Down and Across
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.

Down and Across Details

TitleDown and Across
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherViking Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139780425289877
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Coming Of Age

Down and Across Review

  • Emma Giordano
    January 1, 1970
    This was a really cute YA contemporary novel. I would recommend it especially to high school teens who are struggling to find their path post-graduation.CW: racism, assaultI feel a good way to describe Down and Across is a John Green novel, but less pretentious and idealistic. (That’s not to say John Green hasn’t written fantastic novels, as well.) This novel strikes the correct balance between quirky adventures and real teen issues. It’s fun and unique, but also captures the stress and pressure This was a really cute YA contemporary novel. I would recommend it especially to high school teens who are struggling to find their path post-graduation.CW: racism, assaultI feel a good way to describe Down and Across is a John Green novel, but less pretentious and idealistic. (That’s not to say John Green hasn’t written fantastic novels, as well.) This novel strikes the correct balance between quirky adventures and real teen issues. It’s fun and unique, but also captures the stress and pressures that plague high schoolers everywhere. My favorite element of the novel is particularly the exploration of insecurity related to one’s future and the feeling of being left behind by your peers’s paths. Honestly, this is not something I ever experienced but it felt so true to the pressures of others. I believe it would be hard to struggle with your own future plans and not relate to Scott’s journey.I really enjoyed Scott as a main character. He felt very grounded in reality with his impulsiveness, his vulnerability, his reactions, his fears, etc. I immensely enjoyed reading from the perspective of an Iranian-American protagonist (woohoo for #ownvoices representation!) with all of the references to the culture he has grown up in. I think Scott is very relatable for so many reasons which is what made his narration so enjoyable for me. I will say, I vehemently disliked Fiora. She felt very “manic-pixie dream girl” to start, and I am happy to say her character does gain depth along the story, but I could not stand her. She is reckless, selfish, and causes problems for everyone around her. Her carelessness and pettiness is not endearing and I really struggled with her character. On the bright side, Trent is a sweet, soft boy and he deserves all of his dreams to come true.Overall, I thoroughly had a good time reading Down and Across. I think it is a great read for those struggling to find their purpose, or even just for those who are looking for an interesting YA story. I wouldn’t say the plot is necessarily the most realistic, but the characterization was fabulous. I will definitely be reading Arvin Ahmadi’s future works!!
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  • Adam Silvera
    January 1, 1970
    Official blurb: "Arvin Ahmadi's voice will be a dynamic entry into YA literature. DOWN AND ACROSS is a thrilling game-changer that touches on the universal journey of self-discovery with a deft hand and riotous humor." I really love this spirited story of grit and self-discovery where failures are respected as a part of life. And the main character Scott is a total charmer and the DC cast of characters all struck me with either wonder or adoration (and in one case, TOTAL LOATHING, omg, THIS CHAR Official blurb: "Arvin Ahmadi's voice will be a dynamic entry into YA literature. DOWN AND ACROSS is a thrilling game-changer that touches on the universal journey of self-discovery with a deft hand and riotous humor." I really love this spirited story of grit and self-discovery where failures are respected as a part of life. And the main character Scott is a total charmer and the DC cast of characters all struck me with either wonder or adoration (and in one case, TOTAL LOATHING, omg, THIS CHARACTER was THE WORST and you'll know who it was). Hope you check out this wonderful debut!
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  • may ❀
    January 1, 1970
    can you imagine i was already buddy reading two books and i thought it was a good idea to pick up another book??? truly amazing.anyways, this was alright, i didn't really see much of a plot going on tho i did appreciate the diversity and friendship and the realistic ending (v impressed by that btw) but the book itself just lacked content imo3 stars!!
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  • Rachel Strolle
    January 1, 1970
    Across1. Amazing3. Wonderful4. I loved itDown2. Yes5. You should read it6. Thanks for asking
  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    When a book is blurbed by Adam Silvera, the man behind the spectacular, rip-your-heart-out They Both Die at the End, you know it's going to be good...no, wait, I take that back...not just good excellent. As it turns out, Down and Across is indeed excellent. It's the kind of book that reminds me just how wonderful contemporary YA can be. Down and Across is smart, quirky, and incredibly charming. Down and Across introduces us to Scott Ferdowsi. Scott can't seem to follow through on anything - musi When a book is blurbed by Adam Silvera, the man behind the spectacular, rip-your-heart-out They Both Die at the End, you know it's going to be good...no, wait, I take that back...not just good excellent. As it turns out, Down and Across is indeed excellent. It's the kind of book that reminds me just how wonderful contemporary YA can be. Down and Across is smart, quirky, and incredibly charming. Down and Across introduces us to Scott Ferdowsi. Scott can't seem to follow through on anything - music, writing, internships, etc. He's the ultimate quitter much to his father's dismay. Scott is the character for anyone who seem to never measure up to their parent's wishes, who can't seem to find their "thing" in life no matter how hard they try. This is what makes Scott so incredibly relatable and likable, in my opinion. It's been a while since I've been in high school, but I can remember so clearly not having any idea of what I wanted to do, changing my mind everyday just as Scott does in this book. Therefore, seeing his journey in this book struck a chord in me - I could easily slip into his shoes and understand what he was feeling. It's also important to add that Scott isn't lazy - he's more ambitious than he thinks, especially when it comes to his journey on finding his "grit." I'm a strong believer on how one experience, or summer in this case, can change everything, and that's exactly what happens here. Scott finds his purpose, and he kicks a$$. Besides Scott, Down and Across offers up such a wonderful cast of characters. Fiora, for instance, is wild and reckless. I've never seen someone love cross words as much as she does. Additionally, I enjoyed seeing the role she plays in Scott's summer. She inspires him to do crazy things - some of which he most certainly shouldn't do - but she makes him more well rounded because of it, someone who'd rather go on adventure than sit around. More importantly, I appreciated that Fiora wasn't perfect. She dealt with her own setbacks in this book, some of which broke my heart, but at the end of the day, she's just someone who won't let the bad get her down - she's just on to