A book that landed on the bestseller list a month or two ago, “The Field Guide to the North American Teenager” by Ben Phillipe has received a lot of hype. However, the book is not as good as advertised. This book does not know what it is. That is the biggest problem. A book about teenage life is naturally going to be dramatic, but there is only so much that can fit inside a YA novel without it becoming overwhelming. It feels like the main drama kept getting switched around. The constant changing of the plot really screws with how good the story can be.

If the story was focused on just one of the many main plot points, it would feel a lot more complete. Right now it feels like a jumble, as if the author wanted to fit every modern teenage book plot line into one novel, and that does not work. The typical “rising action, climax, falling action” way of writing stuff has not gone out of style, and it shouldn’t. This book felt like “rising action, climax, rising action, climax, climax, somehow another climax, then finally falling action.” Credits to the author for coming up with a bunch of great modern storylines that intrigue young adult readers, but maybe don’t put them all in the same book.

Also, the characterization in this book is mediocre at best. It starts off great, something I considered to be a strength, with diverse characters with unique personalities and interests. As the book goes on, all the characters start to slowly mold after the main character, Norris. In other words, almost every character by the end is super sarcastic and snarky. This could be a clever way of the author symbolizing how the attitude Norris has influences how others treat him. However, I think it might just be the lack of rounded characters.

Although this book has potential, the author did not do well in making the most of it. Norris is a very annoying main character and the amount of drama in this book is incredibly overwhelming.

Rating: 5.4

“Reams and Reels,” written by Cade Smucker, dives into the intersection between books and movies. Reviewing books one week and movies the next, Sumcker analyzes the newest works of fiction on the market, telling you which are worth your time, and which are not. 

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