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The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  2,824 ratings  ·  653 reviews
William C. Morris YA Debut Award Winner!


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,
...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Balzer + Bray (first published January 22nd 2019)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,824 ratings  ·  653 reviews


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Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
DNF at 15%: I'm sorry but I just can't read this anymore. Being inside the main character's head was genuinely one of the most insufferable reading experiences I've ever had. Maybe I just ~didn't get it~ but life is too short for me to force myself through this.
Larry H
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was such a fun, endearing, and thought-provoking book.

Subject: Norris Kaplan, a Black French-Canadian high school student who is forced to move from Canada to Austin, Texas when his mother takes a university job there. Leaving his home, his best friend, hockey fans, etc., is bad enough, but for a teenager with overactive sweat glands, moving to Texas is like hell on earth. (Maybe hotter?)

"Of all the things Norris disliked about leaving his life behind, his mother's paranoid insistence that
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Hollis
Half stars, half stars! Is it really so much to ask?

All his life, Norris could count on his ability to strike up a conversation with anyone -- French or English speaker, black or white -- based on this sigil. Hockey was a third language back in Montreal. Where they were headed now, it would apparently only be a third eye in the middle of his forehead.

THE FIELD GUIDE TO THE NORTH AMERICAN TEENAGER is a book that won me over right from page one. And that's not just because our protagonist is a
...more
may ❀
book #1 for summerathon, under the challenge of: "book ft. a roadtrip, traveling, or vacation"

this book has far LESS traveling/road-tripping than i anticipated. i have no idea where i got this notion, but i totally thought this was a book about a roadtrip (wow, someone needs to actually read the blurbs)

heh.

pros
- the main character is a snarky little monster and i loved it
- the relationship between norris and his mother is so sweet and precious
- norris felt like such a honest, true teenage
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Suzanne
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute coming of age read. This is one of those books that you begin and think it will be a slow read but actually gains momentum as it continues and ends with a strong finish. I grew up in a small town in Tennessee with two French Canadian parents so the description of this book really appealed to me. However, I have been out of high school for a long time so things have changed immensely so I did not expect to have a relatable to the characters reading experience, which I did not have but it was ...more
Kelly
Talk about an unlikable male character! I loved it. I loved the script flip here, turning what is usually reserved for (white) girls to be -- unlikable -- and allowing a black male character to be that inside. And while Norris is really off putting and, at times, a downright bully, his story also elicits sympathy from the reader: he's been pulled from everything he's known in Canada to Austin, Texas, where he stands out because of his French Canadian background and, well, being black. Rather ...more
Melissa
This book is, in its own way, a fresh view on the high school experience. I wanted to read it because the synopsis was really interesting, but also because Norris was from Montreal, where I am.

I loved the categorization that Norris did on his notebook, I loved his sarcasm. I also loved how he went past the first impression of several people to actually coming to know and like them (or, at least, get along with them).
mindful.librarian ☀️
An awkward and reluctant Black high school transplant to Austin, TX from Montreal, Norris Kaplan may just be one of my favorite male YA characters yet. He's awkward as can be, snarky as a defense mechanism, and not at all buying into the American high school experience. Austin is NOT his hockey-obsessed hometown and he deeply resents his divorced linguistics professor mom for dragging him into the H-O-T and ridiculous world of sun, Longhorns, and burnt orange.

This novel addresses race, class,
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Cori Reed
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was so much fun! If you love contemporary, but want something a little bit different, check this out!
Stephanie Fitzgerald
Feb 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: High school readers and older only, with adult guidance
Setting:
Austin, Texas, in present time

This was a really good “coming-of-age” story, with very interesting plot twists throughout. The author is spot-on with his descriptions of high school life, and Norris’s Field Notes at the beginning of each chapter are hilarious! Being a native Texan, I could also appreciate the passages about the oppressive summer heat! I found myself wondering if the Austin stores and restaurants mentioned actually exist, because I want to re-visit if they are!

Red Flags:
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Chanelle
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
awww this was extremely heart warming and reminded me so much of my snarky high school self
Rashika (is tired)
Actual Rating 3.5

I don’t think this book has actually been pitched this way but when I finished the book, I couldn’t help but think of Mean Girls. The Field Guide to a North American Teenager, while not a perfect fit, read to me, like a gender-swapped Mean Girls.

Norris Kaplan is the new kid in town. Although he feels incredibly out of place, he does somehow immediately capture the attention of several people who are taken in by his snark. He writes in his journal, trying to categorize and group
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Samantha (WLABB)
What happens when you take a hockey loving, black, French-Canadian boy and transplant him in Texas? You get a hilarious tale filled with some teen angst, hijinks, and even some personal growth.

•Pro: This book was hilarious! I love snark and sarcasm, and Norris spoke both fluently. I laughed so much and so often, and that is always a welcomed perk.