her next adventure. I also came to love Rick, Fiora's best friend and Scott's constant savior. Rick's view on politics was heartwarming, and I loved seeing him hone his passions in this. This boy definitely do what his "grit" was! At its core, Down and Across is a coming-of-age: Scott goes to Washington, DC on a whim and finds himself. First of all, I LOVED the DC setting. DC is a city that will always have my heart, and I loved that Arvin included so many real restaurants/venues within Down and Across's pages! Additionally, I loved the crossword application to life. It truly was the perfect metaphor, and better yet, I loved that actual crosswords were included in the book. I also enjoyed how this book shows the ups and downs to growing up. Scott experiences the good and bad in DC. He makes life long friends, finds his "grit," learns to live on his own, but he also experiences hate, a bad relationship, and the consequences of lying. It made for an interesting read. Also, the epilogue? I don't think I've ever been happier with an epilogue! I loved how everything ended - it was the perfect mix of closure and openness. So in summary: Buy (or borrow!) Down and Across. Read it. And (hopefully!) love it (and come back and tell me!). Arvin is a fantastic new voice in YA. I'll be the first in line to buy his second book! Grade: A+
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  • Hazel (Stay Bookish)
    January 1, 1970
    Visit Stay Bookish for more book reviews! Crossword Clues Note: All bold words with an asterisk* is a synonym of the corresponding word in the puzzle."These days it feels like every step I take is setting me up for the rest of my life." Across 2. Down and Across is wonderful* and I absolutely enjoyed the story and characters!3. It's surprising how Ahmadi's words just jump at you and tug at your heartstrings. But gosh, Scott's search for true grit was so inspiring*. And his Dad's reaction to Sco Visit Stay Bookish for more book reviews! Crossword Clues Note: All bold words with an asterisk* is a synonym of the corresponding word in the puzzle."These days it feels like every step I take is setting me up for the rest of my life." Across 2. Down and Across is wonderful* and I absolutely enjoyed the story and characters!3. It's surprising how Ahmadi's words just jump at you and tug at your heartstrings. But gosh, Scott's search for true grit was so inspiring*. And his Dad's reaction to Scott running away? So touching*, I almost cried."Our lives aren't so different from a crossword puzzle, sure. But the thing about life is we don't get to draw the grid; we take the rows and columns that we're given. Our bodies, parents, mental issues, all that. What we do get to do is fill the cells... I can live with my downs and acrosses; I accept the larger truths of my life. But I don't take the cells so seriously."7. I honestly was uncertain* where the plot was going and what events would happen next but I was too engaged in Scott's life to care. I actually found the story quite fast-paced or maybe that was just because I devoured it so easily.10. The comical* banter between Scott, Fiora, and Trent was precious. Their dynamics were so energetic and entertaining.11. Down and Across has a Persian/Muslim MC as well as a variety* of Christian, gay, and depressed/anxious characters.13. I loved how vivid each character was and how each of them had their own idiosyncrasies*"Failure isn't permanent. Grit is the ability to learn and fail and learn some more. That ability is fluid, not fixed. You have the power to change."15. Down and Across is a meaningful* story, fluent* in expressing universal feelings and emotion.16. The characters are incredibly genuine* and for real flawed. No one was pretentious, except maybe Jeanette and Benji, though they were bona fide jerks. Scott and Fiora just didn't see that immediately."You're obsessed with tomorrow, when the only shit you have control over is today, right now." Down 1. Oh my god, Scott Ferdowsi's voice was so delightful* and I loved it so much.4. I loved the spirit* of the book and admired Scott's tenacity* and perseverance* as he convinced Professor Mallard to show him the secret to success in life.5. At first, I worried about Fiora's portrayal as spontaneous and adventurous but I shouldn't have because Down and Across' characters are really well grounded* and unromanticized. In fact, Down and Across doesn't have a big epic love story. Just an epic journey."No one fully understands the universe. It's incomplete. But we care about it anyway. We have to persist."6. It was so easy to connect* with the need to escape from parental and career pressure.8. Ahmadi's electrifying* voice is perfect for YA. His debut novel is refreshing and splendid and gosh, I can't wait* to read more from him!9. Filled with smart* characters who exude sparkling energy and wit, Down and Across is a profoundly fantastic debut."Two steps forward, one back. Five forward, twelve back. Left, right, diagonal, down, across, and right back around the block. We're all just trying to keep moving. Sometimes we know where we're going and sometimes we get lost. But as long as we move, we grow."12. The way Scott's story tackles life and growth is incredibly sincere* and full of heart.14. I was grinning so hard as I kept on reading. I loved reading about Scott's adventures in DC. Most of his interactions and observations were totally hilarious* and I laughed a lot! Answer Key
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  • YA Wednesdays
    January 1, 1970
    An outstanding debut novel. Can't wait to gush about it next week on First Reads Friday.
  • Shereen Lee
    January 1, 1970
    2.5/5 (formerly 3)A solid, cute read! I loved the character development and sheer relatability of all the characters. I liked that each person clearly had their own unique personality traits, and even though some elements seemed overplayed (teenage kid in existential crisis is inspired by gruff mentor, finds Meaning Of Life!) To be honest, for books with this type of plot I would recommend The Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan over this one, but can't hurt to read Down and Across to tide you over 2.5/5 (formerly 3)A solid, cute read! I loved the character development and sheer relatability of all the characters. I liked that each person clearly had their own unique personality traits, and even though some elements seemed overplayed (teenage kid in existential crisis is inspired by gruff mentor, finds Meaning Of Life!) To be honest, for books with this type of plot I would recommend The Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan over this one, but can't hurt to read Down and Across to tide you over until June, when Callahan's book comes out! ;)It's a feel-good novel with a lot of unrealistic elements. The book had a plot element regarding mental illness at one point and I thought that there would be some interesting discourse on depression/anxiety: nope. It was skimmed over in the end, which was disappointing. MC basically went like, "aw jeez thank god I don't have mental illness Those People must have it so bad" and forgot about it, which was like....?? Okay... The event itself seemed kind of to caricature people with mental illness, though I won't go into details. I'm not sure whether or not my sentiments are too touchy, but it made me kind of uncomfortable either way.Otherwise, learning about crossword subculture was interesting. This book is a little forgettable, but I enjoyed it.
