Friday, April 15, 2011

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

by Joe Schreiber
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 24th, 2011

In the midst of piles of school work, having forgotten my lunchtime reading at home, I decided I needed a fast-paced book that promised humor. Schreiber's novel just happened to arrive, as if some sneaking spy knew I was a prime target for the book.

I was immediately intrigued by the admissions essay prompts at the beginning of each chapter. Soon, I began trying to connect them to each chapter, wondering what an admissions representative might find in this first-person narrative- it's easy to see how being shot, being witness to murder, and learning your family's darkest secrets (all in one night) might lend themselves to an enticing (if barely believable) college essay. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Perry Stormaire had not intended to go to prom, being more concerned with his first NYC band gig and getting off of Columbia's wait-list. But when Gobi- the Lithuanian foreign exchange student- asks him to escort her to prom, his parent's don't give him a choice. He soon finds himself in a rented tux escorting the ugliest girl to prom in his dad's jaguar car. But two hours into the evening Perry is in the middle of NYC witnessing murders and accompanied by the most gorgeous foreign assassin he could have dreamed of. This fast-paced adventure was impossible to put down. Perry is a believable, multi-dimensional character, not unrealistically heroic in terrifying situations yet able to issue constant demands for the safety of his family and knowledge of what the hell is going on. While I'm glad this isn't the first in the series, and therefore can't say "I can't wait for the next one," I'd still like a hint of what Joe Schreiber will write next.

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