A hilarious YA contemporary realistic novel about a witty Black French Canadian teen who moves to Austin, Texas, and experiences the joys, clichés, and awkward humiliations of the American high school experience—including falling in love. Perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon, When Dimple Met Rishi, and John Green.
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.
|File size:||1 MB|
|Age Range:||13 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Ben Philippe is a New York–based writer and screenwriter. He has a bachelor of arts from Columbia University and an MFA in fiction and screenwriting from the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas. He teaches screenwriting at Barnard. The Field Guide to the North American Teenager is his debut novel. He can be found online at www.benphilippe.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Norris is a black French Canadian hockey-playing teen loner who just relocated to Austin, Texas, where he literally cannot stop sweating, often changing shirts three times a day. On his first day, he is given a yellow journal by the school guidance counselor, where he writes observations and snap judgments about his surroundings, particularly the people he encounters. He is quick-witted, snarky, and hilarious in his observations about the American teen and high school stereotypes. Though these make for amusing reading, more than one person will be hurt by his callous words. Norris has much to learn about others “just trying our hardest to make it through each day being who we are” and perhaps that is his biggest struggle in a new country: rediscovering himself. Norris is a modern-day high school Mr. Darcy, or even Elizabeth Bennet, who must set aside his own protective superiority and pride to see the people around him who've come to consider him a friend. Filled with all the high school drama and cliches we love: the jocks, the outsiders, the cheerleaders, the artist, the loner, the strange but beloved teacher, the sports, the unkind antihero; and new types that always should have been included: those struggling with mental health, those who are trapped in the past, the powerhouse of a single mother, and those who forgive. The Field Guide to the North American Teenager is witty, insightful, intelligent, and an entertaining account of a teen’s realizations: that much of what he does is to hide his own insecurity, and that those who loved him already had, despite his biting comments and stark humor. For discussion questions, similar reads, or a matching themed recipe of Key Lime Pie Cupcakes with Lime Whipped Cream frosting, visit: http://hub.me/amGCj
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.