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  • Denise St Pierre
    January 1, 1970
    2.5/5This was...okay? Funny, smart, and a little moving, but all in spurts. I didn't feel like it came together cohesively enough to make for a truly memorable read. I'm a huge fan of crosswords, so I was really hoping that I would connect with this one, but it felt like an assemblage of quirks that didn't quite make a complete cast of characters. Despite Scott's insistence that he didn't see Fiora as some kind of MPDG (yes, I know...I don't love the term), her actions spoke louder than his word 2.5/5This was...okay? Funny, smart, and a little moving, but all in spurts. I didn't feel like it came together cohesively enough to make for a truly memorable read. I'm a huge fan of crosswords, so I was really hoping that I would connect with this one, but it felt like an assemblage of quirks that didn't quite make a complete cast of characters. Despite Scott's insistence that he didn't see Fiora as some kind of MPDG (yes, I know...I don't love the term), her actions spoke louder than his words. If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, etc. Fiora was the kind of person who meddles in other peoples' lives for fun, then shrugs when things go to shit. I did enjoy her helping Scott open up, but despite all the proclamations that it wasn't the case, it felt like the generic "quirky girl helps introverted guy open up to the world and its possibilities." (view spoiler)[She even conveniently disappears at the end, having touched Scott's life just enough to move on. While I am glad there was no forced romance between the two, it still felt a bit convenient to have Fiora disappear from Scott's life forever after teaching him how to LIVE. (hide spoiler)] I think that if the plot had been a bit tighter, I would have enjoyed this more. I was never afraid that Scott would be found out, because the stakes of his parents discovering his lies always felt low. The storyline with Jeannette was just annoying...there was no discernible reason that Scott should have ever gone out on even a second date with her, but he did for the sake of the plot. The "climax" wasn't entirely satisfying because it was solving a problem that had only just been created...BY THE CHARACTERS THEMSELVES. I felt like I was reading a bunch of separate novels -- one about a cruciverbalist, one about a young man discovering himself in DC, one about a young man strong-arming his way into an internship with a professor who has secrets of her own, one about a young gay man from the South wanting to make an impact in DC. I do think Ahmadi has a ton of potential -- his writing is quick and his humor is sharp. I would love to see a novel from him with a bit more depth of plot and characters that I can really sink my teeth into. But this is a fun and fast read, and made me want to visit DC again!
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  • Erin Glover
    January 1, 1970
    Maybe it's because I coincidentally read three books with Persian protagonists in a row, but this novel did not move me. The writing seems to be at a third of fourth grade level so I was insulted. The themes are not left to figure out--they are spelled out by the author. Teen readers are not dumb. The down and across is a cute literary device but it doesn't work. The author is a bit lazy writing "suddenly" repeatedly and things like "we laughed tremendously." The protagonist is often trying hard Maybe it's because I coincidentally read three books with Persian protagonists in a row, but this novel did not move me. The writing seems to be at a third of fourth grade level so I was insulted. The themes are not left to figure out--they are spelled out by the author. Teen readers are not dumb. The down and across is a cute literary device but it doesn't work. The author is a bit lazy writing "suddenly" repeatedly and things like "we laughed tremendously." The protagonist is often trying hard to suppress a smile. What happened to show, don't tell? At one point, the protagonist describes an office like this: "It was a cramped and messy space...nay, it was a disaster zone." What teenager says "nay?"And he feels a storm brewing in someone else's eyes. How is that possible? Especially when he can't see the someone.This is the story of Scott, real name Saaket, who runs away from home and a boring research internship while his parents are in Iran for a month, to meet his mentor Cecily Mallard. Mallard does research on grit and Scott doesn't have any. He meets the stereotypical wild child Fiora who takes him on adventures through D.C. He gets entangled in her affair with her professor, and her friendship with a bartender. His one night adventure lasts the entire month, through a bicycle chase that lands him in the hospital and to a job at the bar. Fiora is an avid cruciverbalist, and ends up getting one of her crossword puzzles published in the NYT. But she has problems. So does Trent, the bartender. So does Mallard. The month is full of fun. Reading the novel is kind of like watching TV. You don't have to think.The ending is anti-climactic. I was angry I read that far. Yes, Scott changed, he was transformed by his one-month adventure. The fact that he has Persian ancestry, that his parents are in Iran, has nothing to do with the story. There is no discrimination, no immigration problems, nothing. The author could have done better.
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  • Immacolata
    January 1, 1970
    i saw Sabaa Tahir posting about this on Instagram.the authors name is SO Iranian that my heart filled with joy and my TBR list got proud of having it in!
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book so stupid much. The characters are all so well-developed and the main character's struggle to find his future path is something all teenagers (and many adults) will relate to. Extremely necessary and timely and also laugh out loud funny.
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  • Adeeb
    January 1, 1970
    It's truly a rare and magical moment when you come across a book that speaks to you not on a few levels but in so many ways that you can't even count (ha, see what I did there?).Down and Across by debut author Arvin Ahmadi is a true gem. It is a coming-of-age story that follows Saaket (Scott) Ferdowsi, a high school student who is trying to figure out what to do over the summer. Sounds like every other story, right? WRONG.What Arvin Ahmadi does so well in his novel is that he introduces a main c It's truly a rare and magical moment when you come across a book that speaks to you not on a few levels but in so many ways that you can't even count (ha, see what I did there?).Down and Across by debut author Arvin Ahmadi is a true gem. It is a coming-of-age story that follows Saaket (Scott) Ferdowsi, a high school student who is trying to figure out what to do over the summer. Sounds like every other story, right? WRONG.What Arvin Ahmadi does so well in his novel is that he introduces a main character who's different than the usual protagonists of usual contemporary books. Scott is an Iranian-American Muslim character. How cool is that? So, before anything happens, you have a character stuck between two worlds, two cultures. The way Ahmadi handled this was totally impeccable. You could tell that Scott was heavily inspired by the author himself.Scott is stuck between his parents' expectations of him, and between what he wants. The problem is, he doesn't really know what he want. He always starts on projects but never ends up completing them. It's that first push that gets him going, but quickly the enthusiasm wanes away. That happens to all of us, doesn't it?Then, Scott decides to take upon an adventure and goes to meet a professor in a completely new city, all on his own. Brave teenager. Again, he fails. But also, while at DC, he gets to meet Fiora and Trent, who by the way, are totally awesome sidekicks.Arvin Ahmadi has created a wide set of characters of different backgrounds, and he focuses a lot on developing them. None of the characters are one-dimensional, including the secondary characters. There was a great emphasis on the parents, which was quite refreshing, and quite expected in a Middle Eastern family. Trent and Fiora are great additions. Even though they are strangers to Scott, they develop a connection with each other. You know how they say that teenagers speak a universal language? Maybe that's true, because you don't really have to know the other person so well to bond with them.My favorite part about the book, however, was Scott's thoughts. Scott is a flawed character, and he is aware of his insecurities. He uses his insecurities to drive himself forward. I particularly loved that Scott was Muslim, but he made mistakes all the time. He might have done stuff that didn't complement his religion, things that disappointed his parents, and even acted rashly in several situations, but at the end of the day, he fueled himself to become grittier.Down and Across resonated with me for more reasons than I can list, but one thing about it is that I connected to this book on a very deep level. Many of Scott's struggles have been mine, and they continue to be. Scott's monologues, especially, took me off guard. Sometimes I reflect upon the same things when I'm by myself, and seeing that representation was just truly, utterly beautiful.Here's a last message to Mr. Arvin Ahmadi:I might not know you personally, but this book has been my absolute highlight of the year so far. You have voiced and represented real-life experiences of people all over the world through Scott's story. It might sound cliche, but you have touched my heart through Scott's story. Because of this profound work of art, I have further learned things about myself, and whatever comes from now onward will be my journey to become grittier. Thank you for showing me that no dream is worthless, and that you can find beauty, inspiration, passion, and your dreams in the most mundane places.Oh, and guess what? "Gritty" is my new favorite word.In conclusion, if there's one contemporary book that you want to read this year, it's got to be Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi. It is poignant, powerful, and profound. Down and Across is a book of empathy that is very much needed in today's world.P.S. It comes with a crossword puzzle at the end, which you don't want to miss out on.
