needs changing, it’s his attitude. Norris has never really been good at feelings, so when he goes on his long rants he doesn’t seem to notice how self-absorbed he is. Basically, everything comes back to bite him. This story is a must read for lovers of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Darius the Great is Not Okay. The writing is incredible and I can’t wait to read more from this author. While the story itself is mildly predictable (as far as cliché high school experiences go), the ending is so refreshing!
Date published: 2019-01-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from love this !!!! I will be frank that this is one of the best YA contemporary novels that I have read in a really long time. Contemporary can be difficult to read because it can be glamourizing a mental illness/ disease or toxic relationships or creating mean girls high school drama. The characters can be dry as a desert and literally have no substance. Contemporary can be done really poorly. The field guide to the North American Teenager has substance and a great coming of age story. Norris is a black French-Canadian who moves to blistering hot Texas with his mom who has a new teaching gig. He absolute loathe the new change; having to adapt to climate, the new kid at school and trying to meet new friends. When the guidance counselor gives him a yellow notebook he uses it to write down his own guide of high school tropes and stereotypes. Norris's snarky, sarcastic and selfish judgy attitude gets him stuck in situations that are awkward and embarrassing, to say the least. He meets the unlikely friends and finds that judging a person base on appearances isn't what underneath. I love the pop culture references. Every character is organic and fabulous. I love Liam, Eric, Marc-Andre, Maddie, even Patrick and Meredith (only sometimes bc even though had ignorance moments, they did somewhat deem themselves). I honestly dislike Aarti. I just could not stand her. I love that the book did not just focus on the romance. I laugh, cringe and roll my eyes, it was a great time. I understood being Norris shoes of being the new kid since I move to two provinces and 1 territory in Canada. Its never easy to adjust at first and I always made it difficult to do anything to move back to my hometown. Overall, The book goes through stages of great momentum then goes flat but redeem itself near the end. It's really great, witty and entertaining. * Thank you HCC Frenzy for providing me with an ARC. All my thoughts and opinions are mine.**
Date published: 2019-01-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A strong YA contemporary, with woke characters A unique voice, a strong story thread, and a well-developed cast of characters made The Field Guide to a North American Teenager a fun but not fluffy read. Main character Norris Kaplan is forced to leave his hometown of Montreal (a tragedy for a hockey fan) to move to the boiling hot city of Austin when his mother gets a tenure-track position there. Norris’ wise-cracking mouth and even more sardonic mind are challenged right away by his entry as a student at Anderson High, a huge place that seems like every stereotype he’s ever seen in a movie about American high schools. It’s got the big, dumb, jocky football team and the people who are scared of/worship them; the b-tchy cheerleaders; the drunken house parties, the weirdos and freaks, and, oh yeah, Aarti Puri, the beautiful manic pixie dream girl who catches his eye for being “different.” To cope, the high school guidance counselor suggests Norris keep a journal. Instead, he starts documenting all of these “specimens” as part of his field guide while wandering the halls during his lunch and free period. Norris quickly realizes, though, that there are people behind the labels, especially Maddie, the “beta” cheerleader who is as smart as Norris is, and helps him get a job at her dad’s barbecue restaurant. While there, Norris and Maddie strike a mutually beneficial deal that will help him land Aarti’s heart. Field Guide is a sorta Cyrano de Bergerac book, but it’s also a book by an author who is definitely aware of what it means to be a black French Canadian in Texas, and how labels can hurt and shape us. Norris felt maybe a tad too quippy to be a high schooler, but other than that, his lack of understanding and self-awareness – combined with too much of a chip on his shoulder, made him the perfect unlikeable character to go on this journey with. He’s just saucy enough that he’s funny, but also just biting enough that you cringe when he goes too far. I also appreciated that the author, Ben Philippe, gave us a lot of his family life because it goes a long way to making him tolerable when we see where he’s from. His mother is an amazing Haitian firecracker of a woman, and his absentee father is, well, not there, but also there enough in his mind that we know that Norris cares about him. For me, where the book really sang was in the details of the new places and people Norris meets – whether at the Bone Yard – Maddie’s family’s barbecue restaurant that also delivers key lime pie – or at the weird non-skating rink where Norris teaches his friend Liam to skate. Field Guide also really worked in developing Norris’ slow appreciation of the roundness of the people he encounters. Maddie is a gem of a human being, ambitious, funny, and smart; while his new friend Liam is weird and zen and wise in just the right way. I also loved that Norris’ best friend back home, Eric, still plays a big part in his life even if he’s not right there. There’s a fullness to the book and to the city of Austin that keeps you from wanting to knock Norris on the back of the head constantly. Where I wish the book had been stronger had been in the humour. Humour is really hard, and for me, the jokes felt like they only hit every so often. Also, one of my weaknesses is perfect endings, and while I found the ending worked well for the book, it just wasn’t the ending I wanted – so that’s on me. THE FINAL WORD: Overall, The Field Guide to the North American Teenager was a strong YA contemporary, with woke characters who were a little bone-headed, but came together well. It’s a very good slice of life book, and I appreciated that while I could kind of guess where it was going, it was still a little unpredictable. Great for anyone who likes quirky contemporaries with a lot of details.