•Pro: The characters Philippe created to be part of Norris' circle was interesting and a lot more complex than Norris expected them to be. I really
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Kelli Gleiner
Norris is the sort of boy I’d like in high school: snarky, uninterested in the “cool kids,” and smart. As is the case with so many people I’ve known, he can’t turn off the smart-ass to see who his real friends are.
I can’t say that I liked how “prettily” the book wrapped up, but I enjoyed meeting Norris and watching him grow throughout the book.
His struggles/coming to terms with his dad was the strongest part of the book, in my opinion, and could have read more of that.
Aly
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, audiobook
This was pretty cute and fun. I liked having a male narrator and his take on America, having come from Haitian parents and born in Canada was funny and interesting. Each chapter begins with Norris's observations about teenage traditions or things Texans say or how cheerleaders are all named Maddie. Norris was cynical and didn't want to move with his mom to a new country, but as he began to make friends and participate in typical teen things, like prom, first job, navigating dating, he started to ...more
Jay G
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review*

Norris is a young black French-Canadian who recently left Montreal to move to Austin, Texas with his mother. He is not happy with the move, but makes a deal with his mom that he will give Texas a try. Upon arriving, Norris meets every high school stereotype you can think of and records it all in a
...more
Jessica Woodbury
I highly enjoyed this riff on the snarky teen protagonist. The Snarky Teen is basically a staple of YA fiction these days, always ready with the perfect quip or takedown, mercilessly judging the popular kids for mercilessly judging them, the sarcastic center of the universe that doesn't understand them. Except, as Philippe notes, that person is kind of the worst and is going to alienate a lot of people along the way.

It's a really solid approach to a YA novel, especially because the book itself
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Cassandra {semi-hiatus}
Perfect read to start the new year! Norris was such an utter smartass but I loved him regardless. Every witty quip, every side character, and every hysterical Norris-ism... perfect. This book was an amazing debut; I can’t wait to see what the author produces in the future.

Full review to come!
Sarah
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
* review of an advanced reader copy courtesy of the publisher

Haitian Harriet the Spy meets television sitcom in this young adult novel about a black French Canadian trying to survive in a Texas high school. Norris Kaplan, the book's wry protagonist, has his doubts about relocating to Austin, Texas before he and his professor mother even step foot off the plane into the 104 degree sweat inducing weather. His misgivings come true in the first few days of school when his big mouth lands him on the
...more
Jennie Shaw
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't remember the last time I laughed my way through an entire book. Not just in the beginning, with humour petering out by the halfway point. Norris's pitch-perfect snark had me laughing my face off and while I could've flown through THE FIELD GUIDE, I didn't want to. It really is a rare reading experience to get end my day with a bout of laughter (this makes me sound kind of terrible because Norris really does have a sharp tongue and that's what made me laugh, but I like snark so) and I ...more
Chessa
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I aggressively LOVED THIS. I laughed out loud so much you guys, my kids and cats took turns saying, “can u not?” with their eyeballs at me.

Norris is so snarky and guarded and wrapped up in himself and I just loved his entire unlikeable-but-actually-so-human-and-love-able teenage situation. His relationship with his parents felt so real, complications and all.

Have you ever felt like a sport was stalking you? This is like the third time in a year that hockey has featured heavily in something I’m
...more
Amanda
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5*

I was sent an ARC in exchange for honest review

I have a full video review : https://youtu.be/jjf75K0Cf-E
Joanna (joreadsalot)
This was an easy 5. So good .RTC ...more
Flavia
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book ended up being so different from what I had expected! Though I shouldn’t be too surprised, since this is Philippe’s debut novel, so he’s definitely a new-to-me author. The main character of this book, Norris, was likeable for me from the start, and there was a lot of snarky humour sprinkled throughout this book, which was great. I think that I liked the humour the most, if I had to pick a top favourite thing!

It was also quite interesting to read about Texas from the perspective of a
...more
Ivy
Jan 30, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coming-soon-19, arcs
This cover is incredible, so hopefully the book will be as good.
Raafi
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english, 2019, kindle
Full review in bahasa Indonesia: http://bit.ly/FieldGuideNorrisKaplan.

It was a funny, thoughtful, move-on-kinda-thing teenager story. This book was fairly awesome. I had a hard time on the first half of the book, but after that--after Norris worked with Maddie--the story went interesting. In my sight, the main character, Norris, was hardly remembered as a black teenage who were struggling with his movement from Canada to Texas, unless he was with his mom. I think it's because the page-turning
...more
Arden Belrose
No book has made me laugh out loud this much since I read Three Men In A Boat! I LOVED Norris' brand of sarcastic, exaggerated, witty and tongue-in-cheek humor. And he's not afraid to direct it at himself, too.

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager is a contemporary, coming-of-age story in the POV of a French-Canadian teenager who also happens to be black. Yeah, that's a lot going on there. Hurl in a cross-country move to an unforgiving climate, being the New Guy in a giant box filled
...more
USOM
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I flat out adored this book. From page one I knew I wouldn't go to bed until I finished reading it because Norris is spectacular. He's a character I instantly loved. Transplanted from snowy Canada into the depths of warmth in Austin, Texas, Norris hates just about everything. And I feel like Norris spoke to me. He spoke to me in the ways he mouths off to bullies, his quick
...more
Kaitlyn
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Maybe the whole point of approaching life as origami that the documentary missed was learning to fold your sharp edges."

This book was interesting. It wasn't as fluffy and light as I expected but it felt very real, which was very refreshing.
Sabina
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would like to start by saying thank you to the team at @hccfrenzy and @harpercollinsca for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

I requested this ARC in particular because the synopsis mentioned that the main character was moving to Texas from Montreal, QC, Canada which is my hometown! I knew there would be references that I would love and relate to, and Ben Philippe did not disappoint! There were many times where I was actually laughing at loud at the mention of Montreal's
...more
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Ben Philippe was born in Haiti, raised in Montreal, Qc, Canada, and now resides in New York. He is a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers and holds a BA in Sociology from Columbia University. He won the 2013 Tennessee Williams Fiction Contest and his writing has appeared in Observer, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, and others. He still doesn't have a valid driver’s license.