Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

3.9 21
by Joe Schreiber
     
 

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Ferris Bueller meets La Femme Nikita in this funny, action-packed young adult novel.See more details below

Overview

Ferris Bueller meets La Femme Nikita in this funny, action-packed young adult novel.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“I’m eighteen years old. In a month I’m going to graduate, I’m waitlisted at Columbia... and this—whatever this is—isn’t part of the plan.” That’s Perry Stormaire as his prom night goes from disaster, when he’s forced to escort dowdy Lithuanian exchange student Gobija Zaksauskas, to something more like Kill Bill after Gobi turns out to be a stunningly effective (and also stunning) assassin. What follows is a whirlwind night of explosions, shootings, stabbings, and car chases as they traverse Manhattan and Brooklyn with Gobi picking off targets over Perry’s protests. As if this situation wasn’t stressful enough, adult author Schreiber opens each chapter of his YA debut with a college admissions essay question (“You’ve just written a 300-page autobiography. Send us page 217”), which should provide a few more palpitations. It’s very well targeted at male teens, with a breakneck pace, quick repartee, hot cars and women, a well-rendered New York City backdrop, abundant action, and some food for thought about what it means to be a man. Plain and simple, it’s a blast. A couple of them, actually. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"What follows are captures, tortures, machine guns, a helicopter rescue, and a kiss that is, like this addictive first novel for teens, a 'long, intoxicating dive through a sea of Red Bull.'"—Booklist, starred review

"Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick is a high-octane, high-caliber joyride centered on one very loud night in New York City, a sort of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Hit List. As Perry deals with flying bullets, exploding glass, and college admissions, your assignment is much simpler (and safer): Read this book!" —Michael Northrop, author of Trapped

 

"Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick is the hilarious YA buzzbomb I've been waiting for all year. Has style and wit to burn. I read the whole thing in one sitting. Buildings explode, scores are settled, and the dialog is explosively funny. Pretty much every page does it to the hilt. Boom." —Sean Beaudoin, author of You Killed Wesley Payne

 

"Fast paced, smart, exciting . . . it's like your favorite summer action thriller and John Hughes movie rolled into one." —Josh Schwartz, executive producer of Gossip Girl and The O.C.

"Plain and simple, it’s a blast. A couple of them, actually."—Publishers Weekly, starred review "Perfect for action adventure junkies who will enjoy the car chases, thugs, graphic killing scenes, explosions, and a random bear fight, Schreiber’s debut novel also contains enough humor, sexual tension, distinctive language, and character development to make this more than just a quick thrill read."—Horn Book

"This not-so-subtle irony combined with Schreiber's incisive wit and clever insights about high school and its relation to the larger world make this a slick, stylish read with serious implications that will give readers plenty to contemplate."—Bulletin

