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Down and Across

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3.51  ·  Rating details ·  2,434 ratings  ·  567 reviews
Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. Writing the Great American Novel? Three chapters. His summer internship? One week. His best friends know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but Scott can hardly commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a passion.

With college applications looming, Scott's parents pressure him to get serious and settle on
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Hardcover, 329 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,434 ratings  ·  567 reviews


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Adam Silvera
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Official blurb: "Arvin Ahmadi's voice will be a dynamic entry into YA literature. DOWN AND ACROSS is a thrilling game-changer that touches on the universal journey of self-discovery with a deft hand and riotous humor."

I really love this spirited story of grit and self-discovery where failures are respected as a part of life. And the main character Scott is a total charmer and the DC cast of characters all struck me with either wonder or adoration (and in one case, TOTAL LOATHING, omg, THIS CHAR
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Emma Giordano
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really cute YA contemporary novel. I would recommend it especially to high school teens who are struggling to find their path post-graduation.

CW: racism, assault

I feel a good way to describe Down and Across is a John Green novel, but less pretentious and idealistic. (That’s not to say John Green hasn’t written fantastic novels, as well.) This novel strikes the correct balance between quirky adventures and real teen issues. It’s fun and unique, but also captures the stress and pressure
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may ❀
can you imagine i was already buddy reading two books and i thought it was a good idea to pick up another book??? truly amazing.

anyways, this was alright, i didn't really see much of a plot going on tho i did appreciate the diversity and friendship and the realistic ending (v impressed by that btw) but the book itself just lacked content imo

3 stars!!
Lauren
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-debuts
When a book is blurbed by Adam Silvera, the man behind the spectacular, rip-your-heart-out They Both Die at the End, you know it's going to be good...no, wait, I take that back...not just good excellent.

As it turns out, Down and Across is indeed excellent. It's the kind of book that reminds me just how wonderful contemporary YA can be. Down and Across is smart, quirky, and incredibly charming.

Down and Across introduces us to Scott Ferdowsi. Scott can't seem to follow through on anything - musi
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Hazel (Stay Bookish)
Visit Stay Bookish for more book reviews!

Down and Across Review Crossword Puzzle
Crossword Clues
Note: All bold words with an asterisk* is a synonym of the corresponding word in the puzzle.

"These days it feels like every step I take is setting me up for the rest of my life."

Across
2. Down and Across is wonderful* and I absolutely enjoyed the story and characters!
3. It's surprising how Ahmadi's words just jump at you and tug at your heartstrings. But gosh, Scott's search for true grit was so inspiring*. And his Dad's reaction to
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Tomes And Textiles
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, pub-penguin
An outstanding debut novel. Can't wait to gush about it next week on First Reads Friday.
Shereen Lee
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, read-2018
2.5/5 (formerly 3)

A solid, cute read! I loved the character development and sheer relatability of all the characters. I liked that each person clearly had their own unique personality traits, and even though some elements seemed overplayed (teenage kid in existential crisis is inspired by gruff mentor, finds Meaning Of Life!) To be honest, for books with this type of plot I would recommend The Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan over this one, but can't hurt to read Down and Across to tide you over
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Erin Glover
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Maybe it's because I coincidentally read three books with Persian protagonists in a row, but this novel did not move me.

The writing seems to be at a third of fourth grade level so I was insulted. The themes are not left to figure out--they are spelled out by the author. Teen readers are not dumb. The down and across is a cute literary device but it doesn't work. The author is a bit lazy writing "suddenly" repeatedly and things like "we laughed tremendously." The protagonist is often trying hard
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Adeeb
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's truly a rare and magical moment when you come across a book that speaks to you not on a few levels but in so many ways that you can't even count (ha, see what I did there?).

Down and Across by debut author Arvin Ahmadi is a true gem. It is a coming-of-age story that follows Saaket (Scott) Ferdowsi, a high school student who is trying to figure out what to do over the summer. Sounds like every other story, right? WRONG.

