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Charming as a Verb
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Charming as a Verb
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From the award-winning author of The Field Guide to the North American Teenager comes a whip-smart and layered romantic comedy. Perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon and Jenny Han. Henri "Halti" Haltiwanger...
From the award-winning author of The Field Guide to the North American Teenager comes a whip-smart and layered romantic comedy. Perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon and Jenny Han. Henri "Halti" Haltiwanger...
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Description-

  • From the award-winning author of The Field Guide to the North American Teenager comes a whip-smart and layered romantic comedy. Perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon and Jenny Han.

    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.

About the Author-

  • Ben Philippe is a New York–based writer and screenwriter, born in Haiti and raised in Montreal, Canada. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University and an MFA in fiction and screenwriting from the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas. He also teaches film studies and screenwriting at Barnard College. He is the author of the William C. Morris Award–winning novel The Field Guide to the North American Teenager. Find him online at www.benphilippe.com.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    July 1, 2020
    A charismatic 17-year-old boy used to hustling his way through life meets his match. Henri Haltiwanger, who is Haitian American, has a face for everyone--the wealthy owners of the dogs he walks under his guise of a business, the rich kids he attends Fine Arts Technical Education Academy with on Manhattan's Upper West Side, and anyone else who can help further his dream of attending Columbia University. He takes pride in his charm until Corinne--classmate and neighbor--blackmails him into helping her fix her reputation for being excessively intense and lacking in social graces. This is the last thing he needs after the disappointment of a lackluster Columbia interview, but Henri agrees, knowing their friendship can be mutually beneficial. As the pair grows closer, he realizes that he could fall for Corinne. Under the enormous pressure that befalls many first-generation Americans, Henri will do whatever it takes for a dream he is beginning to question, leading him to take a risk that just may cost him everything. This humorous, first-person narrative with a conversational, almost conspiratorial, tone will captivate readers even with the almost-too-neat ending. The author breathes life into each character, giving those in Henri's circle depth and investing readers in their stories. The novel demonstrates the pressure many face to be accepted into their dream colleges and thrive after high school. Corinne is black. A satisfyingly amusing read. (Romance. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    August 1, 2020
    Grades 9-12 Morris Award winner Phillippe (The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, 2019) turns up the charm in his sophomore novel with aspiring designer and teenage scammer Henri Haltiwanger. A first-generation Haitian American, Henri is determined to make the most of his life, and he's already got it pretty figured out with his secretly self-run dog-walking business, tailored Smile, and focus on attending Columbia. But when his cute-but-uptight peer discovers the reality behind Uptown Updogs, Henri agrees to help her socially in exchange for discretion. From its dynamic, easy-to-love characters to the endearing prose, this novel easily embodies Henri's cultivated suaveness, and his unusually confident persona, bring a fresh perspective. Readers eager to generate self-distinction will identify with Henri and appreciate the themes of honesty and integrity. Henri's voice, which is appropriately and realistically mature without feeling overly adult, will capture fans of Maurene Goo. A great choice for readers seeking a thematically substantive novel without an overly complex plot.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from September 1, 2020

    Gr 9 Up-Henri Haltiwanger is a go-getter. He's created a dog-walking business disguised as a much larger corporation to lure rich New York clients into trusting him with their precious pooches. Henri hopes this hustle will help him achieve his, and his father's, dream of getting into Columbia University. When Corrine Troy, Henri's socially awkward neighbor and classmate, discovers his enterprise, she blackmails him into helping her improve her social standings so that she will look better on her application to Princeton. What happens will change the trajectory of their lives. Philippe's book touches on racial and class struggles experienced by students as they apply to college. Henri is a first-generation American born of Haitian immigrant parents. Corrine is a dark-skinned African American girl, while Henri's best friend was adopted from China by Jewish American parents. While racial struggles are part of the book, it is not the entire focus. Henri deals with moral and ethical questions as he tries to decide how far he is willing to go to get into his dream college and what matters most to him. A budding romance between Henri and Corrine is the icing on a rich and decadent cake. VERDICT A racially diverse cast of characters with authentic voices and realistic struggles makes this a must-have for all YA collections.-Ashley Leffel, Griffin M.S., Frisco, TX

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 19, 2020
    Philippe (The Field Guide to the North American Teenager) expertly navigates the contemporary landscape of a high-achieving, overburdened high schooler of color, with all the pressures and sacrifices that can entail. Charming Haitian-American senior Henri Haltiwanger, 17, is a dog walker, debate team standout, sneaker aficionado, and scholarship student at the Fine Arts Technical Education Academy, a prestigious New York City institution. As the only child of poor immigrants, it’s Henri’s dream—or, rather, his father’s for him—to attend Columbia University, but after a shaky interview with an alum, Henri becomes desperate to increase his odds. When he gets hired to walk the puppy of intense, socially awkward schoolmate Corinne Troy, who lives in the same building for which his father is the live-in superintendent, Henri discovers that her mother is a dean at Columbia. As he gets to know Corinne, Henri realizes his interest in her has nothing to do with her mother’s job, but a desperate decision soon threatens to ruin everything he’s worked for. A witty, well-developed bildungsroman that presents a Black teenager carefully attempting to navigate systems that disproportionately disadvantage him. Ages 13–up.

