Title: Au Revoir, Cray European Chick
Author: Joe Schreiber
Category: young adult
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Page count: 192
Source: ARC from the publisher, via netGalley
Star rating: 5 out of 5
Life seems to be one bit of drudgery after another for Perry, who’s a high school senior with very different ideas than his parents about what should be important to him. He wants to dedicate as much time as he can to his band, and he wants to join the swim team at school before it’s too late, but his parents – especially his overbearing, high-powered New York City attorney father – care only about good grades and getting into the best college. Add to that the fact that the family has a quiet, geeky, weird Lithuanian exchange student, a completely out of touch girl named Gobi, and Perry is nearly at his wits’ end.
His band has a big show in New York City, but it unfortunately coincides with prom night. Perry doesn’t care, because he doesn’t have a girlfriend to take, anyway, but his parents insist he take Gobi. She’s requested him as her escort, and they think it’s the right thing to do, since it’s almost time for her to leave and head back to Lithuania. Perry is completely against the idea, since it’ll cost him his gig with his band and his reputation among his friends. But his parents won’t budge, and on prom night he finds himself in his father’s borrowed Jag, wearing an itchy rented tuxedo and escorting the girl who will barely say two words to him and has for some reason dressed herself in the most unattractive traditional Lithuanian dress possible.
But there’s a twist, and what starts as another high school dance turns into a wild adventure when Perry is drawn into Gobi’s mission against his will. Oh yeah, did I fail to mention Gobi’s a trained assassin and that the night ends up including henchmen, car chases, murder, explosions, unexpected twists, and even a bear fight? It’s like a sucker-punch of coming-of-age in the wildest way imaginable.
This is the first young adult novel written by a man that I’ve ever read, and it’s blissfully free of the angst (and, lately, paranormal elements) common in YA written by women. This is a wild story, impossible to put down. It’s completely implausible, and a total farce, but that’s what makes it so fun. Recommended for anyone looking for an adventure and the chance to escape reality for a little while. This is not your typical prom story.