What Arvin Ahmadi does so well in his novel is that he introduces a main c
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Denise
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5/5

This was...okay? Funny, smart, and a little moving, but all in spurts. I didn't feel like it came together cohesively enough to make for a truly memorable read. I'm a huge fan of crosswords, so I was really hoping that I would connect with this one, but it felt like an assemblage of quirks that didn't quite make a complete cast of characters. Despite Scott's insistence that he didn't see Fiora as some kind of MPDG (yes, I know...I don't love the term), her actions spoke louder than his word
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Laura
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so stupid much. The characters are all so well-developed and the main character's struggle to find his future path is something all teenagers (and many adults) will relate to. Extremely necessary and timely and also laugh out loud funny.
Patty (IheartYA)
Jun 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Well written and revolving around a relatable character, this book was a quick read. Parts had pacing issues, a d other parts could have been explored deeper. The beginning was great then it seemed to drag a bit. I think most readers will identify with Scott's struggle of not knowing his place in life as a young adult; heck, that feeling can continue for the rest of your life. I would have liked a different ending to the story. Overall, a typical YA contemporary read.
Carlos
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such a great book, it doesn’t romanticize life or people and it had a good message for teenagers, not everyone has the right answers , but if you keep at it you’ll find out that you knew all along what you needed. You will find people along the way and you’ll stop seeing them too , it is life , hold on to those that hold on to you. We are all part of our own adventure.
Syndi
Jun 01, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
i like doing crossword puzzle on sunday morning. during my breakfast and my me time. filling out the puzzle based on the clue given.

this book is like a cross word puzzle. but without the clue how to fill it out. so i fel like i am staring at blank pages.

DNF.
Gray Cox
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: made-me-think, good
First off, the Iranian rep was amazing! I loved reading about Saaket (Scott) and his family dynamics, it was interesting and I learned a lot.

I could relate to Scott's uncertainty of the future, and his quest for grit is wonderful in this book.

I only wish the side characters didn't feel so flat, particularly Fiora, who Scott actually compares to a two-dimensional quirky girl character in a book (it seems the book was self-aware of how well Fiora fell into that trope).

Overall, this was a cute an
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Samantha (WLABB)
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I love a good coming of age story, and with Down and Across I got a GREAT coming of age story.

•Pro: Scott was fab-u-los! I couldn't get enough of him and his musings. Being in his head was a total treat too. Loved him!

•Pro: The side characters in this book were very well crafted. From the major to the minor players, each character had something that made you give them your attention.

•Pro: I loved the whole "grit" concept, and thought the short profiles on people, who Scott con
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Marie
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, 2018-releases
"Down and Across was a great coming of age story I'd recommend to everyone, really. Charming, witty and really fun to read, this is also a journey about trying to find yourself and why it's okay if it takes time. If it's a work in progress, because after all, we are never entirely finished here. Arvin Ahmadi is definitely a new voice in the YA industry that I will follow for a while because, if that's his debut, then the rest of the stories he has to tell promises to be really, really good."
Full
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Alexis Jackson
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I think Arvin Ahmadi, as a writer and author, definitely has something to bring to the market, but I was hoping for something more than this.

The story is charming, believable, and spontaneous in that new-age way, but it just didn't do anything for me. I didn't feel entirely connected to any of the characters and it was all a bit too whimsical for me.
Immacolata
Feb 02, 2018 marked it as to-read
i saw Sabaa Tahir posting about this on Instagram.the authors name is SO Iranian that my heart filled with joy and my TBR list got proud of having it in! ...more
Danielle
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult-lit
I picked this up because it seemed like a fun, whirlwind adventure about discovering yourself even you find yourself filled with uncertainty about your future. I think trying to answer the age-old question, "What do you want to do with your life" is a very universal concept that so many people young and old can relate to. Even well into my twenties, I still relate very deeply to feeling lost and misguided, which is why I instantly gravitated toward this novel and saw it as having a lot of potent ...more
Bárbara
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's never too late to take over the steering wheel of your life. Everything works out in the long run.

