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Brooke's Pick: How to Behave in a Crowd by Camille Bordas



Isidore Mazal is different and he knows it. He may seem like a normal preteen to the casual observer, but in his extraordinary family, he sticks out like a sore thumb. Growing up in a small town in France, the youngest of six over-achieving siblings, Isidore is just trying to figure out this thing called life ... he’s got a lot of questions, and he’s looking for answers.


Camille Bordas’s How to Behave in a Crowd is a thought-provoking coming-of- age novel following Isidore as he searches for his role and place in his family (there has to be more than writing his sister Simone’s biography), deals with tragedy (both inside and outside of his home), pursues personal interests (he wants to become fluent in German so he can be a spy one day), and tries to make sense of the world around him (why don’t any of the adults seem to have it any of this figured out?)


How to Behave in a Crowd is one of those books that is saying so much more than what is on the printed page, and like any good coming-of-age novel, allows the readers to renew their understanding of life and the world through the burgeoning eyes of a child. Isidore’s observations of the “hows and whys” of the people in his life are spot-on and will have readers nodding their heads in agreement and understanding. Even better, Isidore is funny and he doesn’t even know it, making for a novel that is both comedic and insightful.


Do you know those books that have you laughing on one page and crying on the next? Yes it’s cliche, but How to Behave in a Crowd is like that. Bordas has an uncanny way of sneaking shocking details into ordinary paragraphs, unseating readers after she has just allowed them to settle in and get comfortable. But isn’t life like that? One minute you’re sailing along smoothly, and the next, your life has changed into something unrecognizable. That’s what How to Behave in a Crowd is ultimately about - doing what we have to do to juggle the curveballs. It is beautiful, and perceptive, and heart-breaking all at once.


Availability: Book

Rating: **** Stars (I really liked it)

Reviewer: Brooke, Public Relations Librarian

ARE YOU AND THIS BOOK A GOOD MATCH?

DISCOVER MORE WITH NOVELIST APPEALS! How to Behave in a Crowd


GENRE: Coming-of-Age Stories; Domestic Fiction; First Person Narratives; Literary Fiction

THEMES: Child Narrator (These stories explore the unique perspective children have of the world by letting them speak for themselves.)

TONE: Darkly Humorous

CHARACTER: Complex; Well-Developed

STORYLINE: Character-Driven

LOCATION: France

SUBJECT: Boys; Brothers and Sisters; Empathy; Families; Family Relationships; Grief; Loss; Misfits; Overachievers; Small Towns


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