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The Field Guide to the North American…
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The Field Guide to the North American Teenager (edition 2019)

by Ben Philippe (Author)

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19610100,879 (3.82)4
When Norris, a Black French Canadian, starts his junior year at an Austin, Texas, high school, he views his fellow students as clichés from "a bad 90s teen movie."
Member:LeicesterMSLibrary
Title:The Field Guide to the North American Teenager
Authors:Ben Philippe (Author)
Info:Balzer Bray (2019), 384 pages
Collections:New Books 2017/2018
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The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I read this novel at the request of a friend. She wanted an opinion on finding something to engage her teenager in the current news-media dialogue on racism. This book isn’t a good choice because it is more about a middle-school kid (Norris) trying to fit in at a new high school. Beyond that, the fact he is black, French-Canadian does not come across as the source of the drama that pervades this novel.

In fact, there was too much high-school drama which didn’t convey an authentic situation. I was disappointed at the amount of stereotyping (jocks, cheer leaders, an introductory school counsellor). I’ve read a number of YA novels in the contemporary fiction genre and this one fell flat. Too busy being snarky and sarcastic, Norris didn’t come across as a realistic teen voice. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Sep 27, 2020 |
I can't remember the last time I laughed out loud so much while reading a book! I loved Norris' brand of sarcastic humor, and he's not afraid to direct it at himself either. He's so snarky and I just loved his entire demeanor - unlikable, but real... which made him likeable and relatable. Even his situation with this parents was relatable. I definitely felt that.

What I liked about the romance element of the book is how authentic it was, angst and all. Oh, and I don't want to spoil much, but the twist that was pulled... definitely saw it coming, and I was rooting for it too! I also have to say that I love the way the book ended, leaving an open door with major possibility. ( )
  genieinanovel | Sep 15, 2020 |
A cure to the genre's constant line-up of insufferable, self-involved, I'm-mean-but-it's-cute-when-I-do-it protagonists in contemporary YA. Norris is one of them - he thinks he's funnier than he is and is actually just...a bully. But everyone around him is infinitely more complex, charming, and interesting than he is and he's tasked with owning up to how he's just unable to take a long look in the mirror.

This was super satisfying to me...my main gripe with contemporary is that it hardly makes sense why people are always fawning over MC when they're usually really grim, judgy, and unkind, and that shit doesn't fly IRL. Norris gets in with the cool characters because he's funny, and is pretty quickly tasked with owning up to his bad attitude.

Only real disappointment was in the end...: Norris was seriously cruel to Madison. I appreciate the idea that life ain't over and there's always time for reparations, but it leaves off with this gross tone of "haha I'll just bother you, follow you at work, until you love me again lol" why we gotta do the thing ( )
  Chyvalrys | Aug 5, 2020 |
This is a story about Norris Kaplan, a black French Canadian with a severe case of sarcasm, who is forced to move to Austin, Texas for his mother’s new job. Norris is a typical teenager who holds a lot of angst, but nothing can prepare him for all the drama that Texas, and the unbearable Texas heat, will bring. He’ll meet the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Can this hockey-loving Canadian create a home in this foreign land of breakfast tacos and football? With clever witty humor and some of the most relatable characters I’ve read in quite some time, The Field Guide to the North American Teenager is perfect for any high schooler, including the reluctant readers (*cough* teenage boys *cough*). ( )
  cjacksonlib | Jul 29, 2020 |
I wasn't originally gonna read , despite it being 2020 William C. Morris Young Adult Debut Award winner and available at my local public library, but when I noticed the blurb said it was set in Austin - I decided to try it.  Norris, a black French Canadian only son of divorced Haitian parents, is forced to move to Austin* when his mother accepts a teaching position at the University of Texas.  The guidance counselor gives him a small notebook to use as a diary, but instead it becomes "his own personal field guide, a spot for his observations on everything and everyone that had crossed his path since arriving in Texas" (page 94), or "'his most intimate thoughts about the vapid, stupid, or ridiculous people that come his way,'" according to his supposed girlfriend (page 300).  Some of his views of Texas high school life and students are hilarious, but Norris has a bit of a chip on his shoulder.  He tends to stereotype, and learns he's wrong the hard way.

*It's not clear if they're in Austin or Pflugerville, a suburb just to the north.  There is an Anderson High School on the north side of Austin (my parents lived near there 2013-2017), but the Pflugerville it's supposed to be near (page 6) is about twelve miles away.

Like Norris, author Ben Philippe was born in Haiti and raised in Montreal.  He has an MFA in fiction and screenwriting from the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas.  In an interview, he said, ""A lot of the details from the book are lifted from my life. Norris Kaplan ... moves to Texas and hates it; I moved to Texas and hated it. Although Norris moved to Texas for high school and I lived there for graduate school, the broad strokes of Norris are very much lifted from my life. I wrote him as a superpowered version of me: Norris says and does whatever he thinks. I never did, as I was too worried about everyone was thinking about me at school. But he loves poking the bear."

Philippe is a funny writer, though.  I especially loved this piece from January 2016, when he compared the Republican presidential candidates at that point to characters in Game of Thrones (also at that point).  Considering what happened with Daenerys Targaryen later, he was spot on identifying Trump as her.
( )
  riofriotex | Apr 4, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ben Philippeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Allen, ChristinaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cunningham, MichelleCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my mother, Belzie.

I would have made a terrible doctor, mom.

People would have died.
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When Norris, a Black French Canadian, starts his junior year at an Austin, Texas, high school, he views his fellow students as clichés from "a bad 90s teen movie."

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