Friday, November 27, 2020

Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe - AVERAGE

Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe
, 336 pages. Balzer + Bray (Harper), 2020. $19 

Language: R (100+ swears, 16 “f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: G 



12th grader Henri Haltiwanger is about to get everything we wants – admission to Columbia University. But when he blows his admissions interview, he may need to rethink his trajectory. The son of Haitian immigrants, Henri earned his way into the Fine Arts Technical Education (FATE) Academy with his brain, his family lives in a lovely uptown apartment building because his dad is the super, and he makes money to contribute to the household through his dog-walking business. Then Corinne Troy, a classmate who also lives in his building blackmails him to help her become more socially engaged. As they spend more time together, their interest sparks. Corinne even helps him rethink his need to go to Columbia above all others. But in a moment of desperation, Henri makes a choice that may lose him everything. 

I love that Henri is the focus. Henri and Corinne’s interaction is as charming as the title implies. While this is definitely for those who want something romantic, there is depth here to enjoy well beyond the romance. It is about the choices we make, about who we open up to, about trying to find out where our dreams will lead us. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

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