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  • Gray Cox
    January 1, 1970
    First off, the Iranian rep was amazing! I loved reading about Saaket (Scott) and his family dynamics, it was interesting and I learned a lot. I could relate to Scott's uncertainty of the future, and his quest for grit is wonderful in this book.I only wish the side characters didn't feel so flat, particularly Fiora, who Scott actually compares to a two-dimensional quirky girl character in a book (it seems the book was self-aware of how well Fiora fell into that trope). Overall, this was a cute an First off, the Iranian rep was amazing! I loved reading about Saaket (Scott) and his family dynamics, it was interesting and I learned a lot. I could relate to Scott's uncertainty of the future, and his quest for grit is wonderful in this book.I only wish the side characters didn't feel so flat, particularly Fiora, who Scott actually compares to a two-dimensional quirky girl character in a book (it seems the book was self-aware of how well Fiora fell into that trope). Overall, this was a cute and fun read!
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  • Syndi
    January 1, 1970
    i like doing crossword puzzle on sunday morning. during my breakfast and my me time. filling out the puzzle based on the clue given. this book is like a cross word puzzle. but without the clue how to fill it out. so i fel like i am staring at blank pages. DNF.
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  • Marie
    January 1, 1970
    "Down and Across was a great coming of age story I'd recommend to everyone, really. Charming, witty and really fun to read, this is also a journey about trying to find yourself and why it's okay if it takes time. If it's a work in progress, because after all, we are never entirely finished here. Arvin Ahmadi is definitely a new voice in the YA industry that I will follow for a while because, if that's his debut, then the rest of the stories he has to tell promises to be really, really good."Full "Down and Across was a great coming of age story I'd recommend to everyone, really. Charming, witty and really fun to read, this is also a journey about trying to find yourself and why it's okay if it takes time. If it's a work in progress, because after all, we are never entirely finished here. Arvin Ahmadi is definitely a new voice in the YA industry that I will follow for a while because, if that's his debut, then the rest of the stories he has to tell promises to be really, really good."Full review coming soon on the blog :)
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  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    I picked this up because it seemed like a fun, whirlwind adventure about discovering yourself even you find yourself filled with uncertainty about your future. I think trying to answer the age-old question, "What do you want to do with your life" is a very universal concept that so many people young and old can relate to. Even well into my twenties, I still relate very deeply to feeling lost and misguided, which is why I instantly gravitated toward this novel and saw it as having a lot of potent I picked this up because it seemed like a fun, whirlwind adventure about discovering yourself even you find yourself filled with uncertainty about your future. I think trying to answer the age-old question, "What do you want to do with your life" is a very universal concept that so many people young and old can relate to. Even well into my twenties, I still relate very deeply to feeling lost and misguided, which is why I instantly gravitated toward this novel and saw it as having a lot of potential.Unfortunately, this book just let me down so hard, and the number one reason for that is the fact that the entire plot revolves around the dreaded Manic Pixie Dream Girl dynamic. Like, the novel follows this overused, seen-in-every-indie-film-ever formula to a T: Male Protagonist feels lost and directionless about his life. Sets off on his own adventure, leaving his town and life behind. Instantly meets "quirky" impulsive girl with "weird" interests, who sets herself apart as not being like everyone else. Quirky Girl then decides that Male Protagonist needs to live more and takes it upon herself to be his guide, involving him in spontaneous antics that he never would have done before he met her.All together now: UGGGGHHHI just hate this trope so much because it's been done so many times before, different characters, different movies, but the same formula regurgitated over and over and over again. And this is basically what happens in this novel. Scott can't commit to anything in his future. He has no idea what he wants to do with his life, and his parents are beginning to really pressure him to just choose something and stick with it. Frustrated, he leaves town while they're away visiting family back in Iran, and ends up in D.C. with this girl who he met on the Greyhound. And... they sort of just stay in D.C. and get up to all these antics and have a good time? And that's it, really. That's the whole plot, which is another reason I just couldn't get into this book, because nothing else really happens? They go to quirky bars and hangout spots, they bond over crosswords—which apparently is soooo unique and makes Fiora Interesting with a capital I, even though literally so many people like crosswords??—and Scott continues to avoid planning his future by hanging out with Fiora and bopping around town.As if it wasn't obvious enough, I also just couldn't stand Fiora as a character at all. Just like with the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Fiora just wasn't a very good person? She's very brash and says whatever is on her mind, even when it's incredibly sexist or racist or just plain not socially acceptable, like calling another girl a slut or making fun of Scott's Farsi name. Because of this, she just came across as extremely immature and ignorant to me. Oh, but it's fine because she's quirky and that's just who she is! Everyone around her just so easily accepts that that's Fiora, which is honestly so irritating that they all place her on this pedestal that I quite frankly didn't think she deserved. And by extension, Scott also really annoyed me in this book for continuing to idolize her and want her attention and getting jealous of her boyfriend because he doesn't deserve her (Ughhh!) even though time and time again she proves that she's not a mature, likable person but is incredibly impulsive and destructive and petty and takes advantage of people and never thinks about the consequences of her actions. Like, literally, why do you like her!?!?!All in all, I simply did not think that this book was very original at all but a carbon copy of SO many movies and books I've consumed before, based off of a trope that I absolutely cannot stand. If I had to get really specific, I would say that Down and Across is trying really hard to be a John Green book.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    This is an *excellent* John Green alike, filled with a cast of diverse characters of color and sexuality. So often, I see the "if readers like John Green" tossed onto any contemporary YA, but this one actually takes so many of the elements of his books and does them similarly without being the same. But more, I think Ahmadi wrote a book for teens with real teen voices that tones down the Philosophical Deepness without taking away from the fact teenagers can be damn smart.This is a book about an This is an *excellent* John Green alike, filled with a cast of diverse characters of color and sexuality. So often, I see the "if readers like John Green" tossed onto any contemporary YA, but this one actually takes so many of the elements of his books and does them similarly without being the same. But more, I think Ahmadi wrote a book for teens with real teen voices that tones down the Philosophical Deepness without taking away from the fact teenagers can be damn smart.This is a book about an Iranian-American boy who doesn't want to do everything his parents want for him. Instead...he wants to find his way on his own. This might involve running away from his responsibilities, learning how to write crossword puzzles, and sneaking onto Georgetown's campus to meet with a professor who researches grit. Grit, Scott reasons, is something he lacks and thinks might help him figure out his life.As you can piece together, it is grit that gets Scott to that place. A solid debut. I'm eager to read more of Ahmadi's books. This is a small thing but one I ended up loving a lot: Khaled Hosseini blurbs the book, and I wondered why. It makes sense on many levels, but Hosseini as a writer -- and his life experiences outside his work in writing -- plays a role in the book and more specifically, plays a huge role in Scott's own adventure. It was a really nice tie-in.