Date published: 2019-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I really enjoyed this book! It was funny and entertaining. I was laughing within the first couple of pages of the story. There were lots of references to pop culture, such as Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Friends, which were subtle but so funny! They weren’t always explained, which made them more exciting when I discovered one, because it was like an inside joke with the book. I could totally relate to Norris’s experience as a Canadian going to a warm climate and having trouble adjusting to the hot temperatures. Montreal is even colder than Toronto, and though I haven’t ever been to Texas, I can imagine how hot it would be. I love the heat, so I don’t think I would mind, but I wouldn’t like sweating through multiple shirts a day. Though the story was a lot of fun, it became quite serious towards the end, including a run-in with the police. I would love to see what happens with these characters in a sequel! I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2019-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great contemporary YA! Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for the advanced copy for review. I’m normally a bit wary about contemporary YA - there are so many books I haven’t enjoyed in the genre. I’m not one who likes the insta-love trope. Thankfully, this book is different and fresh - the focus isn’t really on the romance aspect. And the Canadian protagonist is a bonus! Norris Kaplan is a French Canadian teen who has been forced to move to Texas with his mother. He goes in determined to hate it - and spews out enough snark to guarantee that most of the student body in his new school hates him. But he eventually starts making friends and settling in. Things look pretty good for awhile, at least until his attitude comes back to bite him in the ass. I spent most of the book in anticipation of the coming disaster - I could practically see Norris barreling full steam ahead toward a brick wall. And the splat was impressive. This is where I think Philippe really shines - he’s created a world that seems quite realistic, with real consequences to Norris’ actions. A world where things can’t be fixed with a couple of apologies, and trust has to be re-earned. I loved that. Most of his characters are well fleshed out and believable, especially Norris’ new friend Liam. Liam hit me hard - his description of his mental health difficulties is incredibly realistic, and his recovery process just as believable. I can’t explain how much I appreciated Philippe’s effort with this. The only part that really gave me pause was Norris himself. Sometimes the quick reactions and pithy comments seem a little too perfect, and not what the average person would think to say on the fly. It was enjoyable to read, but it did pull me out of the story a few times. I guess you could compare it to the quick and quirky dialogue featured on the TV shows like Buffy or Gilmore Girls - fun, but not very realistic.
Date published: 2019-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this! I loved this novel! It was humorous as well as contemporary and is perfectly suited for its target audience. As someone who has moved to another country, I could understand some of Norris Kaplan's experience albeit as an older person. While reading Philippe's story, I could imagine a teenager behaving in the way described in the story - I could not help smiling at the antics as well as the adolescent experience. As I am writing this review, I cannot help but smile as I think about my favourite scenes. The novel is a perfect read for a teenager. It describes teen relationships and reflects what the current status quo is seen as being in North America. The story has a little romance, as well as describes a young boy's coming-of-age. The sense of humour scattered in the novel would appeal to both boys and girls. And as an older adult, I enjoyed the snapshot of the current teen experience. In addition, the story is well-written and perfectly paced.
Date published: 2018-12-31

Editorial Reviews

“A witty debut with whip-smart dialogue that will find much love among fans of authors like John Green and Jason Reynolds.”