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

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Reviews

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

“It’s no longer tenable to imagine that the anxieties of a white heterosexual young man expelled from an expensive prep school capture the spirit of our era. Today’s snarky young anti-hero instead looks like Norris, the black French Canadian boy in The Field Guide to the North American Teenager.”