As soon as it was announced, Down and Across easily became one of my most anticipated reads for 2018. I had a lot of rare moments regarding this book, especially since it is that ONE BOOK where I actually read the summary at the back. Then I cried, because ninjas began cutting onions. Kidding aside, I cried because at that very moment (believe me, I had the chills) I was feeling the exact same thing. EVERY STANZA OF THE SUMMARY hitting me like a pile of bricks. Just change ‘college applications’ to ‘company’ and we’re good to go. Actually, the comparison doesn’t stop there. Soon you’ll see that Scott’s story actually parallels many of our teenage dilemmas.
So when JM from Book Freak Revelations asked me if I wanted to join the tour for this book, I SAID YES immediately. No questions asked. I was too psyched to read it and I practically flailed because “HELLO I AM JUST ABOUT TO READ ONE OF MY MOST ANTICIPATED READ FOR 2018 EARLY. HOW LUCKY CAN I GET?” Forgive my random fangirling. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Author: Arvin Ahmadi
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Age Bracket: Young Adult
Date Published: 6th of February 2018
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
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 hardly commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a passion.
With college applications looming, Scott’s parents pressure him to get serious and settle on 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.
Fangirl council: Raise your hand if you have been totally smitten by Scott “Saaket” Ferdowsi.
You see, Down and Across is a wonderful gem. You read and in one way or another, you see yourself. After reading the story, I was keeping myself from screaming at the author himself. I seriously couldn’t contain myself because:
- I was contemplating if a flight to America is possible, just so I could personally hug Arvin Ahmadi for all the feels.
- Is Scott Ferdowsi real and if so, is he reachable by any means?
- This book is scarily accurate with all the feelings I thought I was messed up to think about.
If I have to describe this book with using only one word, it would have to be: GRITTY. Scott made a decision that would make an impact on his life forever, by taking a risk and going to Washington, DC. He wants to find something he wants to be gritty about, and his adventures took it to another level. Now before you expect something, honestly it’s not grand if you think about it but it is one of a kind. There’s just thrill in the unknown because it works in mysterious ways. Down and Across knows what it wants to be, and it easily became a book solely about a boy who wants something to be passionate about in his life. As we go along through his journey, his thoughts were still profound and fascinating. The ‘puzzled’ teen that he is (yes, I know! Pun score!), he makes the absolute sense. And even with the array of characters, the focus remains on Scott, and how his character grows as a person through every unknown thrown at him. Fiora, who is unpredictable and witty. Dr. Cecilly Mallard, who piques Scott’s interest with grit. Trent, Fiora’s best friend and best guy in the whole world. And many more who are equally hilarious and horrible at the same time. *winks*
A runner-up word would have to be: RELATABLE. It was easy to relate to Scott on so many levels. Case in point: Parents who want the best for you but are very strict on what “the best” is? Check. Friends who know what they want to be? Check. Feeling like you’re not good, the best, because you’re not even sure if you want to do it all? CHECK. See my point? His journey alone remind us how we strive to find what to be gritty about. Why you even try and find yourself in the process. There’s this tiny bit of each and everyone in Scott. He just gets you and he will get you. This is the reason why you would want to tag along with him (and maybe in the process will make you think as well).
Last word to describe it would have to be: IMPORTANT. Arvin Ahmadi has truly delivered a must-read for young adults and basically anyone was has felt lost and out of the zone. A heart-gripping, truly fascinating, and unforgivably gritty coming-of-age story awaits you. I cannot state enough that this book has captured my heart with its honest writing and amazing male lead. I can already imagine myself fangirling over his next book.
(Know more about my rating system here.)
Arvin Ahmadi grew up outside Washington, DC. He graduated from Columbia
University and has worked in the tech industry. When he’s not reading or writing
books, he can be found watching late-night talk show interviews and editing
Wikipedia pages. Down and Across is his first novel.
Connect with Arvin!
Up for grabs! An ARC of Down and Across, and it’s open internationally!
Again, huge thanks to JM from Book Freak Revelations for giving me the chance to review this oh-so lovely book. Hugs and fist pumps to Penguin Random House for providing copies for the tour. You guys are the absolute best.
What contemporary novel inspired you to be gritty?