Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: 'Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick' by Joe Schreiber

I was going into shock. The pain wasn’t getting any better,
and I thought that I would probably black out before
 I found out how this was going to end. Just as well
I was never particularly good at finishing things.

Perry Stormaire is a regular high school guy, more enthused about his band’s first major performance in New York City than with senior prom. But when his mom tells him he has to take Gobi, their shy, awkward Lithuanian exchange student, to the prom, Perry’s plans for an epic rock show that same night are crushed. After an incident at the prom and an impromptu drive into New York City, Perry realizes that Gobi is actually a trained assassin on a mission to take out targets all across the city. Now Perry and Gobi are on a wild ride around the city in his father’s Jag, with thugs on their heels and explosive revelations at every stop.

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick is a fast-paced, action-packed YA novel, the likes of which I haven’t read in a long time. Once Perry and Gobi hit New York City and Gobi’s mission begins, the novel is basically one thrilling scene after another. There are plenty of car chases, gun fights and confrontations with members of the seedy NYC underbelly, all wrapped up in snappy dialogue between the two main characters. The action isn’t always that realistic considering the ages (and, in Perry’s case, experience) of the characters, but it is certainly exciting!

For the most part, the novel barrels along at a frenetic pace, but there are also moments of introspection on Perry’s part. Most of these moments have to do with the situation; some are Gobi trying to help Perry understand that his future doesn’t have to be dictated by his parents. These conversations between the two are some of my favorite because they add a certain amount of depth to the novel and give insights into who the characters are beyond this one crazy night.

Schreiber very cleverly begins each chapter with a different essay question from various college applications, and the contents subtly match the prompts. This structure, combined with short chapters that often end on cliffhangers and the action-packed plot, works wonderfully to propel readers through the relatively short novel. The questions also neatly link the plot to Perry’s overarching worries about college and his future.

Although not bursting with deep thought and realism, Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick is a great novel for vacations, lazy afternoons, and reading slumps. Pick it up now and look for the sequel in November!
Book Source: Local Library
Reviewer: Kimberly
Recommended Ages: Officially 12+, but probably more appropriate for 14+ because of language, brief discussions of sex, and violence.
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