Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green: Review by Lost in a Book
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 went into Noah Can’t Even with the preconceived notion that it would be a coming of age read with sexual discovery, lots of humor, sweet and steady relationship progression, and with touching moments interspersed throughout. See? My fault for having so many assumptions
What we actually get is Noah being a nerdy high schooler that thinks there are certain things he can do that would make him a tiny bit more popular and wash away the embarrassment that his parents’ actions have caused (Totally fine). He has one person in his corner, Harry, his best friend (Still working for me). Noah is also insanely dramatic and chaos follows in his wake.
As the blurb mentions, Harry kisses him at a party but that takes for-freaking-ever. This isn’t really a coming of age romance. It’s more about Noah navigating high school and being a 15 year old that’s clueless about life, his family, and his sexuality. Most of the story is about Noah navigating a shitstorm of events that just. won’t. quit.
Was it funny? Sure, there were funny parts. But it was also stressful. The bullying, the parents, Noah, etc., all became OTT. There weren’t enough funny parts to counteract the never ending drama that was Noah’s life, IMO.
I didn’t give up though. I was still rooting for Noah. I wanted to see something lighthearted and positive come out of it for Harry and Noah. They get their HFN (I think?) but of course it doesn’t come with total bliss. There’s a life circumstance cliffhanger for Noah that…
Whatever. It wasn’t my cuppa but YMMV.