VOYA - Jen McConnel
Perry Stormaire is on the brink of becoming a responsible young adult: he clerks in his father's law firm in New York City, is waitlisted at Columbia, and plays in a band that is not all that bad. And then he meets Gobi. Gobija Zaksauskas is the Lithuanian foreign exchange student Perry's family hosts during his senior year of high school. She keeps to herself, but on prom night Perry finds out that the quiet exchange student is a trained assassin on a mission. She has five targets to take down, and this is the one night they will all be in the city. Dragging Perry along as her hostage and driver, Gobi plunges him into a world of hit men, meat hooks, and murder. By the end of the night, Perry is questioning the things he values and falling more in love with the wild and unpredictable assassin. This is a fast-paced read which, despite the absurdity of the topic, will snatch readers and keep them riveted until the very end. Perry is a likable, average teen dealing with everyday stressors, like overbearing parents and a kid sister: he is relatable and genuine, even when he is driving through New York at the side of the caricatured Gobi. Teens who have outgrown the Alex Rider series will enjoy this book. The short, bite-sized chapters will hook even the most reluctant readers. Reviewer: Jen McConnel
Children's Literature - Justina Engebretson
Kidnapping! Car chases! Held at gun point! Witness to several murders! Beaten! Shot! Who would have imagined all of this could happen on prom night and all because the foreign exchange student, Gobija Zaksauskas, is really an assassin out for revenge? Definitely not Perry Stormaire, the high school senior whose life focus is to get into Columbia. Now he just hopes he can survive prom night and the streets of Manhattan and live long enough to save his family. This young adult novel is packed full of adventure from the beginning. The main characters will appeal to readers because they show both strengths and weaknesses and prove to be neither wholly good nor entirely evil. In a unique style of creativity, the title of each chapter is actually written as a college entrance question, which lends an almost humorous air to the events occurring within the chapter. This book seems to be equally written for an audience of teenage girls and guys who enjoy a plot full of action mixed with a dash of romance. It should be noted that there is some fairly explicit sexual content in this book that includes coarse humor and innuendoes. There are also several swear words throughout the book. Overall, the book is a page-turner, but caution should be exercised when considering the age-appropriateness of some of its content. Reviewer: Justina Engebretson
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Perry Stormaire is more than happy to skip senior prom for a New York City gig with his band, but his parents insist that he attend the event with Gobi, their frumpy Lithuanian exchange student, as his date. The pair makes a quick appearance at the dance before Perry gives in to the girl's curious request to go downtown to Jay-Z's 40/40 Club. There, Gobi transforms into a femme fatale, much to Perry's confusion and delight. It turns out that Gobi is actually a 24-year-old, highly skilled assassin on a mission to avenge her sister's murder—and she convinces Perry to be her chauffeur and accomplice. The amusing all-night caper turns deadly serious as Gobi takes out one mark after another. The evening ends with a literal bang after the duo makes a particularly far-fetched leap to safety from the 47th floor of an office building. Perry is an endearingly earnest protagonist, and Gobi is pure male fantasy—an impossibly tough assassin with a heart of gold, who actually seems to fall for Perry before the night is out. Steven Boyer narrates Joe Schreiber's exciting story (Houghton, 2011) and does an excellent job of voicing Gobi's Lithuanian accent, distinguishing between supporting characters, and teasing out the novel's sly humor. What it lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in sheer adrenaline. Violence, animal cruelty, and references to torture and human trafficking make this listen suitable for older teens.—Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA
Kirkus Reviews

In Schreiber's debut novel for teens, an awkward high-school exchange student morphs into a beautiful assassin, changing a boring prom night into a dangerous race against time.

Perry, a senior in high school, is focused on three things: his internship at his father's law office, playing guitar and, most of all, getting accepted into Columbia University. His mother, in an attempt to infuse some culture into their family, decides they should host a foreign exchange student. The socially awkward and unattractive Gobi is at best invisible and at worst a target for ridicule. Her one request before returning home is to attend the prom with Perry as her date. Under duress, Perry agrees to take her. However, Gobi has other plans, insisting he drive her to Manhattan instead. There she leads Perry on a killing spree that culminates in a confrontation with a very deadly and very familiar adversary. Stilted dialogue, unlikable characters and scenes that seem patched together from dozens of familiar action movies are only a sampling of this novel's many problems. Readers will quickly become frustrated with the predictable plot, overly familiar setting and Perry's obtuseness, though the framing device of college-application essay questions is mildly amusing.

Filled with gratuitous violence, unnecessary vulgarity and unending cliché, this story often slides from merely bad into truly offensive. (Thriller. 14 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547677637
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
08/16/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
423,399
Lexile:
800L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Prologue

Describe a significant experience or achievement and the effect that it had on you. (Harvard)

"You shot me," I said.

I was lying on my stomach, wondering if I was going to pass out from the pain. Twenty feet away, she stood with the machine pistol in one hand and the sawed-off shotgun in the other, wiping the blood out of her eyes. It was three a.m. We were in my father’s law office on the forty-seventh floor of 855 Third Avenue, or what was left of it. The cops were taking cover behind the couch.

