Title: Down and Across
Author: Arvin Ahmadi
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Down and Across was our book club’s pick for August, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it or not. But I also didn’t want to go to book club for the third month in a row without reading the book. So, after I was finished with Summer of Salt, I decided to throw my hesitation into the wind and read it. I was very pleasantly surprised! This might be Arvin Ahmadi’s debut novel, but I’m really hoping that it won’t be his last! A story of grit, rebellion, risks, humor and heart, I loved Down and Across! Hilarious, tender, daring and smart, I loved Down and Across, and I will never forget Saaket Fedorwsi, or his crazy, unexpected trip across Washington DC. One of my favorite books of the year for sure!
Saakat ‘Scott’ Fedorwsi has tried many things in his seventeen years, but the only thing he’s really been good at is quitting. His novel he wanted to write only has three chapters, and the summer internship that his father signed him up for only lasted a week. His best friends seem to have everything figured out, while he himself can’t commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a specific passion. With college application time approaching rapidly, his parents, loving but strict, pressure him to get serious and settle on a career path that will guarantee success. Desperate for help, Scott flees to Washington DC to seek guidance from a psychology professor who specializes in grit, the science of success. He never expects a one day trip to turn into a rollicking adventure. But that’s exactly what happens when he meets Fiora Buchanan, an impulsive and ballsy college student whose dream is to write crossword puzzles. Soon he finds himself sneaking into bars, attempting to pick up girls at the National Zoo, and even trying to write crossword puzzles himself. In the process, his eyes are opened to who he really is and what he wants to be.
This book was such a hilarious and thoughtful surprise! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really loved it; Scott snuck up on me and held my heart in his hands as I read! The pacing was breakneck, and I was captivated by Scott’s hilarious, honest voice. I was laughing, crying, and cheering, and his character development was wonderful; I stayed up last night so I could finish it before book club on Thursday night. I loved him, especially considering that he was an Iranian-American. Diverse books for the win, forever! I also really enjoyed the other characters, especially Fiora, Trent, Scott’s parents, the lovely (not) Jeanette, Benji, and Fiora’s quirky group of crossword authors. I really liked seeing Washington DC through Scott’s eyes, and all I can do now is hope that I can see it with my own someday! The ending was really nice, too: It was really true to life. Bittersweet, funny, and heartfelt, I loved Down and Across, and it has become one of my favorite books of 2018! I can’t wait to see what Ahmadi has in store next! The bottom line: A tender, hilarious coming of age story full of grit, heart, and humor, I loved Down and Across! My first book from Arvin Ahmadi and definitely not my last! Next on deck: Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Penelope Bagieu!