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Down and Across 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 passionWith 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 successHe 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


10 thoughts on “Down and Across

  1. says:

    Official blurb Arvin Ahmadi s voice will be a dynamic entry into YA literature DOWN AND ACROSS is a thrilling game changer that touches on the universal journey of self discovery with a deft hand and riotous humor I really love this spirited story of grit and self discovery where failures are respected as a part of life And the main character Scott is a total charmer and the DC cast of characters all struck me with either wonder or adoration and in one case, TOTAL LOATHING, omg, THIS CHAR Official blurb Arvin Ahmadi s voice will be a dynamic entry into YA literature DOWN AND ACROSS is a thrilling game changer that touches on the universal journey of self discovery with a deft hand and riotous humor I really love this spirited story of grit and self discovery where failures are respected as a part of life And the main character Scott is a total charmer and the DC cast of characters all struck me with either wonder or adoration and in one case, TOTAL LOATHING, omg, THIS CHARACTER was THE WORST and you ll know who it was Hope you check out this wonderful debut


  2. says:

    This was a really cute YA contemporary novel I would recommend it especially to high school teens who are struggling to find their path post graduation.CW racism, assaultI feel a good way to describe Down and Across is a John Green novel, but less pretentious and idealistic That s not to say John Green hasn t written fantastic novels, as well This novel strikes the correct balance between quirky adventures and real teen issues It s fun and unique, but also captures the stress and pressure This was a really cute YA contemporary novel I would recommend it especially to high school teens who are struggling to find their path post graduation.CW racism, assaultI feel a good way to describe Down and Across is a John Green novel, but less pretentious and idealistic That s not to say John Green hasn t written fantastic novels, as well This novel strikes the correct balance between quirky adventures and real teen issues It s fun and unique, but also captures the stress and pressures that plague high schoolers everywhere My favorite element of the novel is particularly the exploration of insecurity related to one s future and the feeling of being left behind by your peers s paths Honestly, this is not something I ever experienced but it felt so true to the pressures of others I believe it would be hard to struggle with your own future plans and not relate to Scott s journey.I really enjoyed Scott as a main character He felt very grounded in reality with his impulsiveness, his vulnerability, his reactions, his fears, etc I immensely enjoyed reading from the perspective of an Iranian American protagonist woohoo for ownvoices representation with all of the references to the culture he has grown up in I think Scott is very relatable for so many reasons which is what made his narration so enjoyable for me I will say, I vehemently disliked Fiora She felt very manic pixie dream girl to start, and I am happy to say her character does gain depth along the story, but I could not stand her She is reckless, selfish, and causes problems for everyone around her Her carelessness and pettiness is not endearing and I really struggled with her character On the bright side, Trent is a sweet, soft boy and he deserves all of his dreams to come true.Overall, I thoroughly had a good time reading Down and Across I think it is a great read for those struggling to find their purpose, or even just for those who are looking for an interesting YA story I wouldn t say the plot is necessarily the most realistic, but the characterization was fabulous I will definitely be reading Arvin Ahmadi s future works


  3. says:

    can you imagine i was already buddy reading two books and i thought it was a good idea to pick up another book truly amazing.anyways, this was alright, i didn t really see much of a plot going on tho i did appreciate the diversity and friendship and the realistic ending v impressed by that btw but the book itself just lacked content imo3 stars


  4. says:

    Across1 Amazing3 Wonderful4 I loved itDown2 Yes5 You should read it6 Thanks for asking


  5. says:

