Tuesday, September 15, 2020

YA Review: Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe

Title: Charming as a Verb
AuthorBen Philippe
Year Published: 2020

Category: YA fiction (romance)
Pages: 336
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2020 Google Reading map)USA (NY)

FTC Disclosure: I paid for this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Henri “Halti” Haltiwanger can charm just about anyone. He is a star debater and popular student at the prestigious FATE academy, the dutiful first-generation Haitian son, and the trusted dog walker for his wealthy New York City neighbors. But his easy smiles mask a burning ambition to attend his dream college, Columbia University.

There is only one person who seems immune to Henri’s charms: his “intense” classmate and neighbor Corinne Troy. When she uncovers Henri’s less-than-honest dog-walking scheme, she blackmails him into helping her change her image at school. Henri agrees, seeing a potential upside for himself.

Soon what started as a mutual hustle turns into something more surprising than either of them ever bargained for. . . .

This is a sharply funny and insightful novel about the countless hustles we have to keep from doing the hardest thing: being ourselves. 
 
Review: This is the sophomore book by the author of The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, which won the William C. Morris YA Debut Award last year. I really enjoyed this book even though it is predictable. And that cover! It captures the book perfectly.

Henri (a smart, but sneaky high school senior) meets Corinne ( a super smart and a bit socially awkward high school senior). Of course they don't like each other at first and, of course, they end up liking one another very much. No surprise, but I did like reading their journey as they are likable characters, the story moves quickly, and I liked the touches of family that are sprinkled throughout.

And then Henri does something stupid. So stupid. I didn't see it coming and it took the book in another direction than it was going and that was really good. In the end, of course, things work out for our couple and I was okay with that, too.

I liked the descriptions of life in New York (why are so many YA books set in NY?!), the discussions of applying to college, life on the debate team, and Henri's family. If you want a feel-good YA romance, I recommend this one.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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