She was talking but I couldn’t hear anything. The gunfire had left me temporarily deaf.

I thought about my father.

I took a breath and watched the room wobble at the edges. 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.

She walked over, knelt down, and wrapped her arms around me. She pressed her lips to my ear, close enough that I could make out the words.

"Perry," she said, "I had a very nice time tonight."

 

1

Explain how your experiences as a teenager significantly differ from those of your friends. Include comparisons. (University of Puget Sound)

Gobi was my mom’s idea.

Not that I blamed her. What happened wasn’t anybody’s fault. I’m not exactly religious, but there is something sort of Catholic about the way guilt gets handed out when blood starts spilling—some for you, some for me, pass it on. Don’t forget that guy in the corner—did he get his share?

I guess you could hold Gobi herself responsible, but that’s like blaming God for making it rain, or the earthquake in some third world country where half the buildings are still made out of clay. It happened, that’s all. Human beings are like the screwed-up children of alcoholic parents in that way, picking up the pieces afterward and trying to make up reasons why. You could argue that’s what makes us interesting, and maybe it is to some alien race studying us from a million miles away. From where I sit it just seems pathetic and sad.

Anyway, it all started because my mom’s family once hosted a foreign exchange student from Germany back when she was my age. They’d all gotten along famously and Mom still kept in touch with this woman, who was now a family therapist living outside of Berlin. Mom and Dad visited them whenever they went to Europe, and my understanding is that they all had a high old time together, laughing and joking and rehashing the good old days. Just before my senior year of high school Mom thought it would be culturally enriching if our family hosted someone. Dad went along with it in his usual autopilot way—I’m not even sure he was listening to her, to be honest with you.

That’s how we got Gobi.

Gobija Zaksauskas.

Mom made me and Annie write her name down twenty times each and we looked up the phonetic pronunciation on a Lithuanian website to make sure we were saying it right. I don’t think she would’ve corrected us anyway. From the moment we picked her up outside the International Terminal at JFK, the most I ever heard her say about it was "Call me Gobi," so we did, and that was all.

Back at the house she got the guest room at the end of the hallway with a private bathroom and her own laptop so she could Skype her family back home. My room was next to hers and at night as I’d sit there memorizing SAT words or banging my head against a college application, I’d hear her voice through the wall, talking in low bursts of consonant-heavy syllables I didn’t understand, communicating with family members half a world away.

At least, that’s what I thought.

Say "female foreign exchange student" to any group of high school guys and you’ll get the exact same look. It’s like every single one of the dogs playing poker simultaneously catching wind of the same exotic new Milk-Bone. I’d certainly joked with Chow and the other guys enough about it beforehand, all of us picturing some chic Mediterranean lioness with half-lidded eyes, fully upholstered lips, curves like a European sports car, and legs of a swimsuit model who would tutor me with her feminine wiles before I went off to college.

That’s not even funny to me now.

Gobi wasn’t much taller than my kid sister, with oily dark hair that she always tucked back in a fat bun behind her head, where it always escaped to stick stubbornly out, shiny and angular on either side, like flippers on a penguin. Her face all but disappeared behind the massive industrial-grade black horn-rims, their lenses so thick that her eyes looked swimmy and colorless, like two amoebas at the other end of a microscope. She had pasty, instant-mashed-potato skin that could make the smallest single pimple or blemish stand out angrily. Once, and only once, my twelve-year-old sister, Annie, offered her makeup tips, and Gobi’s reaction was so awkward that we all pretended that it never happened.