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  • Kelsey
    January 1, 1970
    3.75You should read this book if you like:Diverse YA fiction, coming of age stories, cruciverbalists, Washington, D.C. adventures, questioning your place in the world, multipotentialites, beautiful slippery-pickle crossword girls, grabbing life by the balls
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  • Shelumiel Delos Santos
    January 1, 1970
    *Actual rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars*I received a review copy from the publisher which in no way swayed my opinion about the work.Smart, funny and exceedingly relatable, Down and Across is a solid debut from YA newcomer Arvin Ahmadi.It centers on sixteen-year-old Iranian-American Scott Ferdowsi who doesn't quite know what to do in life. He has tried several clubs in school and has considered and changed career paths one too many times. His strict immigrant parents want him to take things seriously *Actual rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars*I received a review copy from the publisher which in no way swayed my opinion about the work.Smart, funny and exceedingly relatable, Down and Across is a solid debut from YA newcomer Arvin Ahmadi.It centers on sixteen-year-old Iranian-American Scott Ferdowsi who doesn't quite know what to do in life. He has tried several clubs in school and has considered and changed career paths one too many times. His strict immigrant parents want him to take things seriously and choose medicine or engineering or law, but Scott doesn't want to settle. So, the summer his parents fly to Iran to take care of an ailing grandfather, Scott quits his internship and hops on a bus to Washington, DC, where he intends to seek counsel from a Georgetown professor who specializes in grit, the psychology of passion, perseverance, and success. What Scott doesn't intend to do is to stay more than a day. Or befriend the girl she meets on the ride to DC. Or pick up another at the National Zoo. But Scott is definitely in for some adventure. And that is what's so refreshing about Down and Across, because it's at once fun and enjoyable and moving. I can't even tell you how many times I snickered or downright laughed in my commute to work. Scott is charming and funny but he doesn't make the best decisions. And that made me root for him all the more.‬In Lorde’s latest album, Melodrama, she has a track that goes, “You asked if I was feeling it, I’m psycho high / Know you won’t remember in the morning when I speak my mind / Lights are on and they’ve gone home, but who am I?” And my reading experience with Ahmadi's novel reminded me of those lines. Only Lorde will take her hangover as an opportunity for existential reflection. And she does this with such eloquence. Just as how Ahmadi takes up this conversational tone and somehow manages to drive home and capture articulately the anxieties of growing up and not knowing what it is you want. The way he commands his words, his every clever turn of phrase, Ahmadi has a pinpoint-sharp awareness of voice.The author said in an NPR interview that it was important for him to represent not just diversity of skin color or culture but a diversity of interests and backgrounds. And that, to me, translates really well into the pages because the cast of characters Scott meets in DC is just as colorful and diverse in terms of experiences and personalities, which is reminiscent of another debut that came out a couple of years back—David Arnold's Mosquitoland. Fiora is this seemingly manic pixie dream girl who turns out to be flawed. I love how Scott doesn't romanticize her. He gets mad at her. He calls out her bs. There's Trent. Oh Trent. He is such a pure person. The world needs more Trents! Jeanette, meanwhile, is whatever. She's infuriating, but her actions make sense. She's obviously wrong and there's no reality where I'd agree with her but she's very firm with her values and acts accordingly and you have to appreciate that. Then there are Scott's parents, who want what's best for him even though they don't necessarily know what that means. There's this one scene where Scott phones his dad and I totally lost it.I'm obviously stoked that we're getting more representation in literature and cinema—especially in the young adult community—where the narrative is leaning towards "issues" and talking about the experience of a person from a specific marginalized race or cultural background. But at the same time I'm delighted that we're seeing this other dialogue where the protagonist's skin color isn't directly linked to the plot. And Down and Across—along with Jasmine Warga's sophomore book Here We Are Now—is such a fantastic example of this. Because these stories show us that while there's a multitude of little and significant ways in which people are different, even if we share the same culture, even if we have the same sexuality, there are also things that make us alike more than we realize. And that is so affirming.Down and Across is not a page-turner. It might not even be something you haven't seen before. But it gets me. And I’m almost positive it gets you, too.
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  • Emma Stein
    January 1, 1970
    Can't wait to read the final version, but this book is a must read for anyone hankering for a growing-up/adventure story with...crossword puzzles. Trust me on this one. You'll be remiss if you miss.