I can't put into words how much I loved this book. It made me laugh, it made me reflect, truly think about life, it made me cy... It was both a light read and a deep one. It was pretty well-balanced, just the way I like my stories to be. Most of all, though, it was, perhaps, exactly what I needed to read. It felt more close to home than anything I can think of that I've read lately.

In this sto
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Kelly
This is an *excellent* John Green alike, filled with a cast of diverse characters of color and sexuality. So often, I see the "if readers like John Green" tossed onto any contemporary YA, but this one actually takes so many of the elements of his books and does them similarly without being the same. But more, I think Ahmadi wrote a book for teens with real teen voices that tones down the Philosophical Deepness without taking away from the fact teenagers can be damn smart.

This is a book about an
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Kelsey
3.75

You should read this book if you like:
Diverse YA fiction, coming of age stories, cruciverbalists, Washington, D.C. adventures, questioning your place in the world, multipotentialites, beautiful slippery-pickle crossword girls, grabbing life by the balls
Shelumiel Delos Santos
*Actual rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars*

I received a review copy from the publisher which in no way swayed my opinion about the work.

Smart, funny and exceedingly relatable, Down and Across is a solid debut from YA newcomer Arvin Ahmadi.

It centers on sixteen-year-old Iranian-American Scott Ferdowsi who doesn't quite know what to do in life. He has tried several clubs in school and has considered and changed career paths one too many times. His strict immigrant parents want him to take things seriously
...more
temi ★
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
characters & development : 3/5
pacing: 4/4
actual substance of the story: 2/5
romance and/or significant friendships: 3.5/4
the writing: 4.5/5
creatvity: 2/2

19/25 | 3.8 STARS

16-year-old (soon to be 17) Saaket/“Scott” doesn’t know exactly what his niche is. He’s tried writing, programming, and some interesting musical instruments, but nothing ever stuck. That’s because Saaket is lacking grit—the drive or motivation that gets people to keep doing what they want. The magical ingredient to never giving u
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Kathleen
I was drawn to this book for two main reasons. First, it's about a boy who comes to DC, not knowing anyone, and ends up learning more about himself than he ever expected. I too came to DC as a stranger and learned a lot about myself in 2008. Circumstances were very different - I was an adult and had a job and apartment lined up. But I have great memories of discovering DC for the first time and enjoyed seeing the city through the eyes of the main character, Saaket. The second reason was much sim ...more
Lisa
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, arc
Down and Across is your classic coming of age story. I loved the protagonist Scott (Saaket), who is trying to figure out what he wants from life.

This book reminded me of Mosquitoland in some ways: the adventure is about the journey. What I think this book struggled with was weaving in the big moments with the small. There's a build-up to some Changes with a capital C for Scott, but the path to get there was slow and mundane at times.

I wanted to truly love and root for him, Trent and Fiora, but
...more
Emma Stein
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Can't wait to read the final version, but this book is a must read for anyone hankering for a growing-up/adventure story with...crossword puzzles. Trust me on this one. You'll be remiss if you miss.
Kim at Divergent Gryffindor
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rating-4-stars
Scott has a hard time with sticking to his decisions. He starts things, such as his internship, but doesn't see those things through to the end. When his parents leave to go to Iran to look after his ill grandfather, Scott decides that instead of going to his internship, he's going to find Cecily Mallard, the great psychology professor who specialized on grit, the psychology of success. There, he meets Fiora, crossword enthusiast, and Trent, political aspirant. These two help him in his journey ...more
Jessica {Litnoob}
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was an unexpected one for me but I’m not mad at it. I think that it played to two audiences very well and kind of meshed them together flawlessly. The way DC became its own character in the book, the way they spoke candidly about mental health and the expectations there of. The casual acceptance of different religions and sexuality by our leads as nothing that needs a deep analysis or breakdown in was refreshing.

It wasn’t the traditional coming of age story because it was both utterly
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“Our lives aren't so different from a crossword puzzle, sure. But the thing about life is we don't get to draw the grid; we take the rows and columns we're given. Our bodies, parents, mental health issues, all that. What we do get to do is fill the cells.” 7 likes
“Because completion isn't a prerequisite for growth. Momentum is.” 5 likes
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