Hello friends! Long time, no post! Before I start discussing this lovely book, I just want to apologize for my sudden absence. I think it started once I got the flu (yuck), and then school and theater all came crashing down on me. I’d like to say that I’m back, but I probably will only be posting sporadically for the next several months. It breaks my heart because I love blogging so much, but senior year is an absolute beast.
Anyways, today I’m here to celebrate Down and Across, a heartwarming and hilarious novel about finding your passion in life!
Title: Down and Across
Author: Arvin Ahmadi
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pub. Date: Feb. 6th, 2018
Synopsis: Discover the secret to success in this incisively funny debut, for fans of John Corey Whaley, David Arnold, and Ned Vizzini!
“Quirky and charming, wise and unpredictable.” –Khaled Hosseini, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Kite Runner
Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. Writing the Great American Novel? Three chapters. His summer internship? One week. His best friends know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but Scott can’t commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a passion. With college applications looming, Scott’s parents pressure him to get serious about a career path like engineering or medicine. Desperate for help, he sneaks off to Washington, DC, to seek guidance from a famous professor who specializes in grit, the psychology of success.
He never expects an adventure to unfold out of what was supposed to be a one-day visit. But that’s what Scott gets when he meets Fiora Buchanan, a ballsy college student whose life ambition is to write crossword puzzles. When the bicycle she lends him gets Scott into a high-speed chase, he knows he’s in for the ride of his life. Soon, Scott finds himself sneaking into bars, attempting to pick up girls at the National Zoo, and even giving the crossword thing a try–all while opening his eyes to fundamental truths about who he is and who he wants to be.
This is usually the place that I would include my full review, but unfortunately due the same personal events in my life that kept me from blogging, I was unable to finish the book by the date of my tour stop. So instead I’m sharing my thoughts on what I’ve read so far!
When I first opened Down and Across, the immediate impression I got was that Scott’s voice is written just how the author sounds in real life. If you’ve ever seen any videos or interviews with Arvin, I think you might get what I mean! Arvin’s charming and friendly personality definitely appears strongly in his novel, which I loved!
The book has a unique flavor and tone that I haven’t read before. It’s quirky and fast-paced, with jumps in the storytelling that help keep Scott’s adventures very compelling.
What I love most about this book, however, is the fact that it’s a story about a teen who has literally no idea who he wants to be. Most YA books focus on teens that have immediate problems to solve—a totalitarian government that needs taking down, an evil magic force threatening to conquer the world, or even just the death of a friend or parent. But Down and Across is a story that many teens can quickly and easily relate to. Scott has no real direction in life; he finds school to be boring, he hates playing instruments, and he dreads a summer internship at a research center. Scott’s struggle to find “grit”—or the ability to stick to a greater goal in life—is something that is rarely represented in YA literature, yet is probably the biggest real-life challenge that teenagers face.
Though I haven’t finished the book to see how Scott finds his own brand of “grit,” I think a lot of people will find his story to be reflective of their own high-school experience (minus the abundance of crossword puzzles). Not to mention, Down and Across includes ownvoices Persian/Iranian representation! This part of Scott’s story adds an extra layer of depth that made his character a lot of fun to explore.
Apologies for not being able to provide a full review and rating, but I highly suggest this book for anyone that’s a fan of light-hearted contemporaries that feature important themes, such as Everything, Everything or To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before!
About the Author
Arvin Ahmadi was born and raised in Northern Virginia. He graduated from Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn. Down and Across is his first novel.
Follow the Tour
2/5 – Serial Bibliophile – Bookstagram Post and Social Media Post
2/6 – The Desert Bibliophile – Review
2/7 – Thousand Unread Pages – Review
2/8 – Bookfoolery – Review
2/12 – Book Princess – Author Guest Post: if Arvin had Fiona and the professor of success as his sidekick, what would he do in New York for a weekend.
2/13 – SaniyaWalu – Creative Video
2/14 – Lost in a Story – Review
2/15 – A Bronx Latina Reads – Review
2/19 – Gabriella M Reads – Review
2/20 – Book Review Temple – Review & Author Skype Interview
2/21 – Pen and Parchment – Review
2/22 – Reading with Wrin – Review
Have you read Down and Across? What are some of your favorite YA contemporaries that involve mischief and adventure?
Thanks to Penguin Teen for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!