  • Mandy
    January 1, 1970
    *I received an ARC of this - thanks so much to Penguin, but it did not change my opinion in any form or way!!*This was an intriguing one. I'm a bit torn on the true rating, but this was adorable and fun and made me pretty happy at times, so I'm going with a 3.5 and raised up to four. Let's talk about Scott, first, because I really, really enjoyed him. He was fun, he was so realistic, and he really shone as a main character. Seriously, I feel like Ahmadi picked a random real life teen off the str *I received an ARC of this - thanks so much to Penguin, but it did not change my opinion in any form or way!!*This was an intriguing one. I'm a bit torn on the true rating, but this was adorable and fun and made me pretty happy at times, so I'm going with a 3.5 and raised up to four. Let's talk about Scott, first, because I really, really enjoyed him. He was fun, he was so realistic, and he really shone as a main character. Seriously, I feel like Ahmadi picked a random real life teen off the street and jumped into his mind, making him real. He had quirks, he had dynamics, he had a personality. His indecision is so relatable, and okay, maybe not all teens would decide to jump on a bus and drive away to get some grit, but this kid reminded me of myself and the panic to find, well, the big kid job and path. He is distinct, and his voice was strong and good.The side characters were fun as well. Fiora was an intriguing and her characterization was well done as well. She had little quirks and changes in her characterization and I found her enchanting. She kind of does some super questionable things that would have made me furious, but I think it worked with her characterization and it just made sense. I liked Scott's parents, and Trent was a nice addition, although he kind of just flew in and out when a problem needed solving. All of the other characters stood out and their characterization was well executed - especially their evolution like with Fiora and Jeanette. Professor Maynard didn't have a lot of layers for me, though. I expected her to be a bit more dynamic? I just wanted more from her, and I kind of forgot about her. The plot stalled a bit at times, but overall, it was entertaining. It got boring a few times (especially when it was really focused on crosswords because I wasn't feeling it AND the little biography things about grit), but it bounced back pretty quickly because this book was just so easy to read?? The pace kept going and I didn't really know where it was going but I was glad for the ride. This is just a true straight up coming of age story, and it was fun to read if you aren't looking for a book full of twists and turns and just want a good book full of evolution and growth. SEMI-SPOILER BUT NOT REALLY A SPOILER BUT YEAH, IT'S PROBABLY A SPOILER SO DON'T RED THIS: Okay, I wasn't really into the ship of Fiora and Scott because I just really loved them as friends??? Like, they were beautiful as friends, and I think this book just totally notched itself up by NOT PUTTING THEM TOGETHER AT THE END LIKE A HAPPILY EVER AFTER? It was just SO realistic, and I was all here for it. END OF SPOILER THINGS.There were a few parts that I thought got overly cheesy or didn't really excite me, but overall, this was a fun story. I think I had a few more gripes, but the characters were well done and the writing was super easy to read. This book is one of the most well done coming of age stories I've read in a long time, because it actually focuses on a journey of a likeable and realistic character. This was a super solid and enjoyable debut, and it will definitely leave you with a good feeling. There was a great amount of diversity and fun. 3.5 crowns and a Jasmine rating because she would tackle this whole new world with Scott quite wonderfully!
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  • Kim at Divergent Gryffindor
    January 1, 1970
    Scott has a hard time with sticking to his decisions. He starts things, such as his internship, but doesn't see those things through to the end. When his parents leave to go to Iran to look after his ill grandfather, Scott decides that instead of going to his internship, he's going to find Cecily Mallard, the great psychology professor who specialized on grit, the psychology of success. There, he meets Fiora, crossword enthusiast, and Trent, political aspirant. These two help him in his journey Scott has a hard time with sticking to his decisions. He starts things, such as his internship, but doesn't see those things through to the end. When his parents leave to go to Iran to look after his ill grandfather, Scott decides that instead of going to his internship, he's going to find Cecily Mallard, the great psychology professor who specialized on grit, the psychology of success. There, he meets Fiora, crossword enthusiast, and Trent, political aspirant. These two help him in his journey towards getting grittier, as well as getting more experiences in life in general. Down and Across was blurbed by some of my favorite authors - Jasmine Warga and Adam Silvera - so I had high hopes from this one. I'm glad to say that despite the high standards I've set on this book before even reading it, that it did not disappoint. Not by one bit. I connected with Scott so much because I related to him in so many ways. Born of Chinese immigrant parents, my parents are also strict and want me to focus on studies. They often forbid me to go out by myself, and growing up, I felt like I was missing so much because of it. I also felt street-stupid (the opposite of street-smart? Haha!) because of staying at home so much. In the last two years of high school, much like Scott, I had no direction in life. I didn't know what I wanted to take up after high school, while most of my friends already knew where they were headed. Because of these factors, I became all the more invested in Scott's story - how he would learn and redeem himself throughout the 300 or so pages of the book.This book showed me that self-discovery and growth happens at all ages, and with people from all walks of life, may they be students or professionals. One of my favorite scenes in this novel was how Professor Mallard broke down, and how Scott actually motivated her once more after her father's death. It showed that even one breaks down at times, but it's in how we pick ourselves up once more that shows true grit. This book also showed me that with the right push, people can get on their way once more and find themselves.The journey, growth, and self-discovery of Scott in this novel made him into a very dynamic character that grew to be one filled with potential. He learned so many things throughout this novel, and I'm so proud of him because he learned all these by experiencing various ups and downs in the novel. I'm so proud of him for finally figuring his life out, and for standing up to his beliefs. Most of all, I love this novel because it made Scott feel like a real person I know, so much so that I feel nothing but pride for him. Down and Across surprised me with how much I liked it, and I can't wait for the rest of the world to read it! It's this amazing story that I'm sure people of all ages could relate to, because everyone gets lost from time to time, right?
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    I was drawn to this book for two main reasons. First, it's about a boy who comes to DC, not knowing anyone, and ends up learning more about himself than he ever expected. I too came to DC as a stranger and learned a lot about myself in 2008. Circumstances were very different - I was an adult and had a job and apartment lined up. But I have great memories of discovering DC for the first time and enjoyed seeing the city through the eyes of the main character, Saaket. The second reason was much sim I was drawn to this book for two main reasons. First, it's about a boy who comes to DC, not knowing anyone, and ends up learning more about himself than he ever expected. I too came to DC as a stranger and learned a lot about myself in 2008. Circumstances were very different - I was an adult and had a job and apartment lined up. But I have great memories of discovering DC for the first time and enjoyed seeing the city through the eyes of the main character, Saaket. The second reason was much simpler - I'm a word nerd. The crossword puzzle theme was so much fun for me. Sometimes I struggle with YA books because I fit more into the category of "mature audience" than "young adult" and when I don't connect with the book I question if it's because I'm not the intended audience. Down and Across had a few moments where I didn't entirely buy the premise, but it didn't distract me from the book, which was a nice story. I'm sure that I would have loved it even more as a teenager. This book takes place in Washington, DC, and naturally the characters talk about politics, which can be a touchy subject these days. I'm saddened by how divisive the political climate is in the U.S. and it always seems to get worse with every new administration. For that reason I appreciate that the conflicting political views represented by the characters weren't the typical Republican vs. Democrat, but more of a conservative vs. libertarian difference of opinions. There are some stereotypical characters when it comes to political beliefs, but most people are more nuanced, as I think most of the U.S. is, and I think that's part of the charm of this book and goes back to the crossword puzzle theme - so often we try to put people in boxes to represent their world view - political beliefs, religion, sexual orientation, race, economic advantages & disadvantages, these things are not all black and white crossword-puzzle-type boxes when describing most people and to see the world that way dismisses some of the best parts of human nature. We are much more complicated than that. I like the outside-the-box thinking of this book that focuses so much on crossword puzzles.Okay, so it's not a perfect book. The kid basically ran away from home when his parents did a 180 from being controlling helicopter parents, to skipping town and leaving him on his own with a handful of cash. Running away from home may come across a bit romanticized for an impressionable young reader and it's an unlikely series of events in real life, but this isn't real life - it was fiction. And it was pretty entertaining in my opinion. Thank you to Penguin's First to read program for providing me with an advance copy for review.
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  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 4.5 StarsI love a good coming of age story, and with Down and Across I got a GREAT coming of age story.•Pro: Scott was fab-u-los! I couldn't get enough of him and his musings. Being in his head was a total treat too. Loved him! •Pro: The side characters in this book were very well crafted. From the major to the minor players, each character had something that made you give them your attention. •Pro: I loved the whole "grit" concept, and thought the short profiles on people, who Scott con Rating: 4.5 StarsI love a good coming of age story, and with Down and Across I got a GREAT coming of age story.•Pro: Scott was fab-u-los! I couldn't get enough of him and his musings. Being in his head was a total treat too. Loved him! •Pro: The side characters in this book were very well crafted. From the major to the minor players, each character had something that made you give them your attention. •Pro: I loved the whole "grit" concept, and thought the short profiles on people, who Scott considered "gritty" were so awesome. Some of the historical figures I knew a lot about, but there were others I didn't, and I was grateful to learn their stories. •Pro: I really appreciated that Ahmadi included people with all different viewpoints. There was the far right, the far left, and somewhere in-between. Lots of ideas were exchanged, and the reader is left with many things to consider. •Pro: I really like when the protagonist's cultural background plays a role in the story. Scott was first generation American, and was trying to figure out how his heritage fit into his life. I really enjoyed all the little bits about his family and their background that he shared with us. •Pro: One of Scott's biggest struggles was with his parents. He felt like they were too overprotective and that he could never live up to their standards. During his time in DC his appreciation of his parents grows and changes as he grew and changed. It was quite lovely the way Ahmadi worked this storyline. •Pro: I think so many young adults will relate to Scott. Those later years of high school can be quite a crossroads for many. As graduation looms, some decision need to be made that may affect one's future, and that struggle was explored so well in this book. •Pro: Right now I am standing and applauding the author on that stupendous ending. That's how it's done folks. I am a closure-ho, and Ahmadi gave me answers, which left me in a state of elation. Overall: This was such a wonderful coming of age story! I so enjoyed being in DC with Saaket/Scott as he searched for his "grit", and I will forever sing the praises of endings like the one Ahmadi gifted us with. I smiled so hard, tears fell out of my eyes. I will absolutely be on the look out for more books from this author.*ARC received in exchange for an honest review BLOG | INSTAGRAM | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • (a)lyss(a)
    January 1, 1970
    "He'd assert himself in all matters Fiora like he knew the girl better than she knew herself."I received a copy of this ebook from firsttoread.com in exchange for an honest review. Holy manic pixie dream girl batman! This is the kind of book that makes me wonder if I'm too old to enjoy YA. The premise is interesting - following Saaket "Scott" in his quest to develop grit but the execution didn't wow me. Scott quickly meets Fiora - the manic pixie girl of his dreams. Not only does she help him st "He'd assert himself in all matters Fiora like he knew the girl better than she knew herself."I received a copy of this ebook from firsttoread.com in exchange for an honest review. Holy manic pixie dream girl batman! This is the kind of book that makes me wonder if I'm too old to enjoy YA. The premise is interesting - following Saaket "Scott" in his quest to develop grit but the execution didn't wow me. Scott quickly meets Fiora - the manic pixie girl of his dreams. Not only does she help him stretch out his money in DC and spend it on things like underage drinking and picking up girls he's not actually interested in - she does it all for her own amusement because she's quirky! And of course she has a gay best friend, Trent, who knows Fiora better than she knows herself because she's just a girl from the South, and these characters only exist to help Scott find himself (but not really). Even Fiora's mental health is just a plot thrown in to make us feel for Scott and instead of some Looking for Alaska type revelation where Scott realizes Fiora is a real person who isn't confined to his perception of her we get her tragic backstory to give her flaws(!). Also it's really inconsistent when there are and aren't consequences for the actions of any characters in this story. I don't know what magical DC this book is based on where high school students can absolutely sneak into universities and talk famous researchers into taking them on for no money and everyone has money to burn on drinking every night but that's at least 65% of this book. That being said the crosswords included in the book were a nice touch and it's cool that the characters walk you through how to make your own. I was hoping for more substance that was disappointed. My understanding is the point of the book is (view spoiler)[the grit was in you all along! If you work hard and chase your passion you'll be fine! Also the story didn't really matter because Scott basically went home and moved on with his life with no consequences for lying to his parents or the person who he was actually supposed to intern for and writing like 3 emails to a professor made him seem like a really dedicated person instead of someone who keeps flaking on everything. (hide spoiler)] Which sort of left me wondering why that lesson couldn't have been shared in a less convoluted story.Maybe I'm just too old and disillusioned for YA but this one missed the mark for me.
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  • Bárbara
    January 1, 1970
    It's never too late to take over the steering wheel of your life. Everything works out in the long run.I can't put into words how much I loved this book. It made me laugh, it made me reflect, truly think about life, it made me cy... It was both a light read and a deep one. It was pretty well-balanced, just the way I like my stories to be. Most of all, though, it was, perhaps, exactly what I needed to read. It felt more close to home than anything I can think of that I've read lately. In this sto It's never too late to take over the steering wheel of your life. Everything works out in the long run.I can't put into words how much I loved this book. It made me laugh, it made me reflect, truly think about life, it made me cy... It was both a light read and a deep one. It was pretty well-balanced, just the way I like my stories to be. Most of all, though, it was, perhaps, exactly what I needed to read. It felt more close to home than anything I can think of that I've read lately. In this story, we follow Sakeet, who usually goes by the name Scott, in what becomes perhaps the most important quest in his life: the search for his own self. Sakeet's had his whole life planned out by his overprotective, future-obsessed parents, while struggling with the fact that, while he's 100% certain that the life his parents imagined for him isn't the life he wants, on the other hand, he's not exactly sure what alternative picture he can offer to the one his parents impose. He's young, he doesn't have it all figured out, he's not quite sure yet who he is exactly, and he's tragically clueless about what he wants to do with his life. One of the main obstacles Sakeet faces is that he's so devastatingly unmotivated by things that he's a chronic quitter: he loses interest in things as easily as he develops it. But, fear not, because another thing Sakeet has in his favor is that he's deeply aware of his own shortcomings. On that premise, Sakeet embarks on a journey in search for the precious "grit" he considers he lacks. He tracks down a specialist of sorts, and off he goes, all the way to DC; dropping yet another project he had been signed up for without him being exactly invested, trying to find his own path, on his own terms. This newfound, albeit borrowed, burst of freedom lands Sakeet with the picture of limitless possibilities, the awesome, absolute thrill of knowing that his life is, for once, at last, in his own hands- and if he's lucky, that doesn't have to change once his temporary bubble burst and he's pulled back into his real life. All he has to do is play his cards the right way to prove himself he is as capable of landing on his own two feet as anyone. With the world at his reach, and true to the nature of every journey, Sakeet picks up some valuable lessons along the way, the most important of them, probably, that it should be him and him alone the one who sets the pace and course of his life. That life isn't a one-size-fits-all kind of deal, that expectations (societal, parental, even personal) are more a guideline than the be-all, end-all. As I was saying at the beginning, it was a story that felt kind of personal cause (even though I'm almost 30 years old), I admit I still deal with the same insecurities and fears that Sakeet was dealing with throughout his journey. It was a rare thing to encounter a character I could relate to in such a deep level, but I'm even more grateful for it. This story truly gave me hope. Now, I gushed so much about the story (not even the actual plot, though, cause I think that's a journey that the reader should embark on along Sakeet, it's worth it), that I can't believe I said nothing about the characters! I'll start with Sakeet, obviously, cause he's the only character I've mentioned so far. As I said: he's super relatable. He's a young, clueless boy on the verge of adulthood, whose deep uncertainty about his future frustrates him to the point which he decides to do something wild if it means that he will be taking the reins of his own destiny at last. So, he's an admirable young man. He's also kind of awkward, self-conscious, but above all selfless, and a great friend. On his life-changing adventure he meets Fiora. And trust me, even after finishing the book I still don't quite have her figured out. I could say, however, that Fiora, the cruciverbalist, is passionate about those things and people that matter to her- and that she'd go great lengths for that which is close to her heart- and if those lengths carry her to step on- or beyond- the limits of legality, then that just adds a bit more fun to it all! Fiora and I didn't always see eye-to-eye (and sometimes she read a bit too much like those John Green-ish characters goodreads like to complain about) but hers, as a consequence of being the one that was more present, was a really well-developed character. My favorite, however, was Trent: he was sweet and cheerful, and giving and gentle and... I just have a lot of love for Trent. If Fiora was a mystery to me, regretfully, I have to say that Trent is even more so, because he was on the page a lot less (and I would have loved to see way more of him). Professor Mallard was simply a great addition, the dynamics with her and Sakeet were super enjoyable. Lastly, we saw very, very little of Sakeet's parents, so we don't know much about them: we do know they're overbearing, overprotective of their son, but that they are extremely loving, and they know to trust and have faith in their son, and will support him- which, honestly, is a lot more than some parents would offer, so it would be a no-brainer to put up with some of the downsides to having parents like them, if they were balanced with those other qualities. What I liked the most about the parents' depiction, though, was that Sakeet (while he could have had *some* reason to paint it in a more negative, grumpy-teenage light) was extremely just and understanding. That also speaks of a dynamics that's super healthy- which, honestly, in YA is something that's widely needed and therefore welcome. All in all, this story was charming and fun and delightful to read; but also deep and moving. It was pretty much what I was needing to read, and I'm glad I got to read it, cause I can tell it will have a special place in my heart. Sakeet is truly an inspiring character and I would love for many, many readers to get to know him and his story. We're all just trying to keep moving. Sometimes we know where we are going and sometimes we get lost. But as long as we move, we grow.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Down and Across is your classic coming of age story. I loved the protagonist Scott (Saaket), who is trying to figure out what he wants from life.This book reminded me of Mosquitoland in some ways: the adventure is about the journey. What I think this book struggled with was weaving in the big moments with the small. There's a build-up to some Changes with a capital C for Scott, but the path to get there was slow and mundane at times. I wanted to truly love and root for him, Trent and Fiora, but Down and Across is your classic coming of age story. I loved the protagonist Scott (Saaket), who is trying to figure out what he wants from life.This book reminded me of Mosquitoland in some ways: the adventure is about the journey. What I think this book struggled with was weaving in the big moments with the small. There's a build-up to some Changes with a capital C for Scott, but the path to get there was slow and mundane at times. I wanted to truly love and root for him, Trent and Fiora, but I felt like I got little bites instead of true taste of their personalities. This book is good for fans of John Green and David Arnold. I'll be watching this author's career for sure.
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  • Alexis Jackson
    January 1, 1970
    I think Arvin Ahmadi, as a writer and author, definitely has something to bring to the market, but I was hoping for something more than this.The story is charming, believable, and spontaneous in that new-age way, but it just didn't do anything for me. I didn't feel entirely connected to any of the characters and it was all a bit too whimsical for me.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    "When you set your mind on something, you need to give it a shot and persist.""Our lives aren't so different from a crossword puzzle, sure. But the thing about life is we don't get to draw the grid; we take the rows and columns were given. Our bodies, parents, mental health issues, all that. What we do get to do is fill the cells.""His story bothered me at first, but then it gave me hope. It's never too late to take over the steering wheel of your life. Everything works out in the long run.""Som "When you set your mind on something, you need to give it a shot and persist.""Our lives aren't so different from a crossword puzzle, sure. But the thing about life is we don't get to draw the grid; we take the rows and columns were given. Our bodies, parents, mental health issues, all that. What we do get to do is fill the cells.""His story bothered me at first, but then it gave me hope. It's never too late to take over the steering wheel of your life. Everything works out in the long run.""Sometimes we know where we're going and sometimes we get lost. But as long as we move, we grow."Soundtrack: Why Do I Worry by Jeff LeBlanc
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