Her one facial expression—a startled combination of hesitation and uneasy befuddlement—might have made her a target for bullying in some high schools, but in the halls of Upper Thayer it made her literally invisible, a shadow always hovering somewhere near the lockers with an armload of books clutched against her chest. Her wardrobe tended toward heavy wool sweaters, smocklike shirts, and dense brown skirts that tumbled down below the knee, avalanching over whatever shape of body might have been hiding under there. The only jewelry she ever wore was a plain silver chain with half a heart dangling from it, halfway down the slope of her chest. In the evenings she sat down to dinner with us, silverware clinking, politely participating in the conversation in her low, formal English, answering Mom’s questions about sports or current events until we could all reasonably find an excuse to escape to our separate lives.

One day, six weeks into her visit, she collapsed in the lunch room, passed out in a tray of Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes. I was on the other side of the cafeteria when I heard the screams—Susan Monahan was sure she was dead—and by the time Gobi woke up in the school nurse’s office, she’d managed to explain her condition.

"I have spells sometimes," she said. "Is nothing serious." When my parents asked her later why she’d never told us about it, Gobi only shrugged. "Is under control" was all she said.

Except that it wasn’t, not really, and from that point she had at least a dozen similar "spells"—they seemed to come in clusters, stress-related— and we were never sure when the next one would come. Eventually we found the technical term was temporal lobe epilepsy— basically a short circuit in the brain’s electrical activity, either genetic or brought on by some form of head trauma. Dostoyevsky had it, and Van Gogh, and maybe Saint Paul, too, when he got knocked off his donkey on the road to Damascus, if you believe that sort of thing. All I know is that she wasn’t allowed to drive. Once I found her sitting straight up at the dining room table with her eyes half open, staring at nothing. When I touched her shoulder, she didn’t even look at me.

In spite of all this, or maybe because of it, I always smiled and said hi to her in the halls. I helped her with her English Lit homework and practically did her PowerPoint presentation on the New York Stock Exchange on the morning that it was due. Even so, whenever she saw me coming, she always looked away, like she knew how much crap people gave me about it—not my real friends; I’m talking about world-class losers like Dean Whittaker and Shep Monroe, rich jerks whose Fortune 500 dads swam the icy seas of international finance looking for their next meal. None of that bothered me. The guys that I hung out with and played music with, the guys in Inchworm and one or two friends who hadn’t abandoned me when Dad made me quit the swim team to join the debate team, they seemed to understand, or at least commiserate. Tough luck, Stormaire, you caught a raw deal there.

Yeah, well.
I’d say, it’s not so bad. And it wasn’t, until my mom asked me to take Gobi to the prom.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"What follows are captures, tortures, machine guns, a helicopter rescue, and a kiss that is, like this addictive first novel for teens, a 'long, intoxicating dive through a sea of Red Bull.'"—Booklist, starred review

"Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick is a high-octane, high-caliber joyride centered on one very loud night in New York City, a sort of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Hit List. As Perry deals with flying bullets, exploding glass, and college admissions, your assignment is much simpler (and safer): Read this book!" —Michael Northrop, author of Trapped

 

"Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick is the hilarious YA buzzbomb I've been waiting for all year. Has style and wit to burn. I read the whole thing in one sitting. Buildings explode, scores are settled, and the dialog is explosively funny. Pretty much every page does it to the hilt. Boom." —Sean Beaudoin, author of You Killed Wesley Payne

 

"Fast paced, smart, exciting . . . it's like your favorite summer action thriller and John Hughes movie rolled into one." —Josh Schwartz, executive producer of Gossip Girl and The O.C.

"Plain and simple, it’s a blast. A couple of them, actually."—Publishers Weekly, starred review "Perfect for action adventure junkies who will enjoy the car chases, thugs, graphic killing scenes, explosions, and a random bear fight, Schreiber’s debut novel also contains enough humor, sexual tension, distinctive language, and character development to make this more than just a quick thrill read."—Horn Book

"This not-so-subtle irony combined with Schreiber's incisive wit and clever insights about high school and its relation to the larger world make this a slick, stylish read with serious implications that will give readers plenty to contemplate."—Bulletin

Read More

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