AU REVOIR, CRAZY EUROPEAN CHICK by Joe Schreiber
I’ve been reading Joe Schreiber’s books for a few years now. He hasn’t written many so he’s one of those writers at the moment that is easy to catch up with, but the ones he’s written have had impact in the field. One of his claims to fame is that he brought zombies to Star Wars. That just goes to show you how much he’s scattered all over the writing genres.
His latest book, already with a sequel in tow, is for the YA crowd, but I’m going to warn people that it’s for a more adult YA crowd. There’s some bad language, sexual situations, and a ton of violence. Most teens gets more than this in their average Xbox game, so most of you might not think anything of that. As I was reading the novel, though, I couldn’t help feeling jarred from time to time. The title alone is enough to possibly draw fire from gender sensitive groups and Euro-centric crowds.
The opening couple of pages really grab your attention, though, but the action slows down over the next few chapters until everything gets set up for prom night. Then the plots spins out crazily with gunfire, explosions, and car chases galore.
Doesn’t sound like a typical teen book, does it?
The plot is relatively simple as well, just kept hidden from the reader until the last quarter or so of the book. Perry, our hero, is just a senior in high school. Gobi, the exchange student that’s been living in his house for the last nine months and definitely doesn’t hit the National Lampoon model of the exotic exchange student, turns out to be an assassin with considerable lethal talents.
The plot reminded me a lot of Tom Cruise and Jamie Fox in the movie Collateral. The movement is a lot the same, which was disconcerting to me as I read the book. It felt overly familiar, and it still felt that way when Schreiber even added his spin on things.
However, I blew through the book in a single sitting. Couldn’t put it down because I wanted to see what happened next. There are a lot of teen-angsty one-liners and zingers in the book that work, and – after I finally got to figure Gobi out – I really liked her over all. Just had trouble believing everything that was going on. This is really like a Michael Bay take on the YA novel.
A sequel is coming later this year and I’ll be reading it as well. But the characters and the story still have something to prove to me. Still, I want to peek behind the curtain and see what happens next. That’s good enough to keep most readers coming back.