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.
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.