Book Club Night 6 – Noah Can’t Even

BOOHey! So I know it’s super late and we usually post these the week after book club but here is our latest update! For our July-August book we chose to read Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green. I finally had the pleasure of meeting him at YALC and he is such a lovely man! Sarah has met him before and has said only good things so I was really looking forward to meeting him. Anyway! Onto our book club chats!

For anyone who doesn’t know, Noah Can’t Even is about a teenage boy at secondary school trying to get through and get to college. He believes he is way more mature than the other students and as an odd kid he doesn’t fit in. He has a crush on his friend, Sophie, but then his best friend, Harry, kisses him and he begins to question himself.

The meet up was honestly a really good time with a great discussion. The general consensus of the group was that the book was about a 2/2.5 but Sarah loves it and gave it a 4.5/5. There were quite a lot of reasons for both sides and we had a very good debate – no one was mean to each other about their opinions which is always nice because sometimes people go too far when discussing a book/film/tv show etc., they really love or dislike. At the end of the day, what we enjoy is completely subjective.

A lot of the slightly more negative opinions were about the style. For example, I wasn’t a fan of the melodramatic way Noah deals with everything in his life. Someone described it as “Eastenders meets Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging meets Tracy Beaker” and honestly I get it! We didn’t mean that negatively either. It seems to be more targeting the age group that the Louise Rennison books did and the drama was very soap opera in style. It isn’t just Noah though – most characters in the book are quite exaggerated and a few people felt this way and felt it didn’t feel very real because of it. On the other hand, that’s also a point some people loved!

The humour is very distinct and we all agreed it’s either a love or hate type. A few of us weren’t a fan of the constant slapstick jokes or one-liners, whereas others really liked it and thought it made the book a really funny and happy read.

Interestingly enough though (and one of my favourite things about our book club) is that some opinions were changed during the discussions. We all talked about the parts we liked and disliked and it really shed light on how other people viewed it. When Sarah explained what she liked about Noah as a character, I saw him a little differently. I still am not a big fan of him as a character but I now see why people connect to him and love him.

Most of the group agreed it gets better as it goes on. We found the ending much better than the first ¾ of the book. The twists Simon James Green writes into the story are really great, especially with knowing that Noah loves Agatha Christie. That works really well and is a clever way to merge Noah’s interests with the style of the story itself.

It is a fun book and if you want a light read and enjoy this kind of humour then definitely read it. It is really popular (the worst thing is that a few people we know who do love it couldn’t make it that meeting) and I know a lot of people who find it genuinely laugh-out-loud funny.

This month’s read is Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy. Our meeting is in two days on Friday 7th September – if you can read it by then, well done, that’s bloody fast! We welcome everyone and anyone, whether you’ve read the book or not. Come join us!

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