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Noah Can't Even by Simon James Green - Review

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Where did I get it? I bought it for myself last autumn because I'd heard a lot about it. 

What's it about? Noah is fifteen and in his last year of school. Life is pretty terrible - his dad went awol when Noah was ten and Noah tried to cover it up, which people have never forgotten about. His mum does a Beyonce tribute act and everyone at school just found out about that, too. Life at home is quite difficult for a few reasons. Things are looking up slightly when Noah is paired with Sophie for a project - but then she's moving to Milton Keynes very soon. But she invites Noah to a party and under the rules Noah has with his best friend Harry, Harry is invited too. 

While they're there, Harry kisses Noah in a bedroom upstairs, and that's when all hell really does break loose because Eric Smith was videoing it and now he's trying to blackmail Noah.

I was expecting this book to be quite serious, and at the beginning it sort of is, so when things started getting ludicrous and obviously exaggerated for comedy effect, I was a bit thrown. But once I just went with it and got into the comedy, I really enjoyed the book. Noah is a great book hero - geeky, clumsy, funny, and with the knowledge that he's just a bit of a geek. I really liked him, I'm going to have to buy the sequel book I think!

What age range is it for? 14+, it's pretty suitable for anyone. 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes, Harry is. And Noah isn't sure - but I thought this was really well handled and nicely done. When they kiss Noah know it feels amazing, but he likes girls doesn't he? 

Are any main characters people of colour? Well about halfway into the book it says that Sophie is mixed race, but it's not mentioned much which sort of annoyed me. It was like everyone was presumed to be white? The book is set in North Lincolnshire, somewhere near Grimsby, which fair enough isn't the most multicultural place in the world, but even so!

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No 

Is there any sex stuff? A little, it's not explicit and there's plenty of mention of condoms/protection which I liked. 

Are drugs mentioned or used? No 

Is there any talk of death? A little bit, nothing too explicit.

Are there swear words? A few. 

What criticisms do I have? Well, I mean, a lot did happen and it wasn't all realistic or believable. I found the book quite difficult to relate to, but I did also find it very funny. It's not the type of book I would write, or particularly look out for - but that doesn't mean it's a bad book in and of itself. Does that make sense? 

Would I recommend the book? Yes. I did like the fact that it's set in the middle of nowhere in the north, and I did like the fact that Noah came from a poor family and that this wasn't glossed over. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I think someone had mentioned it on Twitter or something and I remembered I had it. I'm actively trying to read books that I bought specifically, like this, rather than letting them languish on the shelves. 

What other books is it like? In tone, I think it's quite a lot like Better Nate Than Never but for a slightly older audience. 

How many stars? Four out of five, one of those stars is for how amazing I thought Noah was. 

Where is the book going now? I'll keep it on my LGBT shelf!

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