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CHARMING AS A VERB by Ben Philippe


by Ben Philippe

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-06-282414-1
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

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)