    When a book is blurbed by Adam Silvera, the man behind the spectacular, rip your heart out They Both Die at the End, you know it s going to be goodno, wait, I take that backnot just good excellent As it turns out, Down and Across is indeed excellent It s the kind of book that reminds me just how wonderful contemporary YA can be Down and Across is smart, quirky, and incredibly charming Down and Across introduces us to Scott Ferdowsi Scott can t seem to follow through on anything musi When a book is blurbed by Adam Silvera, the man behind the spectacular, rip your heart out They Both Die at the End, you know it s going to be goodno, wait, I take that backnot just good excellent As it turns out, Down and Across is indeed excellent It s the kind of book that reminds me just how wonderful contemporary YA can be Down and Across is smart, quirky, and incredibly charming Down and Across introduces us to Scott Ferdowsi Scott can t seem to follow through on anything music, writing, internships, etc He s the ultimate quitter much to his father s dismay Scott is the character for anyone who seem to never measure up to their parent s wishes, who can t seem to find their thing in life no matter how hard they try This is what makes Scott so incredibly relatable and likable, in my opinion It s been a while since I ve been in high school, but I can remember so clearly not having any idea of what I wanted to do, changing my mind everyday just as Scott does in this book Therefore, seeing his journey in this book struck a chord in me I could easily slip into his shoes and understand what he was feeling It s also important to add that Scott isn t lazy he sambitious than he thinks, especially when it comes to his journey on finding his grit I m a strong believer on how one experience, or summer in this case, can change everything, and that s exactly what happens here Scott finds his purpose, and he kicks a Besides Scott, Down and Across offers up such a wonderful cast of characters Fiora, for instance, is wild and reckless I ve never seen someone love cross words as much as she does Additionally, I enjoyed seeing the role she plays in Scott s summer She inspires him to do crazy things some of which he most certainly shouldn t do but she makes himwell rounded because of it, someone who d rather go on adventure than sit around More importantly, I appreciated that Fiora wasn t perfect She dealt with her own setbacks in this book, some of which broke my heart, but at the end of the day, she s just someone who won t let the bad get her down she s just on to her next adventure I also came to love Rick, Fiora s best friend and Scott s constant savior Rick s view on politics was heartwarming, and I loved seeing him hone his passions in this This boy definitely do what his grit was At its core, Down and Across is a coming of age Scott goes to Washington, DC on a whim and finds himself First of all, I LOVED the DC setting DC is a city that will always have my heart, and I loved that Arvin included so many real restaurants venues within Down and Across s pages Additionally, I loved the crossword application to life It truly was the perfect metaphor, and better yet, I loved that actual crosswords were included in the book I also enjoyed how this book shows the ups and downs to growing up Scott experiences the good and bad in DC He makes life long friends, finds his grit, learns to live on his own, but he also experiences hate, a bad relationship, and the consequences of lying It made for an interesting read Also, the epilogue I don t think I ve ever been happier with an epilogue I loved how everything ended it was the perfect mix of closure and openness So in summary Buy or borrow Down and Across Read it And hopefully love it and come back and tell me Arvin is a fantastic new voice in YA I ll be the first in line to buy his second book Grade A


  6. says:

    Visit Stay Bookish forbook reviews Crossword Clues Note All bold words with an asterisk is a synonym of the corresponding word in the puzzle These days it feels like every step I take is setting me up for the rest of my life Across 2 Down and Across is wonderful and I absolutely enjoyed the story and characters 3 It s surprising how Ahmadi s words just jump at you and tug at your heartstrings But gosh, Scott s search for true grit was so inspiring And his Dad s reaction to Visit Stay Bookish forbook reviews Crossword Clues Note All bold words with an asterisk is a synonym of the corresponding word in the puzzle These days it feels like every step I take is setting me up for the rest of my life Across 2 Down and Across is wonderful and I absolutely enjoyed the story and characters 3 It s surprising how Ahmadi s words just jump at you and tug at your heartstrings But gosh, Scott s search for true grit was so inspiring And his Dad s reaction to Scott running away So touching , I almost cried Our lives aren t so different from a crossword puzzle, sure But the thing about life is we don t get to draw the grid we take the rows and columns that we re given Our bodies, parents, mental issues, all that What we do get to do is fill the cells I can live with my downs and acrosses I accept the larger truths of my life But I don t take the cells so seriously 7 I honestly was uncertain where the plot was going and what events would happen next but I was too engaged in Scott s life to care I actually found the story quite fast paced or maybe that was just because I devoured it so easily.10 The comical banter between Scott, Fiora, and Trent was precious Their dynamics were so energetic and entertaining.11 Down and Across has a Persian Muslim MC as well as a variety of Christian, gay, and depressed anxious characters.13 I loved how vivid each character was and how each of them had their own idiosyncrasies Failure isn t permanent Grit is the ability to learn and fail and learn someThat ability is fluid, not fixed You have the power to change 15 Down and Across is a meaningful story, fluent in expressing universal feelings and emotion.16 The characters are incredibly genuine and for real flawed No one was pretentious, except maybe Jeanette and Benji, though they were bona fide jerks Scott and Fiora just didn t see that immediately You re obsessed with tomorrow, when the only shit you have control over is today, right now Down 1 Oh my god, Scott Ferdowsi s voice was so delightful and I loved it so much.4 I loved the spirit of the book and admired Scott s tenacity and perseverance as he convinced Professor Mallard to show him the secret to success in life.5 At first, I worried about Fiora s portrayal as spontaneous and adventurous but I shouldn t have because Down and Across characters are really well grounded and unromanticized In fact, Down and Across doesn t have a big epic love story Just an epic journey No one fully understands the universe It s incomplete But we care about it anyway We have to persist 6 It was so easy to connect with the need to escape from parental and career pressure.8 Ahmadi s electrifying voice is perfect for YA His debut novel is refreshing and splendid and gosh, I can t wait to readfrom him 9 Filled with smart characters who exude sparkling energy and wit, Down and Across is a profoundly fantastic debut Two steps forward, one back Five forward, twelve back Left, right, diagonal, down, across, and right back around the block We re all just trying to keep moving Sometimes we know where we re going and sometimes we get lost But as long as we move, we grow 12 The way Scott s story tackles life and growth is incredibly sincere and full of heart.14 I was grinning so hard as I kept on reading I loved reading about Scott s adventures in DC Most of his interactions and observations were totally hilarious and I laughed a lot Answer Key


