Down and Across

6 CDs. 7:03 hrs. Listening Library. Feb. 2018. $50. ISBN 9780525589808. digital download.
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.

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