Jennifer's Reviews > The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
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it was amazing
bookshelves: ya-realistic-fiction

If you like snark and sarcasm, this book is for you!

Norris Kaplan is a black, French-Canadian teen in his junior year of high school when his mother announces they are moving to Texas, of all places! Norris is not happy about the move at all, though he understands that his mother had to go where she could find a tenure-track teaching position.

But Norris still can't help being unhappy about the move, and uncomfortable in his new school. He covers his loneliness and anxiety about fitting in by using sarcasm and snark as a defense. He initially is quick to judge and categorize everyone based on stereotypes portrayed in every high-school movie. There are the jocks, who he assumes to be thick-headed assholes; the cheerleaders that he assumes are all shallow, vapid, and bitchy; the loners and the freaks.

But, as he gets to know people, he begins to realize that his first impressions and assumptions of many of his classmates were wrong and unfair. Just as he has finally started to form some real friendships and thinks life in Austin may not be so bad after all, a jealous argument with the girl he had been dating ends with her revealing some of the snarky comments he had written about people before he got to know them. Can Norris repair the damage and regain the trust of his friends and the girl he now realizes he is the one he really loves, or will he just go back to Canada?

I really liked this book, and identified with the character and his naturally sarcastic and snarky sense of humor, and using that snark and sarcasm to cover up his real feelings, and to reject people before they have a chance to reject him. I found him to be a flawed, but likeable character who never intended to hurt anyone, but sometimes finds his foot squarely in his mouth. Starting each chapter with an entry in Norris' journal resembling a naturalist's field note was a nice touch.

This is a great read for any teen who has struggled with fitting in, being the new kid, adjusting to major life changes, and has a great message about not making assumptions about people based on first impressions or stereotypes, and making yourself open to new relationships and opportunities.

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Reading Progress

March 13, 2019 – Started Reading
March 13, 2019 – Shelved
March 13, 2019 – Shelved as: ya-realistic-fiction
March 13, 2019 – Finished Reading

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