Parents' Guide to

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

By Barbara Saunders, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Funny story of immigrant teen facing culture shock in U.S.

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 16+

Mature themes not appropriate for middle school

This was assigned to my 8th grade son and seems inappropriate. Discussion of blow jobs, underage drinking, dozens of f—k, ass, sh— and so on. Every high school trope imaginable. The book was fine but too juvenile for high school readers character and plot development wise and too mature for middle school because of language, fun alcohol scenes and graphic sexual conversations.
age 18+

Juvenile readers deserve better reading materia than thisl!

Inappropriate material for juvenile readers! Nothing this book has to offer is worth subjecting a teen/preteen reader to. No need to desensitize them to bad, harmful choices and poor decision making. Life is too short and precious to waste on this book.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Humorous and sensitive, this novel captures teen angst. Author Ben Philippe makes artistic choices that make The Field Guide to the North American Teenager a delight. First, his main character is a Black immigrant to the U.S., so his commentary on his experiences with racism can be detached without coming across as dismissive. It allows the author to present topics like "the talk" (that Black parents give children about police abuse and other discrimination) while keeping the central emotional focus on universal themes like social disaster at the prom, parental divorce, and being the new kid at school. Second, the "field guide" structure brings a lot of funny moments, as the reader laughs along with Norris' snarky comments and when his secret thoughts become known to some of his targets.

For this book, Philppe won the 2020 William C. Morris Award for debut YA novel, an annual award given by the the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate