Down and Across

A Novel

"John Green fans will appreciate this tale." -USA Today
"[A] humorous, deeply human coming-of-age story." -The Washington Post

Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. 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 and his parents pushing him to settle on a "practical" career, Scott sneaks off to Washington, DC, seeking guidance from a famous psychologist who claims to know the secret to success.

He never expects an adventure to unfold. 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.
"A lively first novel . . . This humorous, deeply human coming-of-age story will connect with teens." -The Washington Post

"John Green fans will appreciate this tale . . . [Ahmadi] successfully fashions a universal story of discovering one's true self through the honest eyes of another." -USA Today

"Lovely." -Entertainment Weekly

"Arvin Ahmadi's novel shares a lot in common with its irrepressible hero, Saaket. It's quirky and charming, wise and unpredictable, and, dare I say it, full of big-hearted grit." -Khaled Hosseini, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Kite Runner

"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." -Adam Silvera, New York Times bestselling author of More Happy Than Not and History Is All You Left Me

"Arvin Ahmadi's earnest debut is a charming romp of a book, a heartfelt tour of a city through the bright eyes of a hopeful heart. Ahmadi proves his grit and then some with Down and Across." -David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland

"Charmingly funny, intensely relatable, and unexpectedly moving-Down and Across is a big-hearted gem of a debut from an exciting new voice." -Jasmine Warga, author of My Heart and Other Black Holes and Here We Are Now

★ "Witty, smart, and inspiring, the novel celebrates life's big and little surprises and the connections made between people that lead to profound changes." -Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ "A story of friendship, growing up, and learning to commit to something." -School Library Journal, starred review

"John Green fans will fall hard for this story of a guy at war with his future and the unpredictable girl who helps him risk everything to discover who he wants to be. Extra love for the reminder that failure is part of the path to success!" -Justine

"It's a must-read book for anyone who has ever felt a little lost." -Bustle

"This is a heartwarming and humorous contemporary YA that gives readers a realistic look at self-discovery and identity. Ahmadi writes with head and heart, captivating readers with passages that leap beautifully from the pages." -BuzzFeed

"Down and Across is clever, brash, and punchy, rife with good advice and incisive commentary about parents' expectations." -Christian Science Monitor

"Highly original . . . An engaging debut novel about self-discovery." -Kirkus Reviews

"Debut author Ahmadi sets up a meet-cute with a manic-pixie-dream-girl type, but he refreshingly upends those tropes, instead telling a smart story about transformation . . . Both Saaket and Fiora emerge as multifaceted personalities with an engaging dynamic, and readers will easily cheer Saaket on as he blunders through toward meaningful growth." -Booklist

"Utterly satisfying." -VOYA

"Arvin Ahmadi's debut novel is a rollicking adventure full of humor and quirky characters from all walks of life . . . Their zany exploits are humorous and insightful and nothing is off-limits on Scott's educational journey: youth hostels, hospitals, bars, even the French Embassy." -Shelf Awareness

"Arvin Ahmadi's charming debut, Down and Across, brings a strong new voice to teen literature. Scott's uncertainty, and his panic over that uncertainty, will resonate with high school readers faced with the impossible task of figuring out what they want to do with their lives." -BookPage
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.

You can follow Arvin on Twitter @arvinahmadi.
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    Eight mornings before running away, I found myself at McDonald's, wondering about the direction of my life. It was one of those moments that should have felt important. I should have said to myself: Hey, Self! You're having a Pivotal Moment in a Sentimental Place. On a scale of 1 to Serious, I should have rated this occasion at least a 9. But I didn't. My Serious Scale didn't even register. Not a single cell in my brain cared to define that morning in the grand scheme of things. Or in any scheme of things, really.

    That morning I wondered about dirty tables. The one in front of me had almost certainly just been wiped down, still freshly wet and slippery. I imagined the motions the McDonald's employee made cleaning that surface: up, down, up, down. Left to right. Loop-de-flippin'-loop, like a drunk man on a Zamboni joyride. Still, the table reeked, so I knew they cleaned it with a dirty rag. This conundrum hijacked my focus. On one hand, sure, it was better for the environment to clean hard surfaces with a rag. But then, wasn't the rag just transferring gunk from one surface to another?

    "Pay attention," he snapped. "I'm trying to understand what you want."

    Right. My dad. He clenched his hands tight, the skin bunching up around his knuckles. I felt guilty. Not for anything I had actually done, but for what I wasn't doing.

    We sat at our usual booth in the very back. It was like our boxing ring. In one corner: Me, Scott Ferdowsi, my lanky five-foot-ten frame slouched like a golden arch. Fighting to quit a summer internship that hadn't even begun yet. In the other corner: My dad. Fighting to keep me on the right track, any track, because I'd been known to derail.

    "I know what I don't want," I said, stabbing my plastic fork into a rubbery glob of eggs. "I don't want to look at microscopic mouse poop for the rest of my life. Research is boring."

    My dad chuckled. "What could be more exciting than mouse poop?"

    I glanced over at the table next to us. A girl in a sparkly Frozen costume was stomping her My Little Pony toy into her hash browns.

    "Horse poop," I said. "Perhaps I will become an equestrian."

    Dad scrunched up his face. "Saaket bash," he hissed. Be quiet.

    "I am," I teased softly. My Iranian name is Saaket, which means "quiet" in Farsi. It's one of my best jokes: "Be quiet!" "That's my name!"

    Dad didn't laugh.

    "When are you going to get serious, Saaket? This is your life. You need to stop playing games and plan for your future."

    Bingo. It would be his usual lecture. I rolled my eyes and slid lower into the tattered cushion to get comfortable. If there's one thing Iranian parents love more than chelo kebab and their children, it's making a point.

    "You're all over the place," he said, waving his hands frantically. "Look at the opportunities you've already screwed up. High school! You get accepted to a very nice high school, but you hardly study. You're pulling lousy grades."


    "Last summer. I got you a job with Majid's law firm. You quit after three weeks."


    "And now, after I pulled every mediocre connection I have to get you an internship at the university lab, you're giving up before you even start."


    He kept going, as if he hadn't just put me down over and over: "You know, I was reading a study the other day by a very famous professor at Georgetown . . . Cecily Mallard. She's a genius, Saaket. Really! They just gave her an award that is specifically for geniuses. The genius award, it's-"

    "Okay, Dad," I moaned. "What did she say?"

    My dad paused dramatically and pointed his finger upward, à la eureka. "Grit," he said. "She discovered that the best predictor of success isn't IQ or how wealthy your parents are, or even your grades. It's grit. Do you know what
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Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 336
Altersempfehlung 12 - 15
Erscheinungsdatum 30.01.2018
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-451-47959-4
Verlag Penguin LCC US
Maße (L/B/H) 20,8/13,9/2,7 cm
Gewicht 331 g
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