Charming as a Verb

Ben Philippe

fiction contemporary romance young adult
lighthearted fast-paced

336 pages | first published 2020

Henri “Halti” Haltiwanger can charm just about anyone. He is a star debater and popular student at the prestigious FATE academy, the dutiful first-generation Haitian son, and the trusted dog walker for his wealthy New York City neighbors. But his easy smiles mask a burning ambition to attend his dream college, Columbia University.

There is only one person who seems immune to Henri’s charms: his “intense” classmate and neighbor Corinne Troy. When she uncovers Henri’s less-than-honest dog-walking scheme, she blackmails him into helping her change her image at school. Henri agrees, seeing a potential upside for himself.

Soon what started as a mutual hustle turns into something more surprising than either of them ever bargained for. . . .

This is a sharply funny and insightful novel about the countless hustles we have to keep from doing the hardest thing: being ourselves.

What the community thinks

summary of 196 ratings (see reviews)

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funny 83%
lighthearted 78%
hopeful 54%
emotional 27%
reflective 25%
inspiring 18%
adventurous 6%
tense 6%
challenging 3%
relaxing 1%


medium 65%
fast 28%
slow 5%

Plot- or character-driven?

Character: 58% | A mix: 25% | Plot: 16%

Strong character development?

Yes: 77% | It's complicated: 12% | N/A: 4% | No: 4%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 88% | It's complicated: 6% | No: 4%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 96% | It's complicated: 1% | No: 1%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 84% | It's complicated: 13% | No: 1%

Average rating