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  • Kat Boyer

Charming as a Verb - by Ben Philippe

Henri Haltiwanger is a first generation American born to Haitian parents. He attends the prestigious FATE academy in New York City as a scholarship student and spends some of his non-school time as a dog walker. Henri and his father dream of Henri attending Columbia, and as senior year continues on Henri has to deal with the stress of keeping up grades, helping his family by making money with his dog walking business, and trying to make the best impression on the Columbia admission's board. Henri runs into a small problem one day when his neighbor Corrine Troy finds out that the "company" that Henri works for 'Uptown Dogs' isn't real, and that Henri is using it as a front to land more dog walking clients. Corrine uses this information to blackmail Henri into helping her become a more social person to become more well rounded on her college applications. Romantic comedy set up complete, and the story follows that any fan of She's All That, or any other high school rom-com will recognize.

The characters are well fleshed out, and the high school life is realistic, without being too intense for younger teen readers. I really appreciated that this is a book set in an urban setting, with realistic teen relationships, without being explicit. Henri is a charming character, and I love that this book is a romantic comedy from a young man's perspective.

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