February 10, 2018
DNF Review: Down and Across
Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi
An e-galley was provided by Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. Writing the Great American Novel? Three chapters. His summer internship? One week. 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, Scott's parents pressure him to get serious and settle on a career path like engineering or medicine. Desperate for help, he sneaks off to Washington, DC, to seek guidance from a famous professor who specializes in grit, the psychology of success.
He never expects an adventure to unfold out of what was supposed to be a one-day visit. 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.
When did I stop reading?: 25% of the way through, at chapter 8.
Why I did not finish this book: I'd been feeling a bit unsettled with the book for several chapters, but I tried to give it a chance. Finally, I couldn't deal with it anymore. Fiora is such a manic pixie dream girl that it's ridiculous. She keeps popping up in Scott's life and leading him on wild adventures, and I felt like my eyebrow was constantly raised when she was on-page.
I think Scott's journey could've been way more interesting if there wasn't a girl involved. And if his friends back home were more important or the people he was meeting proved more interesting and well-rounded, then I might've been able to stick with the story.
This one's definitely a book to skip, y'all.