  7. says:

    An outstanding debut novel Can t wait to gush about it next week on First Reads Friday.


  8. says:

    2.5 5 formerly 3 A solid, cute read I loved the character development and sheer relatability of all the characters I liked that each person clearly had their own unique personality traits, and even though some elements seemed overplayed teenage kid in existential crisis is inspired by gruff mentor, finds Meaning Of Life To be honest, for books with this type of plot I would recommend The Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan over this one, but can t hurt to read Down and Across to tide you over 2.5 5 formerly 3 A solid, cute read I loved the character development and sheer relatability of all the characters I liked that each person clearly had their own unique personality traits, and even though some elements seemed overplayed teenage kid in existential crisis is inspired by gruff mentor, finds Meaning Of Life To be honest, for books with this type of plot I would recommend The Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan over this one, but can t hurt to read Down and Across to tide you over until June, when Callahan s book comes out It s a feel good novel with a lot of unrealistic elements The book had a plot element regarding mental illness at one point and I thought that there would be some interesting discourse on depression anxiety nope It was skimmed over in the end, which was disappointing MC basically went like, aw jeez thank god I don t have mental illness Those People must have it so bad and forgot about it, which was like Okay The event itself seemed kind of to caricature people with mental illness, though I won t go into details I m not sure whether or not my sentiments are too touchy, but it made me kind of uncomfortable either way.Otherwise, learning about crossword subculture was interesting This book is a little forgettable, but I enjoyed it


  9. says:

    Maybe it s because I coincidentally read three books with Persian protagonists in a row, but this novel did not move me The writing seems to be at a third of fourth grade level so I was insulted The themes are not left to figure out they are spelled out by the author Teen readers are not dumb The down and across is a cute literary device but it doesn t work The author is a bit lazy writing suddenly repeatedly and things like we laughed tremendously The protagonist is often trying hard Maybe it s because I coincidentally read three books with Persian protagonists in a row, but this novel did not move me The writing seems to be at a third of fourth grade level so I was insulted The themes are not left to figure out they are spelled out by the author Teen readers are not dumb The down and across is a cute literary device but it doesn t work The author is a bit lazy writing suddenly repeatedly and things like we laughed tremendously The protagonist is often trying hard to suppress a smile What happened to show, don t tell At one point, the protagonist describes an office like this It was a cramped and messy spacenay, it was a disaster zone What teenager says nay And he feels a storm brewing in someone else s eyes How is that possible Especially when he can t see the someone.This is the story of Scott, real name Saaket, who runs away from home and a boring research internship while his parents are in Iran for a month, to meet his mentor Cecily Mallard Mallard does research on grit and Scott doesn t have any He meets the stereotypical wild child Fiora who takes him on adventures through D.C He gets entangled in her affair with her professor, and her friendship with a bartender His one night adventure lasts the entire month, through a bicycle chase that lands him in the hospital and to a job at the bar Fiora is an avid cruciverbalist, and ends up getting one of her crossword puzzles published in the NYT But she has problems So does Trent, the bartender So does Mallard The month is full of fun Reading the novel is kind of like watching TV You don t have to think.The ending is anti climactic I was angry I read that far Yes, Scott changed, he was transformed by his one month adventure The fact that he has Persian ancestry, that his parents are in Iran, has nothing to do with the story There is no discrimination, no immigration problems, nothing The author could have done better


