A hilarious tragicomedy from New Girl and SNL writer David Iserson!
Being Astrid Krieger is absolutely all it's cracked up to be.
She lives in a rocket ship in the backyard of her parents' estate.
She was kicked out of the elite Bristol Academy and she's intent on her own special kind of revenge to whomever betrayed her.
She only loves her grandfather, an incredibly rich politician who makes his money building nuclear warheads.
It's all good until...
"We think you should go to the public school," Dad said.
This was just a horrible, mean thing to say. Just hearing the words "public school" out loud made my mouth taste like urine (which, not coincidentally, is exactly how the public school smells).
Will Astrid finally meet her match in the form of public school? Will she find out who betrayed her and got her expelled from Bristol? Is Noah, the sweet and awkward boy she just met, hiding something?
Film and TV writer Iserson debuts with the story of privileged, caustic 17-year-old Astrid Krieger, whose recent expulsion from preppy Bristol Academy has forced her to enroll in public school. Astrid will do anything to be readmitted to Bristol, and she hatches a deal with the school's therapist: if she successfully completes a series of selfless acts, the school might reconsider her suspension. For this chauffeur-driven master manipulator—who's learned everything she knows from her ethically dubious ex-senator grandfather—altruism is a foreign concept. As Astrid strikes up a friendship with a hair-chewing misfit and a modest boy who is intrigued by her, she begins to understand the source of her own isolation. Astrid's narrative vacillates between moments of wicked hilarity and details that shoot into bombastic territory (Astrid casually mentions that JFK once shot her grandfather during a game of Russian roulette and that she has robbed several convenience stores). Iserson doesn't ask readers to feel sorry for his spoiled and outlandish heroine, but urges them to trust that beneath her explosive tendencies is a kernel of compassion. Ages 12–up. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (May)
- Etienne Vallee
At seventeen, Astrid Krieger has it all. Her family is fabulously wealthy and powerful. Her grandfather, the senator, served in World War II with Jack Kennedy, knows everyone, and enjoys diplomatic immunity. He has gotten away with everything throughout his life, and he has taught Astrid to do the same. But one too many run ins with the dean of Bristol, her exclusive private school, leads to her expulsion and her parents forcing her to attend the county public school. Now she is in a completely different universe. She must deal with a new and unfamiliar environment while plotting her revenge on those who caused her expulsion. She makes friends with Noah and Lucy, two outcasts, and she begins to set in motion her plan to return to Bristol. Not everyone is what they seem, though, and someone in the background seems to be pulling all the strings to ensure that Astrid will fail. Written in the form of a journal, this is not the type of novel where the rich girl gets her comeuppance. Astrid's attitude does not improve much throughout the story. She remains as aloof and determined to get her way as ever. She does, however, grow personally through developing new and positive relationships with people, something she was unaware she was lacking until her arrival at the high school. The main characters are well rounded, and the supporting cast is more than one dimensional, surprising both the reader and Astrid on more than one occasion. Most interesting of all is Astrid's relationship with her family, especially her grandfather, who plays a large role in her life. As the novel progresses, it becomes clear to both of them that they are not as alike as they thought they were. Some explicit language makes this a book for older students. Reviewer: Etienne Vallee
- Ema Whipple McKee
Firecracker is thoroughly amusing due to Astrid's blunt humor and loud idiosyncrasies. Rarely does one meet such a person. Readres who enjoyed the pranks played in John Green's Looking For Alaska (Dutton, 2005/Voya Aparil 2005) will see the similarity and notice the universal fire of youth anew. Do not stop here: Read the book (though be warned: Astrid may be influential). Reviewer: Ema Whipple McKee, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—When 17-year-old Astrid Krieger's latest boarding school kicks her out for cheating, her parents give her one option: public school. Despite being guilty of this crime and more, Astrid schemes to expose the traitor in her old clique who set her up for discovery. In the course of stringing along her psychologist; avoiding her fake boyfriend; and coming up with an elaborate exposé involving a doppelgänger, a basket of sandwiches, and a horse, she also learns some lessons about family, friendship, and romance. Weaknesses in plotting and clichéd, underdeveloped secondary characters are overcome by the sheer force of Astrid's voice as the whip-smart, spoiled, snarky narrator in this fast-paced and funny novel.—Natasha Forrester, Multnomah County Library, OR
Not your everyday poor-little-rich-girl story. Astrid Krieger is incredibly rich. She has no friends and has just been expelled from her private school. She is being forced to attend (horrors!) public school and to see a therapist, the same guy who expelled her for cheating. But don't feel sorry for Astrid: She has never been at a loss in her life and will undoubtedly not only survive, but make miserable anyone who has ever offended her. As Astrid recounts her story, her astringent wit and distinctive outlook is reflected in a wry, consistently diverting voice that occasionally indulges in a surfeit of swearing. The arc of the plot is never in doubt, as from the first page readers know this self-centered egoist will eventually find friends and learn that doing good can be great. Astrid's version of doing good gradually gains some depth, but she never loses her sense that she belongs at the center of the world or, er, galaxy. A ditzy older sister and the curmudgeonly grandfather who built the family fortune are some of the more entertaining characters, while the fellow students who populate both private and public schools are considerably less vivid, but that is as it should be. Astrid seldom notices in any depth the lesser beings in her universe, with a choice few exceptions. Being called a firecracker is a derogatory term as far as Astrid is concerned, but for readers, it simply means entertaining. (Fiction. 12-16)
David Iserson has written for Fox’s New Girl as well as Saturday Night Live, NBC’s Up All Night, and Showtime’s United States of Tara. David lives in Los Angeles with his wife and her terrifying collection of taxidermy and their dog, Bacon. Firecracker is his first novel. Find out more at davidiserson.com and follow him on Twitter @davidiserson