If you’re like me and belong to the “I have no idea what to do with the rest of my life” category of teens, if you’re looking for more diverse young adult releases, or if you’re simply looking for a well written, funny, “wise and unpredictable” (like Khaled Hosseini called it) young adult novel, brace yourself, for I have the perfect book for you! I’m talking about Arvin Ahmadi’s debut novel, Down and Across, out Feb. 6 from Viking Books for Young Readers.

This is the story of Scott/Sakeet Ferdowsi who goes on screwing every opportunity he comes across and can’t seem to stick with anything. And with college applications looming, Scott is under more pressure than ever to chose a career path and stick with it. Pressure mostly caused by his dad. (And we all know how much pressure dads can cause. Not to mention the constant nagging.)

As he finally decides he couldn’t take it anymore, he runs away to Washington DC looking for a famous professor his father mentioned to figure out what the heck is “grit” or as his father put it “Tahammol”. (Which I’m pretty sure is a Farsi word, judging from the father’s background, but I happen to know the same word in Arabic which means Stamina, so perhaps that’s it.)

What Scott didn’t expect to find in Washington is an adventure that starts as he meets Fiora Buchanan, a girl with a strange life ambition. That is to write crossword puzzles…

Finally, I just want to say that I could relate to almost every single thing from Scott’s point of view, and I believe that this, by all means, is a FANTASTIC book. If I had to rate this book on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d a give it a definite 10!

For further details and the first chapter of Down and Across, check out BUSTLE’s article. 
You can preorder Arvin’s book here. 

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Young Tunisian writer. Author of Jeremy Heimer and the Lady of the Frozen Owl (March 2018). Obsessed with Chocolate & Cappuccino.