Title: Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick
Author: Joe Schreiber
My Age Recommendation: 15+
Publisher: Electric Monkey/Egmont
Publication Date: 5th March 2012
Pages: 282 (uncorrected bound proof)
Ferris Bueller meets La Femme Nikita in this funny, action-packed young adult novel. It’s prom night—and Perry just wants to stick to his own plan and finally play a much anticipated gig with his band in the Big Apple. But when his mother makes him take Gobija Zaksauskas—their quiet, geeky Lithuanian exchange student—to the prom, he never expects that his ordinary high school guy life will soon turn on its head. Perry finds that Gobi is on a mission, and Perry has no other choice but to go along for a reckless ride through Manhattan’s concrete grid with a trained assassin in Dad’s red Jag. Infused with capers, car chases, heists, hits, henchmen, and even a bear fight, this story mixes romance, comedy, and tragedy in a true teen coming-of-age adventure—and it’s not over until it’s “au revoir.”
There’s been a rash of adult writers turning their attention to YA recently and here is another example. It’s also no surprise that this has already been snapped by in what is described in the press notes as a “heated auction” by Hollywood (specifically The O.C.’s creator Josh Schwartz). Certain young actors’ agents will already be licking their lips in anticipation.
Au Revoir Crazy European Chick plays like a movie from the get-go and even borrows from several of them, including Collateral and Martin Scorsese’s After Hours. That said, Schreiber knows his way around a (nicked) plot and this rapid-fire actionfest is never less than entertaining.
In cinema, screenwriters often fall down in their efforts to find nuance and depth within their characters and that’s certainly a problem here as well. The hero and heroine (or anti-heroine since she kills a bunch of people) are wafer-thin, the author obviously hoping you won’t really notice as you’re swept along for the ride.
It’s a fun, adrenaline-fuelled journey to be sure, but it would have been nice for Schreiber to add some extra dimensions to what is a fairly bland protagonist. In fact, Perry’s almost the secondary role here, as assassin Gobi (who we’re expected to believe has become one of the great revenge killers with a whole array of tricks and abilities in a remarkably short time) takes the lead.
Me, I like that an author would try to do this kind of caper in a book, while simultaneously chafing at Schreiber’s apparent ignorance of what makes the novelistic form unique from those of other media.
Ultimately, one feels this was always destined to be a flick and the book is merely an unscheduled stop en route, a bit like those movie novelisations you used to get a lot in days gone by (even Star Wars had one which actually came out before the movie).
Good on Schreiber though, a journeyman but prolific writer who was only able to give up his day job as an MRI technician after scoring this deal.
I can’t deny you’ll have fun with the story that changed his life, but you’d do better to wait until it hits your local multiplex.