Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green
I’m fortunate enough that I don’t have to experience boy problems but when I started Noah Can’t Even and witnessed Noah having to deal with a boy problem while in the middle of a PE lesson, I couldn’t help but cringe – then laugh at his misfortune.
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.
When I read the blurb I was pretty excited to read this, I love reading books where the main character is finding themselves (especially when they regard sexuality) and Simon James Green didn’t disappoint.
I started the book in the morning and was finished by mid-afternoon, that’s how much I enjoyed the writing and didn’t want to stop reading about Noah’s antics. I was either nodding along to his constant reminders that we don’t live in America, so can we please stop talking like we are? and smiling as he thought about his best friend.
The whole book was a rollercoaster of cringeworthy moments that any teenager would want to bury their head in the sand after, from surprise first kisses to his mum dating someone she (possibly) shouldn’t be dating.
When I attended the YA Summer Cringefest at Waterstones, Simon said the book wasn’t quite autobiographical (his mum wasn’t a Beyonce tribute act!) but didn’t let on what parts might be true. I’m not sure whether the idea of the cringey moments being real made them funnier but I could certainly imagine Noah in real life.
Noah Can’t Even is one of the funniest debuts I’ve read and I can’t wait to read more of Simon’s writing!
Have you read Noah Can’t Even yet? What did you think of it?