Monday, 29 October 2018

Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green - Reviewed by Kelly McCaughrain

This YA novel was on my TBR pile for a while (purely because I loved the title) and I finally got round to reading it because I was due to be on a panel at DeptCon4 with the author, Simon James Green, and I wanted to be able to be informed and polite when I met him.

Informed and polite doesn’t quite describe the fangirling that ensued. I LOVED this book. I read it over the course of 2 days in a hotel in Galway, which I was supposed to be treating as a writing retreat, and then I berated poor SJG on Twitter for disrupting my writing because:
  1. I couldn’t put it down
  2. I couldn’t do any writing of my own because what was the point when there were such brilliant books out there already?
He was very nice about it.

Noah is a completely endearing character, which is quite an achievement considering he spends most of the book pissing people off. He’s a sort of Adrian Mole type – pernickety, high-maintenance, and unintentionally hilarious. He’s unpopular at school (the revelation that his mother has a Beyonce tribute act does not help), his dad is absent (and Noah’s attempts to explain this are both funny and heart-breaking), he’s obsessed with Murder She Wrote and Agatha Christie, and his only friend is Harry. When he gets the chance to work on a project with a popular girl, he figures this could be his chance to integrate with the normals, even get a girlfriend. But things are totally derailed when, instead of Noah kissing Sophie at a party, Harry kisses Noah and chaos ensues. 

I laughed out loud so many times reading this book and I really cared about Noah. I found him completely believable and relatable and I thought his emotional journey through the choppy waters of family and sexuality felt very natural and touching. The humour kept things light and fast-paced, which I think is the key to making the emotional moments pack a real punch and these definitely did.

I got to talk to SJG a bit at DeptCon4 and he’s an absolutely lovely guy. We chatted about getting so attached to your characters that you don’t want to let them go. In fact, he didn’t, he wrote a sequel, Noah Could Never, which is just out.

I’ve just started reading it and I can tell I’m going to love it already. I can completely believe he was attached to Noah because the book is all heart and the characters are the centre of it, which is everything I want in a book.

Go read it, you will be glad you did.

Kelly McCaughrain is the author of the YA novel Flying Tips for Flightless Birds

She blogs about Writing, Gardening and VW Campervanning at 




Emma Perry said...

Great review. I love this book, so funny - Simon has got a great sense of comedic timing. Reckon you'll love the second one too.

Penny Dolan said...

Love the sound of Noah! What a lovely review!

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