The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philipe; Narrated by James Fouhey
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Norris Kaplan, a Haitian French Canadian teen, is immigrating for the second time in his life. This time he is moving from Montreal, Quebec to Austin, Texas. As he tries to survive the sweaty heat, he records his observations of the teens around him as an attempt to keep the threat of making friends in this new land at bay. Soon, his assumptions over his new classmates are challenged, and a few friendships seep in.
Fouhey’s narration captures the witty, observant, and snarky voice of Norris bringing the novel’s humor front and center, and makes each humorous line land with a subtle comedic delivery. When French is woven into the story, his accurate pronunciation with Norris makes it all the funnier, when other characters get French so, so wrong.
One small thread through the book has Jordan bringing his love of hockey with him from Canada. This could pair well with comedic Check, Please! #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu and the character driven Beartown by Fredrik Backman. Jordan’s smart, observant, snarky voice with appeal to fans of other first person narratives like I, Claudia by Mary McCoy, The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina, and Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by Lev A.C. Rosen. Its funny banter is a good complement to shows like Gilmore Girls and Freaks and Geeks, and movies like Juno, Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl, and Dope.