A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{October 2, 2011}   Au Revoir Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

Plot: Perry’s father has outlined most of his life for him: get into Columbia, get a law degree and becoming a partner at the firm like him. Perry has given up everything he loves for this dream, everything except his band. So when his parents tell him to miss his first big gig in order to take their geeky exchange student to the prom, he knows the night will be a disaster. He just has no idea how right he is. It turns out the Gobi is an assassin with 5 targets to kill and she has hijacked Perry and his father’s jag in order to get it done. This crazy night may change his life forever, or end it.

This review is based on an Advanced Reader’s Copy received at Book Expo America.

This book is a quick, thrilling adventure that barely gives you a chance to catch your breath. It is full of car chases, murder and conspiracies. The chapters are short and the writing crisp; you really get the sense of racing through New York in a single night. Perry and Gobi are great foils for each other. Perry is very much out of his depth in her world of espionage and assassination and his fear and indignation feel very real. Which makes his courage in the face of danger all the more impressive. Meanwhile, Gobi is full of surprises: she is clever, skilled, sexy and rather reckless with moments of unexpected humour and caring. Her cause, and Gobi herself, gain depth as the story progresses and you can well imagine how Perry’s feelings for her might grow. Whether these feelings are love or not is another story, which will probably never be written. A night of murder and kidnaping really doesn’t give the opportunity for more than a kiss or two in the heat of passion. But that’s ok, it was still an amazing adventure.

The structure of the novel was also very effective. Aside from the fast pacing that I mentioned earlier, each chapter begins with a question from a university application form which colours the chapter. There is an important narrative reason for this, which is revealed at the end, but the immidiate effect is to constantly remind the reader of Perry’s imposed path and how ludicrously far he has deviated from it. As Perry’s lived experiences move further and further away from that of the ideal college applicant, we see him grow in confidence and come to understand himself better. In the end it as much a bildungsroman as a spy novel but Screiber intertwines the two narratives so well that the breakneck pace of the adventure never slows.

Au Revoir Crazy European Chick goes on sale October 24the 2011. There’s something for everyone to enjoy but I know more than one teen boy that would get a real blast out of Schreibers book.

Challenges: None


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