Charming Young Man

HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. Oct. 2023. 288p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780062982391.
Gr 9 Up–Paris, the 1890s. Seventeen-year-old Leon Delafosse is stumbling his way through high society. An extremely gifted pianist with the looks of an angel, he is in desperate need of a patron so he can support his family and pay for his tuition at the Paris Conservatory. Initially assisting Leon is young gossip columnist Marcel Proust, but when the larger-than-life Count Robert de Monstesquiou-Fezensac offers his patronage, Leon becomes deeply devoted to him, not just as a patron, but as someone he could love. Based on the real-life story of French pianist Leon Delafosse, Charming Young Man is a captivating and digestible coming-of-age story. Schrefer immerses readers in the beautiful worlds of Belle Epoque Paris and rural France with detail that enhances the narrative. Teens will be seduced and captivated by the depictions of Paris high society, while also connecting with the heart of the plot: Leon finding his place in the world where he feels like an outsider. Fans of Schrefer’s previous work The Darkness Outside Us will enjoy his new novel. Fans of historical YA fiction will be delighted with this sweet bildungsroman.
VERDICT An enjoyable and easy-to-read coming-of-age story set in the past but relevant to the present.

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