  10. says:

    It s truly a rare and magical moment when you come across a book that speaks to you not on a few levels but in so many ways that you can t even count ha, see what I did there.Down and Across by debut author Arvin Ahmadi is a true gem It is a coming of age story that follows Saaket Scott Ferdowsi, a high school student who is trying to figure out what to do over the summer Sounds like every other story, right WRONG.What Arvin Ahmadi does so well in his novel is that he introduces a main c It s truly a rare and magical moment when you come across a book that speaks to you not on a few levels but in so many ways that you can t even count ha, see what I did there.Down and Across by debut author Arvin Ahmadi is a true gem It is a coming of age story that follows Saaket Scott Ferdowsi, a high school student who is trying to figure out what to do over the summer Sounds like every other story, right WRONG.What Arvin Ahmadi does so well in his novel is that he introduces a main character who s different than the usual protagonists of usual contemporary books Scott is an Iranian American Muslim character How cool is that So, before anything happens, you have a character stuck between two worlds, two cultures The way Ahmadi handled this was totally impeccable You could tell that Scott was heavily inspired by the author himself.Scott is stuck between his parents expectations of him, and between what he wants The problem is, he doesn t really know what he want He always starts on projects but never ends up completing them It s that first push that gets him going, but quickly the enthusiasm wanes away That happens to all of us, doesn t it Then, Scott decides to take upon an adventure and goes to meet a professor in a completely new city, all on his own Brave teenager Again, he fails But also, while at DC, he gets to meet Fiora and Trent, who by the way, are totally awesome sidekicks.Arvin Ahmadi has created a wide set of characters of different backgrounds, and he focuses a lot on developing them None of the characters are one dimensional, including the secondary characters There was a great emphasis on the parents, which was quite refreshing, and quite expected in a Middle Eastern family Trent and Fiora are great additions Even though they are strangers to Scott, they develop a connection with each other You know how they say that teenagers speak a universal language Maybe that s true, because you don t really have to know the other person so well to bond with them.My favorite part about the book, however, was Scott s thoughts Scott is a flawed character, and he is aware of his insecurities He uses his insecurities to drive himself forward I particularly loved that Scott was Muslim, but he made mistakes all the time He might have done stuff that didn t complement his religion, things that disappointed his parents, and even acted rashly in several situations, but at the end of the day, he fueled himself to become grittier.Down and Across resonated with me forreasons than I can list, but one thing about it is that I connected to this book on a very deep level Many of Scott s struggles have been mine, and they continue to be Scott s monologues, especially, took me off guard Sometimes I reflect upon the same things when I m by myself, and seeing that representation was just truly, utterly beautiful.Here s a last message to Mr Arvin Ahmadi I might not know you personally, but this book has been my absolute highlight of the year so far You have voiced and represented real life experiences of people all over the world through Scott s story It might sound cliche, but you have touched my heart through Scott s story Because of this profound work of art, I have further learned things about myself, and whatever comes from now onward will be my journey to become grittier Thank you for showing me that no dream is worthless, and that you can find beauty, inspiration, passion, and your dreams in the most mundane places.Oh, and guess what Gritty is my new favorite word.In conclusion, if there s one contemporary book that you want to read this year, it s got to be Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi It is poignant, powerful, and profound Down and Across is a book of empathy that is very much needed in today s world.P.S It comes with a crossword puzzle at the end, which you don t want to miss out on


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