Charming as a Verb
By: Ben Philippe
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: contemporary, romance
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Page Count: 336
Synopsis: 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.
This review will be spoiler free
Let me start off by thanking Harper Collins Canada for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Again (as with my last review) I realize this is coming a bit late, this book is obviously out already, but due to some COVID-19 related shipping delays and just general issues with couriers in my city, I only received these books a few weeks ago so i have been working my way through them as fast as I can! However, the good news is that you don’t have to wait to get your hands on this incredible book, you can run out and grab one as soon as you finish reading this review.
First, I want to say that this is just an adorable cover, I love all the colours and the way it just makes me smile before I even know what the story is about (and I mean a dog on the cover? come on how cute!). This book is not at all what I typically read, I am a fantasy and sci-fi (and maybe the occasional historical fiction) kind of gal. I can count the number of contemporary books I have read on my hands and if I’m being honest most were for school. However, this book looked like it was going to be a cute rom-com like story and I know that is something I could really use right now so I was excited.
Henri is a very (yes I’ll say it) charming character. I really liked that he was written with flaws, but that he went on his own journey of character development throughout the story that we as the readers could clearly see. Corinne was also a great character and I was a little sad that we didn’t get her POV. Their story was witty and sarcastic but also sweet but it also touched on the very real pressures that teens feel as they go through the University application process and the intense stress that goes along with that. In fact I would say this is probably one of the most realistic portrayals of that feeling and that process that I have seen, and that was really refreshing. Anyone who has gone through this process themselves will be able to relate.
Overall this book really won me over with its charm and wit and honesty. My only tiny complaint is that I would have liked to see some more build up before Henri started really falling for Corinne, but it could be that my years of reading YA fantasy have ruined anything that isn’t a slow burn romance for me. The writing is really excellent, and Henri’s voice as a narrator is incredibly unique and strong. I feel like I really knew him, which is a high compliment for a YA book. And of course, the romance was adorable, so rest assured if you pick up this book it will made you smile.
Have you read this book yet? let me know your thoughts down in the comments! What is a genre outside your comfort zone?