Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber ISBN: 9780547577388
Plot Summary: Perry is not really looking forward to his senior prom. His mom is making him take Gobi, the awkward foreign exchange student who’s been living in his house the whole year. But it’s clear pretty early on into the night that Gobi is not interested in dancing the night away. She’s actually a trained assassin, and remarkably cute! She’s chosen Perry as her getaway driver throughout the city as she hits her many targets. Will Perry find out why she’s doing this? More importantly, can he keep himself and his family safe as the night goes on and he gets deeper into Gobi’s world?
Critical Evaluation: The plot of this story is the main concentration. There is some time spent developing Perry and Gobi’s characters especially, and slightly less time developing Perry’s family, but this seems to be done to give reasoning to move the action along. We learn what Gobi’s motivation, which allows us to better understand why she is killing all these people, and to a certain extent, why she has involved Perry. There are ways in which this part of the story strains credulity, but in terms of action and adventure stories, this is in line with most others in that sense.
The language was also an element I noticed. Perry is American, while Gobi is Lithuanian and originally introduced to be dumpy and somewhat struggling in English. Both are revealed to be false as she demonstrates throughout the night an impressive command of the language, while her more formal English does differentiate her from Perry. There are quite a few predictable turns in the story; Perry’s family is roped into the drama and he must save them, Perry’s band missing their “big break” and instead getting to play for a record exec, as well as Gobi’s commandeering of Perry and his father’s car turns into a romance that promises a second book. But I don’t want to sound like I didn’t enjoy the book. It was very enjoyable, for me, in an action movie sort of way.
Reader’s Annotation: Perry’s awkward foreign exchange student date to the prom turns out to be a trained assassin. Can he live this down at school, and more importantly, will he make it through the night alive?
Information about the author: Joe Schreiber was born in 1969 in Michigan. Before the age of 10, he lived in Alaska, Wyoming, and California. He graduated from University of Michigan and continued to move; since then he has lived in LA, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon, and Martha’s Vineyard.
He has held a variety of jobs, from being a pet sitter, an office boy, working at several different Borders, to his current position as an MRI tech at Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA. Joe has been writing seriously since he was 13 years old. Since then, he has written many books, including several Star Wars and horror books.
Curriculum ties, if any: Though this is a rather light read, it could be used to promote intercultural exchange.
Booktalking Ideas: I’d ask teens to think about what normally happens at a prom. Then I would bring up what happens on Perry’s prom night: running across the city, helping an assassin, knowing that your family is in danger, thinking that this assassin is kinda cute…
Reading Level/Interest Age: The main character is a senior in high school. School Library Journal recommends the book for grades 8-11, and Publisher’s Weekly for teens ages 12 and up.
- First, I would want to be familiar with book. As I’ve read this book, I’d be aware of potential issues that could be challenged. In the case of a book I had not read, I would want to have access to reviews.
- Then I would put together a rationale for why this book is included in the collection. This rationale would include:
- Bibliographic Citation of the book.
- A description of who the book is best suited for.
- A summary of the book and applicable other information, such as biographical information about the author.
- My justification for including the book. This would include how it fits in with the selection policy and library mission statement, and include its educational significance if applicable or the impact it could have on readers.
- Copy of selection policy and library mission statement at my library.
- ALA Library Bill of Rights
- Good and bad reviews of the book
- Alternative works a student could read
- Reconsideration form if patron is not satisfied with rationale
- When talking to patron, I would listen to their concerns without getting on the defensive and attempt to sympathize with their concerns. In some cases, all an upset patron needs is to be able to vent and know that someone is listening to them.
- If needed, I would send the challenge up the chain of command.
For this title, I would argue that it meets the recreational needs of patrons.
Why did you include this book?: I’d heard that this was an enjoyable read, and the concept of a funny thriller intrigued me.
Supernatural Fridays: Interview: Joe Schreiber (2010). Innsmouth Free Press. Retrieved from http://www.innsmouthfreepress.com/blog/?p=7301