Title: Noah Can’t Even
Author: Simon James Green
Published by: Scholastic
Publication date: 4th May 2017
Pages: 365, paperback
Genre: YA, contemporary, LGBTQ+, humour
Poor Noah Grimes! His father disappeared years ago, his mother’s Beyonce tribute act is an unacceptable embarrassment, and his beloved gran is no longer herself. He only has one friend, Harry, and school is…Well, it’s pure HELL. Why can’t Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a romantic relationship with someone – maybe Sophie, who is perfect and lovely – he’d be seen in a different light? But Noah’s plans are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. That’s when things go from bad to utter chaos.
I first heard about this book at the Scholastic Bloggers Book Feast, and have been wanting to read it ever since. So I was absolutely thrilled when it was sent to me last month! I’ll be honest: I don’t like bananas, but I loved this book! It was completely charming, and I enjoyed every second of it – it is definitely the funniest book I have read in a very long time!
I absolutely loved Noah, and I really wish he was a real person. I won’t call him quirky, because I think quirky is too tame a word for Noah Grimes – he is totally weird, and I thought he was a brilliant character. His inner monologue was absolutely hilarious, and frequently had me in stitches. For example:
“Do you want a drink?”
“Um . . . Robinsons Barley Water? Or Kia-Ora?” he said, reckoning she would probably have the sort of mum who could afford quality branded squash.
This particular line I just found so funny. Possibly because it sounds vaguely like the sort of totally weird thing I might think to myself. But never mind that. Although I enjoyed Noah’s inner monologue immensely, I found the conversations he had with other people almost painful to read, purely because Noah is completely socially inept. Half of me still found it all really funny, and the other part of me had to read the book from between my fingers because I was cringing so hard!
I also loved all of the other characters – Harry was lovely, and his relationship with Noah was golden, written in such a unique and genuine way. Noah’s gran was hilarious, and I loved how she interacted with Noah, especially the rare moments of insight she had. I also loved Sophie and thought she was really sweet, and I liked her friendship with the two boys. Just generally, I thought all of the characters were characterised really well and they all felt as if they were really adding something to the story.
On another note, back when I first heard about this book in January, I was super excited for it. Something I thought was really great was that this is a coming-of-age novel, and so we have the classic teenage-boy-with-the-chaotic-life-and-family, paired with the LGBTQ+ aspect. This is something I have never seen in a book before, and I thought Simon James Green flawlessly integrated messages about accepting/exploring your sexuality, without it particularly changing the tone of the book.
The plot was amazing, and did not go at all like I expected it to go. It sort of took a more serious route, but it was still written in a completely comedic way and it was ridiculously light-hearted 95% of the time. Overall, this was a gorgeously funny book and I would urge you all to read it – if I ever need cheering up, this will be my go-to book from now on! Later this month, on my blog I will be interviewing Simon James Green about Noah Can’t Even for the book’s blog tour, so I can’t wait to talk more about this book then!
(Thank you to Scholastic for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review)