Review by Booklist Review
Saaket will be the first to admit he's a bit of a flake the 16-year-old Iranian American has abandoned just about every endeavor he's started but he's convinced he's found the solution in Dr. Cecily Mallard, a psychologist studying grit. If he can get to D.C. and meet her, surely she'll give him the key to developing tenacity. Of course, it isn't that easy, especially when he runs into Fiora, a beautiful, brilliant, grouchy girl whose freewheeling ways wreak havoc on his plans. And yet, Fiora's obsession with crossword puzzles and her intense loyalty gives him some insight into a different kind of resolve. Debut author Ahmadi sets up a meet-cute with a manic-pixie-dream-girl type, but he refreshingly upends those tropes, instead telling a smart story about transformation with barely a glimmer of romance and a girl whose impulsiveness can be hurtful. While the plot hinges a bit too much on coincidence, both Saaket and Fiora emerge as multifaceted personalities with an engaging dynamic, and readers will easily cheer Saaket on as he blunders through toward meaningful growth.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2017 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
First-time author Ahmadi writes a memorable coming-of-age novel all about grit: wanting it, wondering how to get it, and discovering where it lies. Saaket "Scott" Ferdowsi, an impulsive 16-year-old, is left at home in Philadelphia while his parents visit their homeland of Iran. Scott is supposed to be getting serious about life by doing an internship (which involves examining "microscopic mouse poop"), but he keeps thinking about a Georgetown University study that his father mentioned before leaving. According to professor Cecily Mallard, the chief predictor of success isn't grades or IQ but grit, "a person's ability to stick with something." Feeling inadequate in that area, Scott hops a bus to Washington, D.C., to seek out the professor's advice. Thus begins a sequence of misadventures and serendipitous encounters as an adventurous crossword puzzle enthusiast, a big-hearted bartender, and Professor Mallard steer Scott into challenging and rewarding situations, all recorded in Scott's self-effacing and funny first-person narration. Witty, smart, and inspiring, the novel celebrates life's big and little surprises and the connections made between people that lead to profound changes. Ages 12-up. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up-It's all about grit. Or at least 16-year-old Scott Ferdowsi thinks it is. His father tells him that's what he needs in order to succeed in life. Scott, who has quit most things he has attempted in life, decides he needs to know more. He quits his summer internship and runs away to Washington, DC, to find Cecily Mallard, a Georgetown professor who specializes in the study of grit. Once there he throws himself into her researching and begins hanging out with two new friends, college student Fiora and bartender Trent. After a month of researching, learning about crossword puzzles, and experiencing wild escapades and romantic misfires, Scott discovers that just maybe he is gritty after all. Scott is unassuming and funny, and narrator Assaf Cohen reads with an approachable and pleasant delivery. Humor and angst coexist throughout, and Cohen's light touch handles both with ease. Accents are done well, too: Scott's Iranian parents' accents are perfection, as is Trent's southern drawl. VERDICT Fans of character-driven coming-of-age audiobooks touched with humor will enjoy this debut.-Julie Paladino, formerly at East Chapel Hill High School, NC © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
While his parents travel to Iran to visit his ailing grandfather, 16-year-old Scott Ferdowsi quits his boring summer lab internship in Philadelphia and secretly travels to D.C., seeking answers about his (in)ability to succeed.Saaket (the Iranian name he does not like) seeks advice from the expert on the topic, a Georgetown University psychology professor studying grit. His two-day trip grows into a four-week adventure in which he befriends the peculiar, sincere, and often reckless Fiora, a college student from a troubled family, and the generous and politically ambitious Trent, whose coming out as gay cut him off from his Southern family. Both introduce him to drinking, networking, and crossword puzzles. Scott also briefly dates Jeanette, a politically conservative college student whose xenophobic attitudes almost destroy their newly formed friendship. Scott's journey touches on his relationship with his overprotective parents, Muslim identity, being a minority in modern-day America, and his Iranian heritage. In this highly original novel, Scott's insights are reinforced through the personal stories of his new friends; only Jeanette's character does not rise to the same level of sophistication. He finds out in D.C. that he had grit all along, as he succeeds in convincing the professor to take him on as a research intern and even supports himself financially for the first time, goals far beyond his original plan.An engaging debut novel about self-discovery. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.