Charming as a Verb

Ben Philippe. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-282414-1
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. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 10/15/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-282427-1
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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