Au Revoir Crazy European Chick

Au Revoir Crazy

Author: Joe Schreiber

Publication: 2011, Houghton Mifflin

Pages: 192

Overall Rating:  bth_45_zps06f87659[1]                     

Rating for Action: bth_45_zps06f87659[1]

Quantity of Action: bth_4-star-rating_zps38e772a0[1]

Age Category: 13+

Brief Summary:  Perry Stormaire is a high strung senior, pushed to succeed by a controlling father.  It was his mother’s idea to host a foreign exchange student, but Gobi turned out to be the opposite of everything Perry had fantasized about – plain, quiet, and bookish.  He spends most of the year ignoring her until his mother insists that he take her to the prom.  Perry’s band has a real gig in New York City that night and he wants to be anywhere but at the prom – especially with Gobi, but he finally gives in.  Then everything changes.  Not long after they arrive at the prom, Gobi sheds the image of the plain, outspoken girl he’s come to know –revealing that it was all an act to hide her real purpose in coming to America.  She’s a trained assassin with a list of five people in New York she needs to kill.  And Perry has just become her driver.

Age of Main Character: 17

What I Liked the Most: This is pure, unadulterated action.  But unlike some action novels, Au Revoir Crazy European Chick also happens to be an emotional powerhouse with strong, well defined characters and a kick ass female lead.

When I first heard about this book, the premise sounded so off the wall I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I mean, a trained assassin pretending to be a foreign exchange student and roping some average teen into serving as her driver.  It sounded completely ridiculous.  And yet, by the end I really cared about Gobi and wanted her to succeed.  For a rip roaring, high octane thriller this book packed some serious emotional punch.

Schreiber does an amazing job of building up Perry’s character and shaping his quickly evolving relationship with Gobi, so that when he reaches the point where he switches from trying to escape to become Gobi’s active accomplice, the change feels perfectly natural.

There’s one other thing that really surprised me about this book.  Normally, I dislike action novels where the hero/heroine is saved by someone else – or worse yet, saved by an adult.  All of that happens in this book.  Gobi does all the fighting, and while Perry does learn to stand up for himself it’s still Gobi who gets them out of every dangerous situation.  Plus, Gobi’s 24, so technically an adult.  But she doesn’t feel like an adult in this story, and I didn’t even care that she kept being the one to rescue Perry.  It felt natural, and it worked.

What I Liked the Least: This may be a minor issue, but early on in their trip to New York City Gobi shed’s the weird, voluminous Lithuanian dress she’d worn to prom, puts on a little black dress, and suddenly becomes beautiful.  What makes this hard to accept is that Perry and Gobi had lived in the same house for nine months, and every other time he looked at her he’d seen an ugly girl, with pasty skin and pimples.  Yet suddenly, by changing her clothes and letting down her hair, she’s beautiful.  It felt like one of those fake movie transformations where the girl nobody ever noticed goes to a beauty salon or gets a makeover and comes out gorgeous.  Pasty skin and pimples aren’t the kind of thing you can fake, nor is it the kind of thing you can get rid of by changing your clothes and hair.

How Good was the Action?  Amazing.  The scenes could have suffered from the fact that it’s always Gobi dishing out the violence, while Perry is either observing or under attack.  But oddly enough that’s never a problem.  Even though Perry is rarely the one doing the fighting, the scenes remain intense with a great mix of emotions and blow-by-blow action and high levels of adrenaline.

How Engaging was the Story? Like I said, Schreiber does a great job mixing up the action with Perry’s emotional development as he comes to care for Gobi and learns how to stand up to his father.  It was fun watching him grow and seeing the change in his attitude toward the violence taking place all around him.  He never gets excited by it, which is a good thing, but he does come to understand why Gobi needs to exact her revenge, and over time his role in helping her becomes somewhat more direct.

Overall Assessment: Au Revoir Crazy European Chick is a taut thriller brimming over with intense emotions and a powerful plot revolving around one girl’s crusade to take down a white slavery ring. It manages to stay fun while delivering a hard-hitting story.  This is definitely one you don’t want to miss.

Profanity: Yes

Sex: Yes.  Perry and Gobi kiss and there is talk about virginity and some of Perry’s thoughts on how hot Gobi is.  There is also a fair bit of drinking.

Violence: Yes, and some of it is quite bloody.  People get shot and stabbed and when the violence happens it is real and immediate.  There’s even a pit fight between a bear and a couple of dogs.

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