  • The Horn Book

    January 1, 2021
    Henri "Halti" Haltiwanger walks dogs for his well-to-do neighbors to earn money to help out at home, operating as an individual but pretending to work for a fictitious company to make himself look more legitimate. When his headstrong, studious (but socially awkward) neighbor Corinne discovers his deception, she blackmails him into helping her with her social skills. The arrangement results in a rom-com story line that complicates Halti's college aspirations. Halti's Haitian immigrant parents want him to attend Columbia University, which he's worked hard to make a reality; he knows he is at a disadvantage compared to his wealthy classmates. A poor decision puts Halti's dreams on the line as he tries to navigate his final year in high school, college admissions, young love, and friendship. In his second novel, Morris Award winner Philippe (The Field Guide to the North American Teenager) creates a witty, humorous, realistic snapshot of the pressures young people face as they make their way into adulthood. Through memorable, multifaceted characters, Philippe explores themes of how race, class, and socioeconomic status can open doors for some, while closing them for others. Refreshing, romantic, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, the book is satisfying and, yes, charming. Monique Harris

    (Copyright 2021 by The Horn Book, Incorporated, Boston. All rights reserved.)

  • Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)

    "Henri's narrative swagger effortlessly charms the reader, but it's his growing self-awareness that gives this delightful novel its depth... An intelligently narrated romance with plenty of witty banter and a diverse cast." — Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

    "A witty, well-developed bildungsroman that presents a Black teenager carefully attempting to navigate systems that disproportionately disadvantage him." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "This book is quite charming and will have readers cheering for Henri and Corrine....A diverse cast of characters, racial tensions, and ethical dilemmas make this so much more than just a simple romance." — School Library Journal (starred review)

    "Morris Award winner Philippe turns up the charm in his sophomore novel...From its dynamic, easy-to-love characters to the endearing prose, this novel easily embodies Henri's cultivated suaveness, and his unusually confident persona, bring a fresh perspective." — ALA Booklist

    "This humorous, first-person narrative with a conversational, almost conspiratorial, tone will captivate readers." — Kirkus Reviews

    "A witty, humorous, realistic snapshot of the pressures young people face as they make their way into adulthood. Through memorable, multifaceted characters, Philippe explores themes of how race, class, and socioeconomic status can open doors for some, while closing them for others. Refreshing, romantic, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, the book is satisfying and, yes, charming." — Horn Book Magazine

    "Packed solid with freestyle wit, real bestie charm, and the everyday diverse glory of New York City." — David Yoon, New York Times bestselling author of Frankly In Love

    Praise for FIELD GUIDE: "A witty debut with whip-smart dialogue that will find much love among fans of authors like John Green and Jason Reynolds."
    School Library Journal (starred review)

    "Ben Philippe's sparkling dialogue along with prose that occasionally borders on lyrical (although in a completely cool, hip, manly way) is sure to delight readers. Norris' evolution from cynical outsider to caring insider is a journey well-worth following—especially as it's accompanied with laugh out loud moments [and]insightful revelations."
    New York Journal of Books

    "With a perfect balance of snark, keen observation, and wry humor, Ben Philippe has given us the brilliant Norris Kaplan—by far, the funniest, wittiest, smartest character I've ever read! Norris Kaplan would be the perfect teen host for The Daily Show!"
    Ibi Zoboi, author of American Street, National Book Award finalist

    "A refreshing, captivating read, one which will definitely appeal to its teen target audience but will also satisfy older readers, who will appreciate its clarity and emotional acuity."
    Toronto Star

    "In Philippe's funny debut, 16-year-old black French-Canadian Norris Kaplan must navigate life and love in Austin, Tex., after he and his mother move there... Philippe has a gift for dialogue and touches on a few instances of racism with sensitivity and humor in this crowd-pleaser."
    Publishers Weekly

    "It's no longer tenable to imagine that the anxieties of a white heterosexual young man expelled from an expensive prep school capture the spirit of our era. Today's snarky young anti-hero instead looks like Norris, the black French Canadian boy in The...

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