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, cynical, and quite possibly too smart for his own good. A Black French Canadian, he knows from watching American sitcoms that those three things don’t bode well when you are moving to Austin, Texas.
Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs.
Yet against all odds, those labels soon become actual people to Norris…like loner Liam, who makes it his mission to befriend Norris, or Madison the beta cheerleader, who is so nice that it has to be a trap. Not to mention Aarti the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who might, in fact, be a real love interest in the making.
But the night of the prom, Norris screws everything up royally. As he tries to pick up the pieces, he realizes it might be time to stop hiding behind his snarky opinions and start living his life—along with the people who have found their way into his heart.
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 for her new teaching job. At Anderson High, he plans to keep his head down and draw as little attention as possible. To amuse himself, he uses the journal that the admissions officer gives him to create a snarky "Field Guide" to his fellow students. Norris usually has something sarcastic to say, so he doesn't go unnoticed for long, attracting the attention of a jock, Patrick; a cheerleader, Madison; and loner Liam, who are each more than they seem. He's instantly smitten when he meets Aarti, and when Madison offers her help in setting the two up, she and Norris strike up a reluctant friendship. Things are good, with Norris even heading up a fledgling hockey team, but a debacle at a prom after-party involving Aarti, her ex, and Norris's big mouth threatens his new friendships. Philippe has a gift for dialogue and touches on a few instances of racism with sensitivity and humor in this crowd-pleaser. Ages 13 up. Agents: Leslie York, Fredrica S. Friedman & Co., and Alloy Entertainment.